LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An LAPD detective is facing backlash Tuesday for an audio recording in which his voice purportedly is heard discussing how he lethally shot an off-duty officer.
Narcotics detective Frank Lyga is alleged to be the voice on the recording, which can also is alleged to have been heard saying he could have killed even more people.
“Do you regret shooting him? I says ‘No, I regret that he was alone in the truck at the time, I could’ve killed a whole truckload of them, and would’ve been happily doing it, doing so,’ ” the voice is heard saying.
It is believed the voice may be that of Lyga, referring to an incident in 1997, in which Lyga reportedly killed LAPD officer Kevin Gaines. The department ruled the shooting to have been performed in self-defense.
The department later settled with Gaines’ family for $250,000.
LAPD says the department has been investigating the recording for months.
The man who is believed to have released the tape reportedly did so because he was frustrated that Lyga had not been disciplined.
The recording was reportedly made in November, while Lyga was teaching at the academy.
In the meantime, Lyga’s position in teaching has reportedly been put on hold, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
“His teaching position has been taken away from him, and the removal from the field, I think, is recent,” Beck said.
LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon, one officer criticized in the recording, says he has never even met Lyga.
“To this day, I have never personally met Lyga,” Vernon said in a statement. “Over the years, I’ve heard he had animus towards me. I never lost any sleep over it, and still haven’t.”
Jasmyne Cannick, a blogger, says that she received the recording from fired LAPD officer Brian Bentley, who had obtained it and posted it on his Facebook page.
“I don’t understand how (Lyga) is still employed with the Los Angeles Police Department,” Cannick said. “(In) any other job, you could not get away with making disparaging, vulgar remarks about co-workers in front of other co-workers.”
Beck told KCAL9 that he is reserving judgment until he has heard more about the incident.
“For me to comment on it before I have all the facts is wrong” Beck said.