Police Impunity and Perverse P.C. Prioritiesby William Norman Grigg
Jul. 07, 2014
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Seventeen years ago, Los Angeles resident Frank Lyga shot and killed a black man during a roadside confrontation. The incident grew out of an episode of road rage, and Lyga was not prosecuted for criminal homicide.
This act of leniency was remarkable, given that the victim in the shooting, Kevin Gaines, was an off-duty police officer with the LAPD.
In late June an audio recording surfaced of remarks made by Lyga shortly after the incident. Rather than being relieved over his narrow escape, or remorseful over the tragic shooting, Lyga said he had “no regrets” over killing Gaines. Giving voice to racially inflammatory sentiments, Lyga said that he wished that he could “have killed a whole truckload of them.”
There is no statute of limitations on murder, and since Lyga was not prosecuted in 1997 double jeopardy doesn’t apply. Police Chief Charlie Beck reacted to the news not by filing charges against Lyga, but by relieving him of duty: At present, Lyga is a detective with the LAPD, and Beck’s chief concern is the nature of his comments regarding Gaines and other officers.
In the current system, police enjoy expansive immunity from prosecution, and violating politically correct etiquette is considered more serious than murder.