LAPD Says Gang-Related Crime in West San Fernando Valley Has Spiked Since 2014
Violent gang-related crimes in the west San Fernando Valley increased 63 percent from 2014 to 2015 but held steady last year, according to a new analysis by the Los Angeles Police Department. Gang-related homicides in the west Valley — which includes LAPD's Devonshire, Topanga and West Valley divisions — more than doubled from three in 2014 to eight in 2016, according to the report. The Topanga Division saw the sharpest increase with five gang-related homicides in 2016, up from zero in 2014. There was also a total of 848 gang-related crimes reported in the west San Fernando Valley in 2016, up 33 percent from 2014.
Los Angeles Daily News
Suspect in Whittier Police Slaying Appears in Norwalk Court After Court-Appointed Attorney Recuses Himself
The suspect in the killing of a Whittier Police officer last month appeared in court Tuesday after his court-appointed attorney recused himself because of a conflict of interest. The arraignment for Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, was originally scheduled for April 5. Los Angeles County district attorney's office spokesman Greg Risling said “the change (in court dates) may have had to do with the change in defense attorneys.” Deputy District Attorney Garrett Dameron said public defenders are not required to provide specific explanations if there is a conflict with a client. Anthony Patalano, head deputy of the southeastern branch of the LA County public defender's office, also said the conflict of interest would remain confidential. Rick Sternfeld of the LA County alternate public defender's office was assigned as the new public defender for Mejia.
Los Angeles Daily News
Officer stabbed, reports of possible gunfire near Britain's Parliament
Britain's Parliament was on lockdown Wednesday after an assailant stabbed an officer, then was shot by police, officials said. London Police also said officers were called to an incident on Westminster Bridge nearby. It was not clear exactly what happened or how many people were injured. On the bridge, witnesses said a vehicle struck several people, and photos showed a car plowed into railings. Witnesses in Parliament reported hearing sounds like gunfire.
Female Attacker Sought in Bloody Vermont Square Stabbing
A victim was stabbed Tuesday by a woman in the Vermont Square section of South Los Angeles. The stabbing was reported at 12:20 p.m. in the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Hobart Avenue, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department‘s Media Relations Section. The victim — whose age, gender and condition were not immediately available — was taken to a hospital, Im said. The suspect, a black woman who is about 50 years old, was last seen headed south on Hobart in a white 2005 Ford SUV. She was described as 5-feet-2 inches tall, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and was wearing a pink shirt, black pants and black print glasses.
Family and Good Samaritan Speak After LA Marathoner With Autism Found
After running 26.2 miles in Sunday's L.A. Marathon, the journey of a runner with autism, kept going. Twenty-one-year old Romario Snow asked security to call his mom to pick him up at the Santa Monica finish line. By the time his mom came, Snow had disappeared and his family was in panic mode. Good Samaritan Selina Barajas, heard about their search to find him. "It just caught my attention because I have a younger brother with autism," said Barajas. She was a complete stranger who felt their pain. "I kept thinking about him last night and I said a prayer. I said please God find this young man," said Barajas. Tuesday morning she was driving to work in Inglewood when a man caught her eye.
LAPD: Latinos Report Fewer Sex Crimes Amid Immigration Fears
Los Angeles' police chief says reports of sexual assault and domestic violence by Latino residents have dropped amid concerns that those in the country illegally could face deportation if they interact with police. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that sexual assault reports have dropped 25 percent and domestic violence reports have fallen 10 percent among the city's Latino population since the beginning of the year. He says similar decreases weren't seen in other ethnic groups. Beck said there was a "strong correlation" between the drop in police reports and concerns of increased immigration enforcement that the Trump administration has called for.
Man Arrested Near LAX Indicted for Colorado Explosives
A man accused of leaving pipe bombs in the safe in his downtown Denver hotel room and writing the word "explosives" on the closet mirror has been charged with one count of possession of a destructive device. Prosecutors announced Monday that 35-year-old Adam Hayat was indicted late last week by a federal grand jury. He was advised of the charge during an afternoon court appearance in Denver, his first since being returned to Colorado. Hayat was arrested at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport on Feb. 16, a day after the explosives were found in Denver. His lawyer declined to comment on the charge.
California moves forward on new jailhouse snitch rules
Puppet” and “Bouncer,” a pair of jailhouse snitches who were paid $335,000 over a four-year window for working dozens of cases in Southern California, have inspired a state bill to limit the rewards given to criminal informants. Assembly Bill 359 on Tuesday sailed unanimously through the state Assembly Public Safety Committee, passing its first hurdle. The bill next goes to the Assembly floor for a full vote at a yet-to-be determined date.
Orange County Register
Police department considers bonuses to keep officers on the job
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday will consider authorizing more than $1.37 million in one-time, lump-sum payments to Sacramento police officers, sergeants and dispatchers in a step toward stanching the loss of personnel to other agencies. A week before talks open on a new contract, the payments send an important message to employees that “the city has decided, for once, to start negotiating in good faith,” said Timothy Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association.
OxyContin Drugmaker Seeks to Dismiss City's Lawsuit
The manufacturer of the powerful painkiller OxyContin on Tuesday asked a judge to dismiss a novel lawsuit by a city seeking to hold the company financially responsible for a raging opioid epidemic sparked by illicit trafficking. In a motion filed in federal court in Seattle, attorneys for Purdue Pharma wrote that the suit by Everett, Wash., suffered from “multiple, independent legal failings” — including statute of limitations problems and a failure to demonstrate a close connection between the company's conduct and the criminal acts of drug dealers and addicts. “[T]here is no basis in law for a municipality to bring such an action against a pharmaceutical manufacturer,” Purdue's lawyers wrote.
Los Angeles Times
Chicago teen apparently gang-raped on Facebook Live
Investigators are making good progress in identifying those who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old Chicago girl in an attack that was streamed on Facebook Live, authorities said. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Wednesday that no arrests had been made, but he tweeted Tuesday that detectives were questioning several people, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted. The girl, who went missing Sunday and who was sexually assaulted by five or six men or boys in the video, was reunited with her family on Tuesday morning, he said.