Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch
LA Police Protective League


Los Angeles
Police Protective League
the union that represents the
rank and file LAPD officers

  Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch

Daily News Digest
from LA Police Protective League

June 23, 2017

Law Enforcement News

Gang Member Says He 'Smoked' Whittier Police Officer, Cousin In Taped Interview
An admitted gang member told detectives he "smoked" a Whittier police officer and his own cousin and "shot another cop," according to a tape-recorded interview played in court Thursday during a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial for the killings. "I guess you guys have everything down  — smoked my cousin, smoked the cop. ... I mean, what else do you guys want? I shot another cop," Michael Christopher Mejia said in the interview.  Mejia, 26, is charged with murder for the Feb. 20 killings of Officer Keith Boyer, 53, in Whittier and his own cousin, 47-year-old Roy Torres, in East Los Angeles earlier that day. The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest and multiple murders. "I did it, I mean, I did it ... both of 'em, all three of them had it coming," Mejia said in the Feb. 28 interview, telling detectives that the "officer got too aggressive with me."

Man Convicted Of Killing SWAT Officer, Could Face Execution
A man accused of fatally shooting an Ohio SWAT officer during a standoff last year has been found guilty of aggravated murder and could face the death penalty. Lincoln Rutledge had pleaded not guilty to charges he shot Columbus officer Steven Smith in the head as officers were trying to arrest Rutledge on an arson warrant on April 10, 2016. Smith died two days later. A Franklin County jury returned the guilty verdict Thursday. Rutledge's ex-wife testified his mental health was unraveling in the weeks before the shooting. Rutledge's attorney argued Rutledge was firing blindly and may have been reacting to police attempts to break a window open. A message seeking comment from Rutledge's attorney was left at his office Thursday. A sentencing hearing begins next week.
Associated Press

LAPD Chief Beck Personally Arrests Officer On Suspicion Of Having Sex With A 15-Year-Old
os Angeles police officer was arrested Thursday and accused of having an unlawful sexual relationship with a 15-year-old member of the department's cadet program, the latest embarrassment stemming from an investigation into thefts and other misconduct tied to the program, Chief Charlie Beck said. Officer Robert Cain, 31, allegedly had sex in the past month with a teenager suspected with other cadets of being involved in the recent thefts of police cruisers and other LAPD equipment, Beck said. Cain also allegedly knew of, and helped facilitate, the string of thefts that has rattled the department in recent days, Beck said. “There may be a connection between the wooing of this underage female and access to the equipment. I don't know,” the chief added at a news conference."  Beck said he personally arrested Cain at the department's 77th Street Division station around 11 a.m. on Thursday. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file police officers, also harshly criticized Cain on Thursday. "If these disgusting allegations are true, we applaud the department for taking swift action to arrest this individual for this vile crime,” the union said in a statement. “There should be zero tolerance for any officer who takes advantage of those they are entrusted to protect.”
Los Angeles Times

Roommate Dispute Leads to Deadly Police Shooting in Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood
A dispute between roommates led to a deadly shooting involving officers who were called to an apartment complex in the Hollywood Hills West neighborhood of Los Angeles late Friday night. Police received a call about 11 p.m. regarding a tenant dispute at an apartment complex in the 7200 block of Hillside Avenue, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Frank Preciado said. The man who called police told arriving officers he wanted to get some property out of a fourth-floor unit he shared with a roommate, Preciado said. The officers went to the apartment where they made contact with the roommate. “The suspect at some point produces a handgun and an officer involved shooting occurred,” Preciado said. The suspect, described only as a man in his 20s, then went out on a balcony holding an object, Preciado said. A second officer-involved shooting occurred and the suspect was killed, Preciado said. 

Gang Gun Violence? Man Standing In Van Nuys McDonald's Parking Lot Viciously Gunned Down
Authorities Thursday sought public help to solve the killing of a man gunned down in a possible gang-related attack in a McDonald's parking lot in Van Nuys. It happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 7900 block of Van Nuys Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Francisco Fuentes, 27, of North Hills died at a hospital, according to the coroner's office and the LAPD. “The victim was possibly riding or (standing) next to his bicycle when the shooting occurred,” a police statement said. “There were no witnesses at the time of the shooting.” Anyone with information was urged to call Detective Steve Castro at (818) 374-1925, or (877) LAPD-247.

LAPD Looking For Answers In Shooting Death Across From The Plant In Panorama City
A 27-year-old man from North Hills was shot to death in a McDonald's parking lot in Panorama City on Wednesday, and Los Angeles police are looking for answers. Francisco Fuentes died at a hospital, according to the coroner's office and the Los Angeles Police Department. The shooting was reported around 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 7900 block of Van Nuys Boulevard, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The fast-food restaurant is across the street from the Plant shopping center. When patrol officers responded, police said, they found the man on the ground next to a bicycle in the entrance of a parking lot of McDonald's. The man suffered a gunshot wound to the upper torso. The Los Angeles Fire Department transported the man to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries. Homicide detectives responded to the scene, where it appeared that the man was riding his bicycle or was next to it when the shooting happened, authorities said. 
Los Angeles Daily News

John Doe Hit By Car In Valley Glen, Police Seek Help Identifying Seriously Injured Man
Police Thursday sought the public's help in identifying a man in his 30s who was struck by a car while crossing a street in the Valley Glen area. The victim was hit by a 2008 Nissan Versa about 8:05 p.m. Saturday as he crossed Erwin Street in a marked crosswalk at Coldwater Canyon Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “The driver immediately stopped and remained at scene to provide her information as required by law,” police said. “She cooperated throughout the investigation.” The pedestrian, who was rushed to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition, carried no identification. He is possibly of Hispanic or Asian descent, 6 feet tall, about 235 pounds with black hair and a mustache and appears to have three small abdomen scars from a prior medical procedure. Anyone who might be able to help investigators identify the man was urged to call Detective William Bustos of the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division at (818) 644-8021or Detective L. Fuentes at (818) 644-8029.

Only A Third Of Gun Owners Think Gun Violence Is A Serious Issue
A sweeping study  of gun ownership by the Pew Research Center reveals a stark divide in opinion about the role of guns in society, the extent to which gun violence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and whether firearms should be more strictly regulated.  The Pew survey found that attitudes around gun policy and ownership break down largely along partisan lines, but overall, the majority of Americans favor universal background checks and gun prohibitions for terror suspects and the mentally ill.  Nearly a third of Americans own guns, the study found, and a disproportionate amount of gun owners are white, male, Republican, middle-aged, and living in rural areas. The number of gun owners who say they own a firearm for protection is nearly twice the number of those who have one for hunting.  Nearly half of the survey's respondents said they knew someone who has been shot, and 3 percent reported having been shot themselves.
The Trace

Texas cop sues Ford, dealership alleging carbon monoxide poisoning

An Austin police officer is suing Ford Motor Company and Leif Johnson Ford for more than $1 million in damages, claiming he was poisoned by carbon monoxide while driving his patrol car. According to the lawsuit, police Sgt. Zachary T. LaHood was driving in a marked police vehicle on March 18 around 1:30 a.m. when he began to feel nauseous, light-headed, and got headaches and blurred vision.  LaHood also lost consciousness while driving the car, which almost caused him to collide with an oncoming bus, the lawsuit said. LaHood then pulled into a parking lot where he called for help, the lawsuit said. Austin police officers arrived and an ambulance took LaHood to a nearby hospital, where he was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning, the lawsuit said.
Austin-American Statesman

Officer Crystal Griner, injured in the Congressional shooting, throws out first pitch
Capitol Police special agent Crystal Griner threw out the first pitch at the Congressional Women's Softball Game just days after being injured in a shooting at the GOP's baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Griner has been recovering from a gunshot wound that struck her in the ankle. She was in a wheelchair before the game on Wednesday night. Lawmakers were at practice when a gunman opened fired on Republican lawmakers, congressional staffers and lobbyists. Sports Illustrated

Local Government News

What's that smell? If you're in the San Fernando Valley, it may be your water
That musty stench in your sink this week may be coming from Los Angeles drinking water across the San Fernando Valley. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power attributes “an earthy or musty odor” in tap water that has been the subject of complaints this week by Valley customers to a harmless algae bloom caused by downpours in the Owens Valley. The utility did not send out a news release to local media about the smell, but posted an online statement Tuesday after reports by two TV stations saying it was sending out notices to its Valley customers.
Los Angeles Daily News

Metro Gold Line To Travel Another 11.5 miles East To Claremont After Board Approves $1.4 Billion Budget
The Metro Board of Directors approved a $1.4 billion budget and partnership agreement Thursday to extend the Metro Gold Line in the San Gabriel Valley another 11.5 miles east to Claremont. The extension will be the first rail line to begin construction that is partially funded by Metro's Measure M half-cent transportation sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in November. “This second phase of the Foothill Gold Line is truly significant because it's the very first Measure M transit project out of the gate,” Metro board chair and Duarte mayor pro tem John Fasana said. “It will establish the early momentum we need to launch our ambitious new traffic improvement plan that will yield tremendous transportation benefits for the entire Los Angeles County area.” The project's official groundbreaking is planned for October and is expected to be open to the public by 2027. An extension from Claremont to Montclair will add about another mile when funding is secured.


About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at: