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

July 10, 2019
Law Enforcement News

San Francisco Police Department Officer's Miraculous Recovery After Hit-and-Run Left Him Severely Brain-Damaged
Even with a severe brain injury and no likely chance of returning to his earlier life as an aspiring lawyer, avid reader and outdoorsman, Elia Lewin-Tankel's recovery has been miraculous, his friends and colleagues said. The San Francisco police officer was on bicycle patrol when a fleeing motorist struck him in October 2017, causing a head injury so severe that responding paramedics believed he was dead. And after surgeons at San Francisco General Hospital removed a portion of his skull the size of a human hand, they braced his pregnant wife: The father-to-be might end up as little more than a pulse in human form. But in the year and a half since the incident, Lewin-Tankel, now 34, has fought hard at a rehab center in Arizona and is up and out of bed. He no longer needs a network of tubes and wires to keep him alive. He started recognizing his wife, an English teacher at Mission High School. He can hold his 1-year-old son.
San Francisco Chronicle

Los Angeles Board Of Police Commissioners Greenlights New Drone Program
The Los Angeles Police Commission gave unanimous preliminary approval Tuesday to the LAPD's first unmanned aircraft program, which has long been opposed by critics who believe the use of drones will lead to an invasion of residents' privacy. The Los Angeles Police Department spent the last year testing the proposed program -- known as the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Program, or sUAS -- using drones in select situations. "The (program) was to be utilized as an effective de-escalation tool in the preservation of life and harm-reduction situations," LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote in a report to the commission. "Overall, the deployment of a (drone program) would enhance the department's ability to protect and serve the public." LAPD officials will prepare formal guidelines for the program in the next 60 to 75 days, including policies and procedures for use of the drones with a focus on ensuring residents' privacy, Moore said. Those guidelines will be brought back to the commission for final approval. Moore said using drones can reduce risks to SWAT officers and could also be used in hazardous material responses. LAPD officials said the drones will only be used at certain locations of a "crisis site," but not in areas that would violate privacy policies.

Man Sentenced For Stealing Marilyn Monroe Statue On Hollywood Boulevard
Prosecutors say a man who stole a statue of Marilyn Monroe from atop a Hollywood public art installation has been sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay more than $14,000 in restitution. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says 25-year-old Austin Mikel Clay on Tuesday entered an open plea of no contest to felony grand theft and vandalism. The Monroe statue depicts the actress in an iconic pose from the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch” and went missing June 16. Last year Clay pleaded no contest to a felony vandalism charge for smashing President Trump's Walk of Fame star with a pickax. He was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay damages to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in that case.

Man Charged in Hit-and-Run Crash in Hollywood That Killed Australian Man
A Norwalk man was charged Tuesday in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian who had spent more than a decade behind bars in Australia before being exonerated of murder. Kristopher Ryan Smith, 20, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. Smith, who could face up to four years in state prison if convicted as charged, is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Aug. 9, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Smith allegedly struck Andrew Mallard in the early morning on April 18, as the 56-year-old victim was walking across Sunset Boulevard at Formosa Avenue, then drove off, according to Deputy District Attorney Rose DeMattia. Mallard was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ex-Fugitive Gets 7 Years In Prison For Sexually Abusing Patients At A Tarzana Hospital
A former nursing assistant who was a fugitive for more than a decade after being charged with sexually abusing female patients at a Tarzana hospital was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life. Ramon Eduardo Rodas Gaspar, 50, pleaded no contest June 7 to four felony counts of sexual battery by fraud and one felony count of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kraetsch. The charges involved crimes committed against five female patients between February 2005 and April 2006, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office said shortly after Gaspar's plea. Former patients reported being sexually assaulted by Gaspar after undergoing surgery, some while still under the effects of anesthesia, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which launched an investigation in June 2006. Gaspar — who worked for two years at what was known at the time as Tarzana Hospital — failed to show up for a July 2006 court hearing, resulting in a bench warrant being issued for him nearly a month after a $150,000 bond was posted on his behalf.
Los Angeles Daily News

Ex-USC Gynecologist Sold Sex Videos He Recorded In Foreign Hotel Rooms, Prosecutor Says
A former USC gynecologist charged with sexual abuse of patients also sold photographs and sex videos he took of young women he lured to his hotel rooms while traveling outside the U.S., a prosecutor said Tuesday. The allegation was raised at a downtown Los Angeles court hearing, during which the prosecutor tried to persuade a judge to keep George Tyndall's bail at nearly $2.1 million, arguing that the doctor charged with sexual misconduct toward 16 former patients was a danger to the public and a flight risk. Deputy Dist. Atty. Reinhold Mueller said some of the young women were reluctant to cooperate with Tyndall, but eventually complied because he was a person of authority. If Tyndall was capable of luring women to hotels outside of the U.S. and filming them, “he can certainly do it in his bedroom,” Mueller said. The prosecutor provided no additional details about the allegation. 
Los Angeles Times

South Korean Man Pleads Guilty In L.A. Federal Court To Plant Poaching
A South Korean national pleaded guilty Monday in Los Angeles to attempting to smuggle thousands of California succulents worth more than $600,000 to Asia. Bong Jun Kim, 46, entered his plea to a federal charge stemming from a scheme to illegally export Dudleya succulent plants pulled out of the ground last year at remote state parks in Northern California. Kim, shackled and dressed in brown jail garb, required a translator to understand the proceedings in downtown Los Angeles. U.S. District Judge George Wu set sentencing for Sept. 16, at which time Kim faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine, prosecutors said. Kim — along with two fugitive co-defendants — removed the lotus-like succulents last year, took them to a nursery in San Diego and then transported the plants to a commercial exporter in Compton, planning to use an illegally obtained permit to ship the plants to South Korea, according to prosecutors.

What Gun Violence Prevention Looks Like When It Focuses On The Communities Hurt The Most
Sherman Spears was shot at a friend's apartment complex in East Oakland in 1989. Someone from the neighborhood had been seeking revenge on his friend, but found Spears first. He was struck by three bullets and hit his head as he fell to the ground, leaving him paralyzed. As the 18-year-old lay in a hospital bed recuperating, he felt disoriented and scared about his future. His parents were distraught, his friends wanted revenge, and he didn't feel like he could relate to the doctors and nurses. “I really didn't have time to process what I was going through,” Spears recalled. “There was nobody I could really talk with about what was happening to me.” While Spears adjusted to his new life, the experience of feeling lost in those first days remained vivid. A doctor connected him with Youth Alive, then a fledgling violence prevention organization in Oakland. With encouragement from the organization's director, he began going to the hospital and meeting with other young victims of violence. He talked to them about what they were going through, physically and emotionally, and let them know what to expect. Before leaving, he'd give them his phone number and tell them to call any time. 
The Trace

Public Safety News

L.A. Firefighters Contain Granada Hills Brush Fire
Los Angeles firefighters attacked a brush fire that broke out late Monday in a gated community in Granada Hills, containing the blaze that was burning downhill to a quarter-acre. It took 41 firefighters 22 minutes to contain the brush fire at 12169 Delante Way, said LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange. The location is within the Bridlewood Estates gated community. Crews remained on scene into Monday night to mop up and look for hot spots, Prange said. No injuries were reported.
Los Angeles Daily News

12th Measles Case Reported In L.A. County, In Person Who Ate At UCLA Food Court
A 12th case of measles has been confirmed of a person living in Los Angeles County. This person ate at the UCLA food court known as The Bomb Shelter, in the Court of Sciences Student Center, between July 2 and 3. There is no risk of exposure there now. But anyone who was at that location during that time is at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after the exposure. People in that group are advised to review their immunization history, as well as notify their doctor if any symptoms develop. UCLA students were quarantined for a time when the outbreak was first reported. Cases were also reported at Cal State L.A. People are being urged to get vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.

Local Government News

Desperate To Get Rid Of Homeless People, Some Are Using Prickly Plants, Fences, Barriers
With dirt, they can weigh hundreds of pounds. The makeshift planter boxes are Peter Mozgo's creations — roughly 140 of them lined up on the sidewalk to prevent homeless people from pitching tents outside his business. Mozgo acquires the boxes from a Bell Gardens company that imports ginger, paints them firetruck red, pays $120 per cubic yard for dirt and then uses a $900 trailer to haul it all back to his neighborhood on the south end of downtown Los Angeles. Like many L.A. residents and business owners, the 49-year-old says he is frustrated by the growing homelessness crisis — and the city's often uneven response to it. So as the city struggles to clear encampments and get a handle on the trash and chaos that sometimes emanate from them, Mozgo and others increasingly are taking matters into their own hands, putting obstacles in public spaces to protect their homes and businesses. By doing that, they can make homeless people feel unwelcome.
Los Angeles Times

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: