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

August 30, 2019
Law Enforcement News

Photos Released In Search For Hit-and-Run Driver Who Struck LAPD Officer In Florence
Investigators released a surveillance photo Thursday in their hunt for a hit-and-run driver who struck a police officer in the Florence neighborhood of South Los Angeles this week. The driver fled the scene and did not stop to render aid following the crash on San Pedro Street around 10:20 p.m. Monday, the L.A. Police Department said in a news release. LAPD Officer Mike Martinez had pulled over a suspected stolen vehicle just south of 61st Street and was investigating when a minivan hit him coming from the other direction, officials say. Martinez said he was rolled up onto the van's hood as it continued into the intersection; when the officer rolled off, the driver sped away. Martinez said the driver “definitely knew that the 200-pound Hispanic policeman on top of his hood didn't belong there.” The driver was last seen heading north on San Pedro Street. The officer suffered injuries to his elbow, wrist and knee, but elected to visit his doctor rather go to a hospital. The minivan is described as a Toyota Sienna or Dodge from the late '90s or early 2000s with two-toned gray paint — dark gray on top, light gray on bottom — and a black-painted hood. The driver is a Latino man with short black or gray hair between the age of 28 and 50, police say. As with any hit and run in the city, a reward of $50,000 is tied to information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

LAPD Officer Testifies Gunman Was Shooting At Police
A man charged with getting into a gunbattle with pursuing officers that resulted in a Trader Joe's assistant manager being shot by police had fired first at officers during a car chase and then again after a traffic collision in front of the Silver Lake store, a Los Angeles police officer testified Thursday. During a court hearing for Gene Evin Atkins, Officer Sinlen Tse identified the 29-year-old defendant as the man who had shot at him and his female partner during the July 21, 2018, chase and after Atkins allegedly crashed into a car near the Trader Joe's store. “When he came out (of the car) he pointed a gun at us and began firing,” the officer said of the aftermath of the collision. “I returned fire in order to defend myself.” The officer testified that he initially shielded himself from the gunfire by using his the driver's side door of the patrol car as cover and that he subsequently moved to a wall that was about four feet high because it provided better coverage. He said the officers stopped returning fire after Atkins went inside the store, but said he subsequently heard a gunshot hit a pole near the officers. “We knew that the suspect was firing at us from inside the Trader Joe's,” the officer said, noting that officers had not returned fire during the chase.

Father Of 2 Gunned Down In South Los Angeles Neighborhood
A father of two, who had another baby on the way, was gunned down on a residential street in South Los Angeles Thursday morning. Two suspects were seen fleeing from the scene. A police SWAT team surrounded and searched a nearby home thinking one of the suspects inside, but they say after entering the home they did not find him there. The shooting happened on Flower Street near 75th Street Thursday morning. Police say the victim was standing outside his car when he was shot and killed. Witnesses saw two men, believed to be in their 20s, fleeing from the scene. The victim is described as a man in his 30s who had two children and another baby on the way. Distraught family members were at the scene. A motive for the shooting remains under investigation. Streets in the area were expected to remain shut down for some time as the investigation continues.

Los Angeles Police Hunt For Man Believed To Have Shot Security Guard Near Metro Station
Los Angeles police were searching Thursday night for a man believed to have shot a security guard near the Hollywood and Western Metro station, according to preliminary reports. The shooting occurred at 9:23 p.m. at the southeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, said Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department. The armed suspect, described as a Latino man in his early 20s who is 5-feet-10 and 150 pounds, was wearing a white hoodie and white shorts and was last seen headed south on Western Avenue from Hollywood Boulevard. The guard was taken to a hospital in unknown condition, Im said.
Los Angeles Times

Crash That Left Driver Dead In Pico-Robertson Possibly Due To Street Racing Or Road Rage: LAPD

A driver died Thursday morning when his vehicle slammed into a building in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in what police said could have been a street racing or road rage-related incident. The crash happened just before 6 a.m. on Pico Boulevard near South Crest Drive. Los Angeles firefighters arrived quickly but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim's identity and age has not yet been released. A building at the corner was seen with a hole in the wall where it was struck by the vehicle. The car was traveling westbound on Pico Boulevard when the driver lost control and crashed into a building, which appears to be vacant and was unoccupied at the time, Lt. Lonnie Tiano with the Los Angeles Police Department's West Traffic Division said. No one else was injured. Later described by police as a dark blue 2015 Infiniti Q70L, the car was driving at a high rate of speed just as a gray SUV was also speeding westbound along Pico at the same time, according to LAPD. The driver of the SUV never stopped and continued driving, police said.

Report of Gunman In Winnetka Area Home Was Swatting Hoax, Police Say
What police said turned out to be a false report of a man with a gun prompted officers Tuesday to surround a home in the Winnetka area near Woodland Hills. Officers responded about 8:30 p.m. to a report of a man with a gun inside a home in the 8000 block of Oso Avenue, between Roscoe Avenue and Saticoy Street, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Lopez said. By 9 p.m., it was determined that the call was a so-called "swatting" hoax aimed at triggering a law enforcement response.

Woman Charged With Murder For Exposition Park Fire That Killed 2

A Los Angeles woman was charged Thursday with two counts of capital murder for allegedly setting a fire at an Exposition Park boarding house that killed a caretaker and her brother. Khala Swasey, 24, described by prosecutors as a former resident of the home that burned, is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 30 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on two counts of murder stemming from the Aug. 22 fire in the 1000 block of West Leighton Avenue. The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of an arson, opening her to a possible death sentence. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty. Firefighters sent to 1084 W. Leighton Ave. about 12:45 a.m. Aug. 22 found a building engulfed in flames, and they received reports that people were still inside the burning structure, according to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Police Departments In SoCal, Nationwide Partner With Ring To View Doorbell Cam Footage
Amazon's Ring doorbell is partnering with more than 400 police departments across the country to monitor neighborhoods. Ring released an official map showing the police forces that have joined their network. There's about 17 listed locally from Ventura to Orange County, including police departments in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pomona, Torrance and Westminster. Police can now directly request videos recorded by homeowners. Privacy advocates fear the program may threaten civil liberties and are calling for oversight and public discussion on the matter. Ring released the following statement Wednesday in an announcement on the new feature: "Neighbors and local law enforcement have achieved amazing results by working together through the Neighbors app, from getting stolen guns off the streets to helping families keep their children safe, and even recovering stolen medical supplies for a diabetic child. Every member of a community plays a vital role in making neighborhoods safer, and we're proud that our users can decide how exactly they want to contribute to those conversations. We've also been thoughtful about designing how law enforcement engages with the Neighbors app to ensure users always stay in control of the information they share, and that their privacy is protected."

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Returns To San Pedro With $38.5 Million In Seized Cocaine
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Robert Ward returned Thursday morning to San Pedro after a 50-day mission with 2,800 pounds of cocaine – valued at $38.5 million – that was seized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The mission was the first for the 154-foot-long Robert Ward, which was commissioned about six months ago, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll said. During the mission, the cutter's crew seized or disrupted an estimated 6,558 pounds of cocaine in all. Disrupted cocaine is, for example, when smugglers dump it into the ocean and the Coast Guard can't retrieve it before the drug sinks. Of that, 3,000 pounds seized on the cutter's first-ever drug bust, on July 16, was placed onto another cutter, Steadfast, and brought ashore in San Diego. Three suspects were detained. On Aug. 22, the crew found 1,500 pounds of cocaine drifting in the ocean, which had been abandoned by smugglers when they realized they were being tracked. The remaining 2,000 or so pounds were also abandoned by smugglers, but Coast Guard officials were unable to retrieve those bales in time before they sank in the Pacific.
Los Angeles Daily News

Public Safety News

Woman Rescued From San Pedro Cliff Fall Left In Grave Condition
A woman who was rescued Thursday after falling from a cliff in San Pedro was left in grave condition, authorities said. She fell about 70 feet from the cliff's highest point to the rocky shoreline below near 4102 South Pacific Ave., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Authorities were dispatched to the scene around 4 p.m. Paramedics managed to reach the woman on the ground by 4:10 p.m. and authorities said she was conscious but unable to move. A helicopter was soon sent to the area and the woman was hoisted to safety by 4:45 p.m. First responders were taking the roughly 50-year-old victim to a nearby trauma center as she suffered severe head trauma, authorities said. She was also being treated while being flown in the chopper. The circumstances surrounding how she fell remain under investigation and no other details have been released.

What To Know As California's Peak Fire Months Loom
California fire officials have learned through hard experience to temper their optimism. Having just endured more than a decade of rampaging fires — 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007 — fire bosses say this year the glass is half-full. “We've got a few things going for us at the moment,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. “We still have a snowpack. Our upper elevations haven't dried out. Because of that, we are able to continue our fuel-reduction projects. Yes, this year featured a wet winter — usually good news for fire officials. But so did 2017, one of the state's wettest winters in half a century and one of the most devastating years for wildfire. Clearing and cutting has helped eliminate some of the brush and trees that fuel the flames. But California's forests are still clogged with 147 million dead trees, and counting. And the late-winter rains encouraged the growth of grasses and other highly combustible plants. Cal Fire battled 164 fires across the state in the third week of August, many of them small. History shows that September and October, with their hot, fierce winds, are the worst months for fire.

Local Government News

A Reseda Parking Lot Is Open For People Living In Their Cars. So Far, No Complaints, Councilman Says
A Reseda parking lot is now open to homeless Angelenos who live in their cars. Tacked between three buildings occupied by L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield's office, the West Valley Regional Branch Library and an LAPD station, the parking lot offers a safe space for those who live in their cars. The site has access to a bathroom and wash station. Under the program, for the past four weeks about five cars have been parking there every night. Not everyone is allowed to stay overnight in the parking lot, though. Only participants of the “safe parking” program who signed up for its services can park their cars at the site. The effort is a collaboration between Blumenfield's office and a privately operated “safe parking” program that helps connect services with people who are living in their cars. In Los Angeles County, there are over 15,700 of them. Blumenfield said he was inspired to bring the program into his district — which includes communities in the West Valley — after visiting a “safe parking” program in Koreatown about a year and a half ago with City Councilman Joe Buscaino. “It was a good thing as one of many different ways to help with homelessness,” he said.
Los Angeles Daily News

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: