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

February 14, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Conviction Overturned In Killing Of LAPD Officer 37 Years Ago
The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday to overturn a man's conviction in the killing of an LAPD officer 37 years ago during a traffic stop. The state high court, citing extensive evidence that the defense lawyer for Kenneth Earl Gay was incompetent, reversed the conviction that sent Gay to death row in Officer Paul Verna's killing on the evening of June 2, 1983, in Lake View Terrace. Gay's case has bounced between the lower courts and the California Supreme Court for years. The court overturned his death sentence years ago on the grounds he had an inadequate lawyer, and a new trial was held on whether he should be condemned to death. Another jury also recommended death, but the second death sentence also was overturned. Gay then argued that his lawyer, Daye Shinn, also botched the guilty phase of his trial. Shinn, who was later disbarred and has since died, lied to get Gay's case, evidence showed, counseled the defendant to admit to incriminating evidence and failed to introduce evidence that might have persuaded a jury to acquit him or spare his life.
Los Angeles Times

Suspect Arrested For DUI, Hit-and-Run Death Of Skateboarding Woman In Playa del Rey
A suspect has been arrested in the DUI hit-and-run death of a 48-year-old woman who was skateboarding in Playa del Rey early Thursday morning, police said. The woman, identified as Patricia Ann O'Donnell, 48, was seen on surveillance video getting out of a truck and getting on her skateboard in the area of Pershing Drive and Campdell Street just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday. She was skating in a business parking lot and then rode into the street, where a car heading north on Pershing slammed into her, police say. The car did not stop. Investigators say they were able to later track down a suspect, identified as Patrick Finkelstein, 45, of Santa Monica. He was arrested and booked for vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

Teen Arrested In Valley Glen Road-Rage Attack That Left Man In A Coma: LAPD
A juvenile was arrested in a New Year's Day road-rage attack in Valley Glen that left the 46-year-old victim in a coma, officials said. The teen, accused of arming himself with brass knuckles and punching the victim unconscious near the corner of Woodman Avenue and Victory Boulevard, fled to Armenia after the assault, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. Video of the confrontation captured on a bystander's cellphone shows the teen deal one swift blow before the man is knocked out. He was left with head trauma and placed in a medically induced coma, according to the victim's daughter, who did not want to give her father's name. That attack occurred after a Jeep that had been driving erratically stopped behind the victim at a red light around 9:30 p.m. Both parties wound up pulling over to the curb, after which the victim and the Jeep's three occupants got into a dispute, LAPD said.

Police Seek Minivan Driver Who Injured Woman in Hit-And-Run
Police Wednesday released security footage in hopes of finding the hit-and-run motorist responsible for badly injuring a woman who was crossing a street in the east Hollywood area. The 50-year-old pedestrian was crossing Fountain Avenue at Lyman Place in a crosswalk about 9 a.m. Tuesday when she was struck by a red or burgundy 2005-2010 Chevrolet Uplander minivan, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which did not release a suspect description. Paramedics took the woman, whose name was withheld, to a hospital for treatment of a "severe injury,'' police said. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the suspect's arrest and conviction. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the LAPD Central Traffic Division at 213-833-3713; 877-LAPD-247; or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

LA County DA To Dismiss Nearly 66K Marijuana Convictions
In a sweeping move, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that her office has asked the court to dismiss nearly 66,000 marijuana convictions going back decades. In a news conference Thursday morning, Lacey called it the largest such undertaking in state history. “We believe it is the largest effort in California to wipe out old criminal convictions in a single court motion,” Lacey said. Lacey said that when Proposition 64 passed in 2016 – which legalized marijuana in California — prosecutors across the state were tasked with reducing past marijuana convictions from felonies down to misdemeanors. However, she says her office decided to go even further. “I've instructed by deputy district attorneys to ask the court to dismiss all eligible cannabis-related convictions,” Lacey said. “I also took the will of the voters one step further. I expanded the criteria to go above and beyond the parameters of the law to ensure that many more people will benefit from this historic moment in time.”

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Killing At Downtown L.A. Restaurant
An ex-con pleaded not guilty Thursday to fatally stabbing a fellow diner at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles on New Year's Day. Devan Cleef Lampkin, described as a 50-year-old transient, is charged with the Jan. 1 killing of Homer Garcia. The murder charge includes an allegation that Lampkin used a knife in the commission of the crime. Prosecutors also allege that the defendant has a prior conviction from Fresno for lewd acts on a minor in 2000. Lampkin allegedly stabbed the 56-year-old victim in the chest after the two got into an argument inside Margarita's Place, located at 103 E. Seventh St., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Garcia, who died at a hospital, was described by relatives as an avid musician. Surveillance video from inside the restaurant showed the attack, then Lampkin calmly picking up his belongings on the counter and walking away.

Audit criticizes privacy of some California police data

Four police departments in California have compiled massive amounts of data while tracking drivers' movements through their jurisdictions, but a new audit says those agencies aren't following the law when it comes to protecting people's privacy. California Auditor Elaine Howle on Thursday released a review of the policies and procedures with automated license plate readers at the police departments in Los Angeles and Fresno and sheriff's offices in Marin and Sacramento counties. She found the agencies have not fully implemented a 2016 state law designed to protect privacy.
Associated Press

Man Charged With Killing Elderly Hospital Roommate In Long Beach
A Long Beach transient has been charged with fatally beating his elderly hospital roommate on Jan. 31, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. Reginald Daniel Panthier, 37, faces felony counts of murder, elder abuse resulting in death, elder abuse with infliction of injury and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, the DA's Office said. Authorities say Panthier savagely beat 73-year-old Francisco Sanchez-Reyes on Jan. 31. Sanchez-Reyes was taken to another hospital in critical condition after suffering major injuries to his upper torso. "The neurosurgeons at the hospital...said that our dad had multiple and extensive bleeding throughout his brain and they couldn't save him," said Sanchez-Reyes' son, Ramon Sanchez, in a GoFundMe page he set up to help cover expenses related to this heinous crime. The victim died as a result of his injuries on Feb. 8.
FOX 11

California to move some condemned inmates off death row
More than 700 condemned inmates on California's largest-in-the-nation death row soon will have a chance to transfer to one of eight state prisons, a move a former district attorney termed “a slap to the face” of victims. The voluntary transfers from San Quentin State Prison's all-male death row to other high-security prisons could benefit condemned inmates not only with more freedom and a change of scenery, but provide an opportunity to participate in rehabilitation and work programs.
Associated Press

California Homicide Suspect Found In Arizona
An 18-year-old homicide suspect from Fresno County was found in Avondale, according to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. On Jan. 10, authorities received several calls about a shooting at an apartment complex. Upon arrival, they found 19-year-old Joel Aguiniga dead on the ground from a gunshot wound, says Tony Botti with the sheriff's office. This marked the county's first homicide case of the year. Information lead detectives to identify Julian Torres as the suspect responsible for the shooting. They learned he fled to Phoenix shortly after the shooting. With the help of Arizona authorities, on Feb. 4, Torres was found at a home in the 3900 block of N. 125th Lane in Avondale. Botti says Torres waived his right to an extradition hearing and was taken back to Fresno on Feb. 13. Torres was booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of homicide.
FOX 11

After LE pressure, NY lawmakers propose changes to new bail laws
Democrats in the state Senate are proposing changes to newly enacted bail laws that have prompted a public backlash from cops and prosecutors. A working group of lawmakers assembled by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) has come up with tweaks to the controversial reforms that would eliminate cash bail altogether and allow judges more discretion when deciding whether to release someone awaiting trial. The plan they came up with mirrors the federal system by giving judges guidelines and guardrails on possible remand. Judges would be able to order repeat offenders to be held awaiting trial as well as people accused of crimes that result in the death of another person, certain domestic violence felonies and certain hate crimes.
New York Daily News

Public Safety News

Report: Most Dangerous Intersections In Los Angeles Mapped Out; Several Located In San Fernando Valley
It appears the San Fernando Valley is home to some of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles, according to reports from the Los Angeles Police Department. Data compiled by Crosstown LA, a non-profit organization partnered with USC Annenberg, shows that Van Nuys had the most collisions; specifically the intersection of Sepulveda Blvd. and Sherman Way. According to LAPD data 47 collisions were reported in that intersection. Data also shows that the third most dangerous intersection is less than a mile away from the first at Sepulveda Blvd. and Burbank Blvd. Forty collisions were reported in that intersection. Also in Van Nuys, Sherman Way and Woodman Ave. is ranked as the 7th most dangerous intersection in the city with 34 collisions reported. According to data examined by Crosstown, Van Nuys is home to six of the top 20 most dangerous intersections in the city, with nearly 195 collisions reported in 2019. 
FOX 11

LAFD's Fast Response Vehicles Help Cut Down On Response Time
The Los Angeles Fire Department answers an average of 2,100 calls every day, and a growing number of those calls involve the homeless. Now an innovative program aims at providing a solution and is proving to be a success. Eyewitness News spent time with Fire Station 9, which serves Skid Row. The paramedics there are part of a pilot program that is using Fast Response Vehicles, or FRVs. "I call them the special forces of the LAFD because of their multi-skillset," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said. LAFD has four of the vehicles and the fast response time is because the teams are always on the streets. In the four hours Eyewitness News was with the station, the team handled 11 calls. In one case, when responders arrived to help a man choking, he was fine. It's an example of the program's value because of the resources that were not used. Typically, a fire engine and an ambulance would respond, but this incident was cleared in minutes before firefighters even left the station.

Local Government News

Garcetti and Trump officials enter a new phase of finding a fix for homelessness in L.A.
Taking the next step in months of negotiations over ways to combat L.A.'s homelessness crisis, Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Thursday announced the formation of a joint working group. Although much about the collaboration remains unknown, the mayor and secretary said their staffs would be working together to identify red tape and other impediments to getting people off the streets and housed quickly.
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles City Councilman Proposes Car-Free Broadway Corridor In Downtown LA

The lights, the glamour, the shows. For years, Downtown Los Angeles' Broadway was the center of the live theater and movie palace universe. Now, Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar wants to bring back Broadway. Huizar proposed that the City study creating a pedestrian-friendly corridor with no vehicle traffic on Broadway between 1st and 12th streets. The councilman says the area has already benefited from an economic development initiative called "Bringing Back Broadway," and the car-free concept would further enhance businesses. Some visitors to the area are skeptical. "I think they've got a lot of pedestrian aspects to it, but if you close down this street, it's just going to create more traffic and more problems for all the neighboring businesses as well," said Greg Valentine from Huntington Beach.

Your Guide To The Competitive LA City Council Race Underway In District 4

Half of the 15-member Los Angeles City Council is up for grabs on March 3, with the sprawling District 4 quickly becoming one of the more competitive races on the primary ballot. Close to $1.5 million has been raised among the candidates, the highest total of any 2020 LA city race including city matching funds. District 4 stretches from Sherman Oaks and Toluca Lake into the Hollywood Hills, Silverlake, Echo Park, Central L.A. and parts of Koreatown. Each of the race's three Democratic candidates have pitched themselves as best suited to tackle the city's homelessness and housing challenges, among other key municipal issues. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in March, the top two finishers will go to a runoff in November. City Councilmembers wield the power to deploy emergency services, steer development projects and set legislative priorities while overseeing billions in local tax revenue — don't forget fixing potholes.
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: