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 20, 2020
Law Enforcement News

California officer rescues man trapped in burning car
An Elk Grove Police officer is being hailed as a hero after the department released video that shows him helping rescue a driver from his car after a fiery crash. The dashboard and body-camera video, taken from a Feb. 11 incident and posted to social media Tuesday night, shows Officer Jarred Houston racing his patrol car around the roundabout at Sheldon and Waterman roads, then getting out and running toward the white sedan. The car’s front end is smashed, flames and smoke are spewing from the engine compartment and its airbags have deployed.
Motive In Slaying Of Rapper Pop Smoke A Mystery: ‘We Have Some Work To Do,’ LAPD Says
Authorities said it’s too early to determine a motive for the slaying of up-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke, who was fatally shot early Wednesday at a Hollywood Hills home. While initial reports described the fatal encounter as a home invasion robbery, Los Angeles Police Department officials said they are still trying to sort out what happened. “I am not comfortable calling it a robbery right now,” Robbery Homicide Division Capt. Jonathan Tippet said. “There is a lot of information available. We have some work to do.” Tippet said detectives are looking for evidence in the neighborhood as well as scanning the internet for clues. “There is a lot of social media information out there. The house is in a neighborhood surrounded by video cameras,” he said. Law enforcement sources who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and asked for anonymity said they are aware the rapper may have inadvertently posted to social media an image showing the address of the home where he was staying.
Man Attacked In Downtown Los Angeles, Suffers Stab Wound To Neck
A man was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday evening with a stab wound to the neck and a suspect was in custody. Details of what led up to the stabbing near Fifth and Main streets at about 8 p.m. were not immediately available, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. KCAL9 reported an off-duty police officer witnessed an attack, stopped and took the suspect into custody and tried to help the victim, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition. 
Ex-Boyfriend Charged With Capital Murder In Death Of Hollywood Therapist
The ex-boyfriend of Hollywood marriage and sex therapist Amie Harwick was charged Wednesday with murder for allegedly throwing the woman from her third-floor balcony in the Hollywood Hills. The murder charge against Gareth Pursehouse, 41, includes a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, making him eligible for a possible death sentence. Pursehouse was also charged with first-degree residential burglary. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in downtown Los Angeles. Pursehouse had been arrested Saturday morning but he was released on $2 million bond Tuesday. He was re-arrested Wednesday and was being held without bail, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The 38-year-old Harwick, who was once engaged to comedian and “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey, was killed early Saturday at her home in the 2000 block of Mound Street.
Burglar Arrested After Breaking Into 2nd Encino Home To Use Cellphone; 2nd Suspect At Large: LAPD
One burglar was on the loose and a second suspect with prior convictions was arrested following a break-in earlier this week in Encino, authorities said Wednesday. Officers were called around 5:20 p.m. Monday regarding a burglary in progress on the 15500 block of Moorpark Street, according to Officer Mike Lopez with the Los Angeles Police Department. Donte Caldwell, a 27-year-old Los Angeles resident, was able to evade officers chasing him on foot from the scene and forcibly entered another home a few blocks away, on the 4800 block of Orion Avenue, LAPD said in a news release. Caldwell then used the resident’s cellphone to call a friend, but the resident was able to contact police, who responded and arrested Caldwell, officials said. A perimeter was set up in the neighborhood, and officers and K-9s spent hours searching the area for a second person seen with Caldwell, Lopez said. But that man remained outstanding Wednesday.
Police: Woman Used Stolen ID To Rent Hollywood Apartment For Sublease To Unsuspecting Tenants
A woman suspected of using a stolen identity to rent apartments, then turning around and subletting them to unsuspecting tenants, has been arrested, but investigators believe she may have more victims. Courtney Lane Joseph, 22, was arrested on Feb. 12 in connection by detectives in the LAPD’s Hollywood Division. She is free on $50,000 bail, and is scheduled to make her first court appearance on March 30. Joseph was arrested while trying to use a stolen social security number to rent an apartment in the Hollywood area, according to the LAPD. Detectives believe she planned to rent apartments with the stolen information, then turn around and sublease the apartments to unsuspecting tenants, with the intention of collecting rent up-front. Investigators say using the stolen information allowed Joseph pass on any future credit hit to the identity theft victim.
L.A. Metro Reports A Five-Year Decline In Crime On Its Transportation Systems
Crime on Los Angeles County’s Metro bus and rail system has decreased 17% over the last five years, the transportation authority announced Thursday. Between 2015 and 2019, total “serious” and “less serious” crimes both declined on the Metro system. Serious crimes decreased nearly 23% and less-serous crimes decreased almost 11%. “The Metro system is safe and we’re making it safer,” Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James Butts said. “As a former law enforcement officer myself, I know that deterring crime takes a long-term commitment and focus. That’s what Metro is now doing.” Statistics are reported to Metro regularly by multiple law enforcement agencies that patrol the transit system. Overall, there are approximately 3.9 crimes per 1 million transit rides, which Metro officials said is a “relatively low” number, consistent with other major transit agencies across the United States. Metro instituted a new policing plan in mid-2017. The plan works with law enforcement agencies, Metro transit security, private security and in-house “fare compliance” officers to better protect the Metro system.
Man Charged With DUI In Fairfax Hit-And-Run Crash That Cost Actor Both His Legs
A man was charged with DUI in a hit-and-run crash that cost a 47-year-old actor both his legs in Fairfax last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Friday. Actor Obi Ndefo, of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Stargate SG-1,” had just finished teaching a yoga class and was standing behind his parked car near Erewhon Market in the 7600 block of Beverly Boulevard on Aug. 17, 2019, when 25-year-old John Michael Maese slammed his vehicle into him and fled the scene, according to family and the DA’s office. One of his legs was severed upon impact and the other was shattered and had to be amputated, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise $268,000 to cover the costs of new prosthetic legs, surgeries and making Ndefo’s home wheelchair accessible. Surgeons called Ndefo’s survival a “miracle,” according to the page. Maese was arrested a day later and held on $160,000 bail, county inmate records show.
Long Beach Man Gets 22 Years For Cell Phone Store Robberies In California, Arizona
A Long Beach man, considered the ringleader of a robbery crew, was sentenced to more than 22 years in federal prison Tuesday, Feb. 18, in connection with 13 cell phone store robberies that netted about $340,000 in phones and other merchandise, authorities said. Zachary David Wade, 42, was also ordered by United States District Judge David O. Carter to pay $326,236 in restitution, spokesman Ciaran McEvoy said. Wade pleaded guilty nearly a year ago to charges of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, McEvoy said. Wade was accused of leading a group of eight other suspects in the robberies, which he planned, organized and supervised.
SoCal Man Will Plead Guilty In $150 Million Currency Scam
A Southern California man charged with bilking nearly $150 million out of 70,000 investors worldwide through a phony digital currency scheme has agreed to enter a guilty plea to federal charges, it was announced Wednesday. Steven Chen, 62, of Bradbury agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion, the U.S. Attorney's office announced. He has a court appearance scheduled for next month and could face up to 10 years in federal prison. According to his plea agreement, Chen owned U.S. Fine Investment Arts Inc. and six other companies, all based in Arcadia, California. The companies issued a sham digital currency called “Gem Coins” that supposedly was backed by amber and precious gems from mines that Fine Investment Arts owned in several countries. 
Public Safety News
4 Girls Taken To Hospital After School Bus Hits Power Pole In Elysian Park: LAFD
Four girls have been hospitalized after a school bus struck a power pole in Elysian Park on Wednesday morning, officials said. The single-vehicle crash happened in the 500 block of West Solano Avenue around 7:30 a.m., according to a Los Angeles Fire Department alert. Nine children were assessed by firefighter-paramedics at the scene, and four girls, all approximately 12 years old, were transported to a local hospital, the alert stated. Their conditions were listed as fair. The crash resulted in downed electrical wires, according to LAFD. It was unclear if power was impacted in the area. Everyone has been taken off the bus and is safe from the hazard, officials said. It was not yet known what caused the crash. No additional information was immediately released.
Two Teenagers Arrested In Connection With Library Fire That Killed Firefighter In Porterville
A firefighter has died and another is unaccounted for after a massive fire ripped through a library in the small town of Porterville, California. According to the Porterville Police Department the fire was intentionally set by two 13-year-old Porterville residents. Both teenagers have been arrested and booked into the Tulare County Juvenile Detention facility on charges of arson, manslaughter and conspiracy. The city has identified the firefighter who was killed as 35-year-old Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa. Captain Figueroa started his career with Porterville City in 2007. According to the fire department, 25-year-old firefighter Patrick Jones is still unaccounted for. Jones started his career with Porterville City Fire Department in 2017. Authorities are currently searching the building for Jones. 
Local Government News

L.A. Councilman Seeks To Ban E-Scooters From Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell requested a report Wednesday from the city’s Department of Transportation on potentially blocking e-scooters from the sidewalks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame due to the devices cluttering the historic monument. O’Farrell said he would want to “geo-fence” e-scooters from accessing Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street, and Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard to keep the public right-of-way open. Geo-fencing basically blocks out certain portions of the city through global positioning technology. This is how the city keeps the vehicles from being ridden during its CicLAvia events, when streets are restricted to non-motorized traffic.
San Pedro, Wilmington Temporary Homeless Shelters Begin Construction
It took longer than anticipated, but on Wednesday, Feb. 19, Los Angeles officials gathered for back-to-back groundbreakings for two temporary homeless shelters going up in San Pedro and Wilmington. The shelters — at 515 N. Beacon St., in San Pedro, and 828 N. Eubank Ave., in Wilmington — will each house about 100 people in structures that will also offer toilets, showers, and washers and dryers. They are set to open by the end of June, city officials said. And another shelter in San Pedro, which the county and Harbor Interfaith Services will operate at Beacon and Eighth streets, is expected to open on March 2. The city’s Bridge Home shelters — designed to provide temporary housing and intensive counseling services over a 90-day period — are envisioned for all of L.A.’s 15 council districts. In District 15, stretching from Watts to San Pedro, there will be three.

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: