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

April 2, 2020
Law Enforcement News

North Carolina Deputy Dies From COVID-19
A sheriff’s deputy in Montgomery County died from coronavirus Tuesday night as the state’s death toll pushed into double digits, law enforcement officials confirmed. Bud Phouang worked as a middle school resource officer in Biscoe, an area best known for being near Uwharrie National Forest. His was the 11th coronoavirus-related death in the state. Sheriff Gregory Seabolt offered a tribute on his department’s page in neighboring Randolph County, which quickly flooded with tributes Wednesday. In its Tuesday night obituary, the Montgomery Herald described Phouang as a husband, father and “beloved mentor.” “Phouang was quoted as saying, he tried to do at least one good deed a day,” the Herald wrote. “Students at West Middle will remember Phouang as the fun loving, kind hearted man that was often sporting Super Heroes attire.

LAPD, LAFD Report Additional Coronavirus Cases; 2 Hospitalized
Both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department Wednesday reported one more case of the novel coronavirus. The news comes just one day after five other LAPD employees and one LAFD employee tested positive for the virus. As of April 1, a total of 33 LAPD employees and eight LAFD employees have tested positive for the illness. “The Department has strict protocols for any employee who experiences symptoms of the virus,” LAPD said in a previous release. “They are instructed to go home and their workspaces are sanitized.” According to a release, one LAPD employee has been hospitalized and all other individuals are self-isolating at home and recovering. One LAFD employee has also been hospitalized for treatment.

Three Wounded In South L.A. Shooting
Three people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in South Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. About 8 p.m., a caller reported gunshots and a car speeding off near the 800 block of East 109th Place in South L.A., LAPD Officer Luis Garcia said. Personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department treated two victims at the scene who were suffering from gunshot wounds. Garcia had no information on the severity of their injuries. A short time later, two additional victims called the police from the 11700 block of Athens Way, Garcia said, about a five-minute drive from where shots were reportedly fired. One was wounded; the other was unharmed. The two victims described the suspect, who remains at large, as a black man with a thin build, about 6 feet tall, wearing a red, white and blue shirt, Garcia said.

Port Of L.A. Engineer Intentionally Derailed Train In Attempted Attack On USNS Mercy, Federal Prosecutors Say
A train engineer at the Port of Los Angeles is facing federal charges for allegedly charging a locomotive off tracks toward the USNS Mercy, which he suspected is tied to a government plot, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, was handed over to FBI agents Wednesday and charged with one count of train wrecking in Tuesday's derailment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. Moreno admitted he purposefully ran the train off the end of its tracks at full speed near the hospital ship in two separate interviews, officials said. He allegedly told investigators he believed the ship — which docked at the port last week to relieve strain on area hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak — had a secret purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover. Moreno said he wanted to “wake people up” and hoped the derailment would get media attention so “people could see for themselves,” according to prosecutors.

Caught On Video: 3 Men Ransack Understaffed, Struggling Koreatown Restaurants
Police are looking for three men who burglarized two restaurants in Koreatown while they were open for business. Police say the suspects distracted the employees Monday, then went into the offices of Chef Kang Sul Box and Shuto, both on Wilshire Boulevard. The suspects got away with $3,500 in cash from Chef Kang Sul Box and $2,800 from Shuto. They also took car keys, credit cards, checks and keys to both restaurants. Chef Kang Sul Box pointed out in its Instagram post that restaurants are understaffed and already struggling for business amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Escaped Inmate Found In Watts
An escaped inmate who’d been on the lam for nearly a week was arrested Wednesday after a brief foot pursuit in Watts. Officials realized about 6:30 p.m. last Thursday that Jaron Brown, 35, had left the Male Community Reentry Program facility in Los Angeles and an emergency search was conducted. Local law enforcement agencies were notified and agents from the CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety were called in to locate and apprehend Brown, according to CDCR’s Terry Thornton. He was spotted about 4 Wednesday afternoon in Watts and tried to run away from agents, but was quickly taken into custody without further incident, Thornton said. Brown was serving a three-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon, according to Thornton. He was transferred to the halfway house from Wasco State Prison on Feb. 11, and had been expected to be released on probation in September, Thornton said.

Ex-USC Official To Plead Guilty In College Admissions Fraud Case, Prosecutors Say
A former USC admissions official accused of accepting thousands of dollars in payments to ensure graduate-school admission for unqualified international students has agreed to plead guilty to a federal wire fraud charge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. Hiu Kit David Chong admitted in his plea agreement that he falsified applicants’ admission packets with doctored college transcripts, phony letters of recommendation and fraudulent personal statements, according to federal prosecutors. Chong, a 36-year-old Arcadia resident, agreed to plead guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with wire fraud, a felony carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. He will be summoned to appear in Los Angeles federal court on a future date.

British Man Charged With Smuggling Phony Coronavirus Cure Into U.S.
A British man accused of smuggling a phony coronavirus cure into the United States was charged Wednesday with a federal crime, prosecutors said. Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, of West Sussex was charged in Los Angeles federal court with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and could face up to three years in federal prison if convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He was arrested last week on drug charges in the United Kingdom and remains in custody there, authorities said. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney. Prosecutors alleged that Ludlow, who isn't a doctor, had been selling people in California and Utah via mail a concoction called “Trinity Remedy" that he touted as a “miracle cure" for various ailments, according to a court affidavit. “This cure' – later rebranded as ‘Trinity Mind, Body & Soul' – allegedly contained vitamin C, an enzyme mix, potassium thiocyanate, and hydrogen peroxide.

IRS: Beware Of Scammers Trying To Steal Fed Relief Checks
With households throughout Southern California and the rest of the country slated to receive federal stimulus checks this month, the Internal Revenue Service Wednesday warned recipients to be alert to scam artists posing as federal officials seeking to steal their funds. According to the IRS, scammers using telephone and internet schemes will likely multiply as the checks are deposited directly into bank accounts or sent via mail. Under the roughly $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security — CARES — Act signed into law by President Donald Trump last week, taxpayers who fall within defined income parameters will receive $1,200 checks from the U.S. Treasury, with additional amounts for dependent children. “While much of the country is working from home, scammers and con artists are also working — on schemes to steal your money,” Los Angeles-based U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said.

Gun Background Checks Smash Records Amid Coronavirus Fears
Background checks required to buy firearms have spiked to record numbers in the past month, fueled by a run on guns from Americans panicked about their safety during the coronavirus crisis. According to figures from the FBI, there were 3.7 million background checks done in March — the most for a single month since the system began in 1998. It eclipsed the previous record, set in December 2015, when 3.3 million checks were conducted. Background checks are the key barometer of gun sales, but the FBI's monthly figures also incorporate checks for firearm permits that are required in some states. Each background check also might be for the sale of more than one gun. The rush has inflamed tensions between Second Amendment advocates and gun control supporters. Pro-gun groups say the long lines seen at gun stores affirm a widespread belief about the right to bear arms. Opponents contend that adding firearms into stressed-out households filled with people cooped up during lockdown orders will lead to increased levels of domestic violence and suicides.

US Sending 540 Troops To Mexico Border To Assist Agents During Pandemic
The Department of Defense has approved sending 540 additional military troops to the United States’ border with Mexico to augment the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. The Department of Homeland Security requested the additional personnel to assist federal border agents on March 19, according to the spokesperson and a memo obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved the resources last week. “The coronavirus pandemic has placed the country in a public health crisis and DHS is working with its partners across the government to take action to prevent the further spread of the virus in a ‘whole of America’ approach,” said the CBP spokesperson.

Public Safety News

LA Mayor Urges Everyone To Wear Protective Face Masks While In Public
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed an announcement from leaders in Riverside County Wednesday recommending people wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus. "We are now recommending that Angelenos use homemade face coverings when they are in public and interacting with others," said Garcetti. "I know it will look surreal. We're going to have to get used to seeing each other like this," Garcetti said as he put on a black cloth mask during his daily coronavirus briefing.  "To be clear, you should still stay at home. This isn't an excuse to suddenly all go out."  Garcetti said state health officials were waiting for guidance from the CDC before making the official announcement regarding masks. "I’ve finally said today, I don’t want to wait any longer," Garcetti said.

Coronavirus Cases In L.A. County Top 3,500, As Death Toll Rises To 65
Coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County are now up to 3,518 and the death toll has risen to 65, officials announced Wednesday. Of the eleven additional deaths reported Wednesday, nine were over 65, seven of which had underlying conditions. One of the people who died, one was between 18 and 40, while the other was between 41 and 65, officials said. The two younger people who died were among those who had underlying conditions. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said during a news briefing Wednesday that 88% of people who tested positive and died had underlying conditions. Over 1,000 new cases were reported within 48 hours, Ferrer said. She noted that five people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are homeless. As of Tuesday, 21,000 people have been tested in Los Angeles County, but Ferrer noted that might actually be an undercount, because some labs haven't turned over all their data.

Coronavirus Cases Approach 10,000 As California Braces For Worsening Conditions
Coronavirus cases across California barreled toward 10,000 Wednesday — with the death toll topping 200 — as officials desperately tried to keep unprecedented social distancing orders enforced while also trying to get more supplies to hospitals as patient numbers surged. The rapid spread of the virus brought new concerns about whether the state’s healthcare system could handle the flow of patients. Many California hospitals are grappling with shortages of supplies while rushing to prepare for what is expected to be a deluge of patients in the coming weeks. As bad as the numbers are, health officials warned it could get much worse if Californians don’t adhere to the stay-at-home orders, which now could last well into May. California faces 5,000 coronavirus deaths a week if the state’s stay-at-home policies are relaxed too early, according to one Bay Area health officer. 

Local Government News

LA City Councilmen Push Congress On Rent, Mortgage Forgiveness Legislation
Members of the Los Angeles City Council are calling on Congress to move forward with legislation that would grant rent and mortgage forgiveness to millions of renters, homeowners and commercial property owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter addressed to House Financial Services Committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, Councilmember David Ryu called for a temporary suspension and forgiveness of mortgage payments for both single-family residences and commercial residential properties, including small businesses). Ryu also called for a “suspension and forgiveness of rent, full or partial, for all renters or, at least, those impacted by the Coronavirus”. Pointing to eviction moratoriums already in place in several jurisdictions for both mortgage and rent, Ryu says “the eventual payback requirements will be impossible” for the vast majority of those affected.

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: