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 7, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Louisiana Deputy Dies From COVID-19
An East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy who was a member of the force for more than 26 years died from the coronavirus Sunday morning, marking the first publicly announced death among local law enforcement agencies as the human toll of the virus continues to grow. Sgt. Gregory Warren, a former U.S. Marine who worked as a supervisor in the inmate transportation division for the sheriff's office, was 53 years old. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux announced Warren's death Sunday morning, describing him as "a dedicated public servant" who will be greatly missed. "My heart breaks for his wife Carol, his children, his coworkers and all of those that loved him," Gautreaux said. "Please remember his family in your prayers."

New Jersey Officer Dies From COVID-19 Complications
Newark police officer Tolbert A. Furr, 59, died due to complications with the coronavirus on Friday at Clara Maass Medical Center, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose announced. Special Police Officer Furr, who was also a resident of the city, served as a Newark cop for 25 years, according to Ambrose. “The City of Newark grieves collectively with the family of Special Police Officer Furr,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. “This is a loss that touches us all.” As of March 31, 163 police officers statewide have tested positive for COVID-19. “On behalf of the entire Department of Public Safety, Chief of Police Darnell Henry and I extend our deepest condolences to Officer Furr’s family," Ambrose said. "He will be remembered with distinction for his longstanding commitment and service to our residents.”

Coronavirus Taking Heavy Toll On California First Responders
The coronavirus is taking a growing toll on police officers, firefighters and other first responders in California, with at least three dying and dozens infected. The number of Los Angeles Police Department officers and civilian employees testing positive for the coronavirus increased to 45 with at least one employee hospitalized. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Fire Department has a total of 13 firefighters who have tested positive for the virus with one hospitalized, Some of the first infected are beginning to recover. One police officer and two firefighters have been cleared to return to duty. Four members of the command staff of the LAPD tested positive for the virus and all are said to be in the recovering stage. Fire departments in San Jose and Long Beach have been hit by outbreaks.

'Angel Cop': Skid Row Officer Gets HGTV Home Makeover After Serving Community For Twenty Years
At a time when our first responders are on the front line in the coronavirus crisis, one LAPD police officer goes home each night to a little piece of paradise. Deon Joseph and his family received an HGTV Extreme Home Makeover. Construction happened this summer with the season finale celebrating heroes airing Sunday, April 5th at 8 p.m. The timing, however, couldn't be more perfect. Joseph is a veteran officer who's worked LA's Skid Row for twenty years. Now he's working with the homeless population he so loves and encouraging them to seek shelter and city housing during this pandemic. Joseph's good works and love of community earned him that home makeover by HGTV. He's been called the "Angel Cop" of Skid Row. A woman who was once homeless was among the volunteer construction team backed by actor Jesse Ferguson of Modern Family. Joseph, his wife Tosha and their three sons living in Long Beach. It's a three-bedroom home, 1600 square feet. HGTV knocked out walls, opened up the kitchen, and added storage space. The Joseph's have lived here for about eighteen years.

1 Dead, 1 Critically Injured In Koreatown Shooting; Police Searching For Shooter
Los Angeles police were investigating a double shooting in Koreatown that left one person dead and another in critical condition Monday night. The shooting happened in front of a laundromat at Beverly and Hobart shortly after 8 p.m. A 30-year-old male died at the scene and the other, a 28-year-old female, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police said she was conscious and talking with police. Police were still searching for the shooter.

Coronavirus: Los Angeles Sees 23 Percent Drop In Crime, LAPD Chief Michel Moore Says
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that crime in the city had decreased by 23 percent this March compared to March 2019 as Angelenos followed the mayor’s Safer at Home order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Moore said the city saw reductions in crime in nearly every category except auto theft, which saw a slight increase. “People staying at home in their neighborhoods, watching out for each other and exercising social distancing is allowing us to have a safer city,” Moore said. Even reported family violence, which many worried might increase as families spent more time in close quarters, decreased by 11 percent, Moore said. “We recognize that in times of stress and times of turmoil, that family violence can increase,” Moore said. Moore said that the department would be reaching out this week to local hotlines that handle family violence to see if they were seeing increases in call volumes following the stay at home order.

Gunfire In Harbor Gateway Area Of L.A. Leaves 1 Hospitalized
Gunfire in the Harbor Gateway area grazed a man and sent him to a hospital as Los Angeles police sought a suspect Monday, April 6. Authorities were dispatched to reports of a shooting near Menlo Avenue and Gardena Boulevard at about 8:46 p.m., Los Angeles Police Officer Tony Im said. Responding officers encountered a man in his 30s who had suffered a “graze wound,” Im said. He was taken to a hospital, and was expected to recover. Investigators believe whoever shot him fled the area in a black Chevy Tahoe, Im said. A detailed description of the suspect and further information regarding what might have led up to the shooting was not immediately available. 

LAPD Files 37 Complaints Against Businesses For Violating Coronavirus Closure Rules
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that officers have filed 37 total complaints against businesses that have not complied with the city’s sweeping coronavirus stay-at-home orders. Those complaints will lead to fines and potential criminal prosecutions, Moore said. “This is not just irresponsible,” Moore said. “It is not only endangering themselves but their employees and everyone else in that community and I am proud of City Atty. [Mike] Feuer and of his work and the prosecution of those individuals.” On Friday, Los Angeles prosecutors filed criminal charges against two smoke shops, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer, accusing them of refusing to shut down despite orders imposed to fight the coronavirus. It marked the first time the city has filed charges for violations of the “Safer at Home” order, which requires businesses deemed nonessential to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

L.A. Officials Crack Down On Speeding Amid Stay-At-Home Orders
With millions of Southern Californians hunkering down at home, traffic has been blissfully light — a rare positive in a time of sickness, death, unemployment and isolation. But in the age of coronavirus, people still venture out to the supermarket or to help elderly relatives. And some are succumbing to the temptations of wide-open roads. Speeds are up by as much as 30% on some Los Angeles streets, according to a preliminary analysis by the city’s Department of Transportation that measured traffic at a subset of locations. Since stay-at-home orders from the city, county and state took effect in mid-March, drivers overall were going about 12% faster on weekdays and 6% faster on weekends, the analysis found.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Trying To Rob Smoke Shop Near West Hollywood
One man who was possibly armed and allegedly attempting to rob a smoke shop on the outskirts of West Hollywood was arrested Sunday, police said. The suspect, whose name was not released, was taken into custody without incident after a stand-off with police, according to Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section. No injuries occurred, Eisenman said, and it could not be confirmed that the man was armed. Police were sent to the 1400 block of North La Cienega Boulevard at 10:38 a.m. on a report of a robbery, she said. A K-9 unit was eventually called to the location, but no other details were immediately released.

Los Angeles Authorities Sue Company For 'Illegally Selling' At-Home COVID-19 Test
Mike Feuer, the city attorney of Los Angeles, announced on Monday that his office had "filed a civil law enforcement action against, and achieved an immediate settlement with," a company that had been "illegally selling" an at-home test for the coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that the agency "has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19." But in March, Yikon Genomics Inc. offered a coronavirus test for sale online, claiming that the test could be performed "using a simple at-home finger stick blood sample." The company offered tests for $39 each and, in a since-deleted tweet, stated, "Our COVID-19 Test Kit is now FDA APPROVED!" Yikon's "unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business acts or practices," the LA city attorney alleged in the lawsuit against the company, "present a continuing threat to members of the public."

In Uncharted Territory, California Court Leaders OK Urgent New Rules For Coronavirus
California judicial leaders approved 11 new emergency rules Monday to keep essential court services running and still try to protect people from the coronavirus. During a meeting held by telephone, the Judicial Council, the policy-making arm of the state court system, directed judges to set bail at zero in misdemeanor and low-level felony cases and to postpone proceedings that could result in evictions or foreclosures. The most contentious item at the meeting involved the rights of criminal defendants to appear in person for pretrial proceedings, where defendants learn of their charges and enter pleas and prosecutors must show there is enough evidence to hold them over for trial. Public defenders say their clients have the right to visibly confront witnesses against them and need to confer with their lawyers during preliminary hearings. Prosecutors want the hearings held remotely to avoid having sheriff departments bus inmates from jail and potentially expose others.

FBI Warns Against Scammers Taking Advantage Of Coronavirus Pandemic
Scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money and turn unknowing victims into money mules, sometimes through fake, work-from-home job postings, the FBI warned Monday. “When criminals obtain money illegally, they have to find a way to move and hide the illicit funds,” according to an FBI statement. “They scam other people, known as money mules, into moving this illicit money for them either through funds transfers, physical movement of cash or through various other methods.” The agency advised people to be wary of online job postings that promise money for little effort. It also warned about red flags, including an “employer” communicating through web-based services like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail; asking potential victims to send or receive money to their personal bank account and then transfer funds via wire transfer, mail or money service businesses; asking potential victims to open a new bank account in their name for the business; and telling potential victims to keep part of the transferred money.

Public Safety News

LA Fire Department Launches Telemedicine Program
The Los Angeles Fire Department announced on Monday the launch of their new Telemedicine program aimed to help people who are mildly ill and to ease the coronavirus load on emergency rooms. The Telemedicine program was funded by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's innovation fund and has been in the works for approximately a year and a half. "What that allows us to do is have doctors on our dispatch floor so when a 911 call comes in, we can transfer that call to a doctor who can do a patient assessment and they’ll use Facetime to look at the patient so they can do a visual assessment as well as ask questions," said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. 

L.A. Suicide Hotline Sees Rise In Coronavirus-Related Calls. Counselors Feel The Pain
The voice on the other end of the line was filled with panic. The woman on the phone had come back from the market with a dry cough; she was worried about having COVID-19, worried that she could infect her husband and her children. For a brief moment, she’d forgotten her fears and embraced her kids. “Now I’m afraid they may have gotten it from me,” she said. April Rosas comforted the woman the only way she could — over the phone from a small gray cubicle on the third floor of the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center in Century City. Her children “were in need of love,” the caller said. “They were not doing OK, so I hugged them.” “You did your role as a parent. You were there for them,” Rosas said. “That’s not a bad thing.” The caller said she had been embarrassed to reach out. But she struggled with anxiety and had no one else to turn to.

‘This Will Be The Week To Skip Shopping’: Officials Warn Of Critical Time As L.A. County COVID-19 Cases Top 6,300 With 147 Deaths
Los Angeles County officials reported 420 new coronavirus cases an additional 15 deaths Monday, bringing the total number of patients to 6,360 as the death toll climbed to 147 countywide. In the last 48 hours, 1,083 new cases were confirmed, and officials warned there is a critical week ahead. “We will see many more cases over the next few weeks,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said Monday. “If you have enough supplies in your home, this will be the week to skip shopping altogether.” Over the weekend, the county recorded its biggest one-day increase of fatalities related to the virus, reporting a total of 28 deaths in just 24 hours. Ferrer noted that the county’s numbers are large and they have increased significantly in one week. And because asymptomatic people can spread the illness, the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to grow.

‘These People Are Warriors.’ Meet The Waste Workers Taking Risks To Sort Your Recyclables
On Friday morning, Noel Turner — gloved, masked, and dressed in an apron and hard hat — attacked the refuse stream rolling by her on a fast-moving conveyor belt, pulling out plastic bags and loose plastic films, and tossing them into a metal bin by her side. She’s a sorter at San Francisco’s Recology recycling center. And while most of the city’s residents are hunkered down in their homes, keeping clear of the coronavirus that has infected more than 1 million people worldwide, thousands of waste sorters, haulers, mechanics and engineers are getting up every morning and leaving their homes — putting themselves at risk to keep California’s towns and cities clean. “These people are warriors,” said Robert Reed, Recology’s spokesman, as he showed a reporter around the bustling plant — a site of determined activity in a city that largely feels and appears abandoned. Turner’s job, hazardous during normal times — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the nation’s fifth-most-dangerous occupation — now carries a new level of risk.

Local Government News

LA To Consider Emergency Relief Program To Protect Renters Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday is expected to vote on an emergency measure to help those who have found themselves out of work and unable to pay their rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. City Council President Nury Martinez is trying to revive the Emergency Renters Relief Program, which was established last year for the first time in the city's history. The relief fund then raised $3 million for renters who had their rent raised by an exorbitant amount by their landlords - before a state bill that capped rent increases went into effect on Jan. 1. "Unfortunately, people who are living paycheck to paycheck, that most likely will not be able to go back to work immediately, those folks are just going to fall further and further behind," Martinez said. "So we need to make sure that we have a fund ready for them to access."

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: