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 8, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Texas Sheriff Dies In Single-Vehicle Crash
Hutchinson County Sheriff Kirk Coker died March 29 in a single-vehicle crash about a mile east of Fritch, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety and county officials. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety release, Coker's vehicle drifted off the roadway into the south ditch where it traveled through a barbed wire fence and into a field. The 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe continued to travel through the field until it crashed into a tree. A medical episode is suspected as being the cause of the crash. The DPS identified the deceased only as Sheriff Kirk Coker, 57, of Borger, according to the DPS release. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Hutchinson County Justice of the Peace Yadi Rodriguez, who ordered an autopsy.

50 Years Later, Slain CHP Officers Remembered For Inspiring A Safety Revolution
It was April 6, 1970 when four California Highway Patrol officers from the Newhall station were gunned down by two career criminals. The rampage marked a new era for spree killings and sparked a revolution in safety reforms for officers. "Things like this never happened. It just didn't happen. It brought I think the whole department and law enforcement in general out of the Dark Ages. We were shocked," says Spike Helmick, who was there that night and later became CHP commissioner. "I'm hearing it on TV that four young officers had been shot and killed. And then the next thing I knew they were coming to the door and I found out what happened," says widow Nikki Frago of Fresno. All the officers were under 25 years old. Roger Gore, Walt Frago, George Alleyn and James Pence all left toddlers at home who would grow up without fathers. A top-to-bottom analysis of the shooting resulted in new tactics, weapons, procedures and tactical equipment. Police agencies across the country geared up for a new age of criminality.

36 LAPD Officers, 11 Employees Have Tested Positive For COVID-19: Chief
The number of Los Angeles Police Department officers and civilian employees infected by the coronavirus continues to increase, with nearly four dozen testing positive, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. Thirty-six officers and 11 civilians have contracted the virus, Moore said during a Police Commission meeting conducted remotely by Zoom. Although the total number of those testing positive increased from the previous day, the number who are quarantined at home fell by 24, to 209. They all have COVID-19 symptoms and are either in a high-risk category or have had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, Moore said. The LAPD is continuing to test more of its 13,000 employees, and officers are having their temperature taken before their shifts.

LAPD Concerned About Boarded-Up Businesses
LAPD officers have been making lists of closed businesses that have boarded doors and windows, worried that the locations could become targets for burglars. "We will continue to monitor those locations and assure extra patrol," Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. "We're watching our commercial burglaries carefully to see instances of those businesses, which are not opening, are falling victim to offenders that would want to prey on them." The LAPD's crime has not shown an increase in the number of burglaries: there were 192 burglary reports in the last week of March and about 195 in the first week of April. The number of burglary reports this year is down about 16% compared with the same time last year, though the number of burglary arrests increased in March, the data showed. In recent days officers in some LAPD divisions were tasked with creating an inventory of closed businesses. Moore said the initial surveys showed some "non-essential" businesses had boarded up because it appeared the owners expected to be closed for weeks or months.

Engineer Who Authorities Say Purposely Derailed Train Near USNS Mercy In San Pedro Ordered Held Without Bail
A San Pedro man suspected of intentionally running a train off the end of the tracks in San Pedro in hopes of hitting the USNS Mercy earlier this week was ordered Friday, April 3, to remain behind bars on no bail until his trial date, authorities said. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael R. Wilner made the order at a brief detention hearing in a federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, noting 44-year-old Eduardo Moreno posed a danger to the community and was a flight risk, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for United States Attorney’s Office. Moreno has been charged with one count of train wrecking and could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted, Mrozek said. He was scheduled to enter a plea to the charge May 7. Moreno attempted to run from the locomotive after the crash Tuesday, March 31, but was located and later arrested after admitting to law enforcement that he derailed the train deliberately in hopes of hitting the USNS Mercy because he believed it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19, such as a “government takeover,” federal officials said.

Long Beach Man, 60, Stabbed To Death Following Argument, Police Say
Detectives were investigating the fatal stabbing of a 60-year-old man in Long Beach Tuesday, according to police. Officers dispatched to the 400 block of Zona Court at 5:09 p.m. Monday found the body of a man suffering from multiple stab wounds to the chest, according to the Long Beach Police Department. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said a preliminary investigation indicates the victim was in a verbal argument with an unknown person or possibly multiple people just before he was killed. The man has only been identified by police as a 60-year-old resident of Long Beach pending notification of next of kin. Investigators have not identified a possible motive behind the killing, police said. Anyone with information about the incident can reach Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Mark Mattia and Travis Harris at 562-570-7244.

Crackdown Coming For Those Flying Drones Near The USNS Mercy
Authorities are sending a message to those with thoughts of getting aerial footage of the USNS Mercy by flying their drones at the Port of Los Angeles: Don’t do it. Due to security restrictions around military vessels issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense, unmanned aircraft are not allowed within 3,000 feet laterally and 2,000 feet vertically of the ship, which docked last week at the port and began treating non-COVID-19 patients. The City of Los Angeles also has city restrictions stating drones cannot be flown over the port, said Phillip Sanfield, spokesman for Los Angeles Port Police, which has the authority to enforce the regulations. And there may be harsh punishments for those who are caught, including fines of more than $1,400, confiscations and criminal charges from the United States government, which could lead to jail time, said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the FAA.

Authorities Ask For Public Tips About Man Missing From East Los Angeles
Authorities Monday made a plea for the public’s help to find a 28-year-old man last seen in East Los Angeles. Vladimir Medina was last seen March 30 about 7 p.m. near Fisher Street and North Marianna Avenue, according to Deputy Michelle Sanchez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. Medina is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds, with short black hair, a beard, and brown eyes, Sanchez said. Medina was last seen wearing a black shirt and black jeans, and he has a tattoo that says “Blanca” on his left arm and one that says “Teresa” on his chest. Authorities circulated a photo of Medina and encouraged anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Abraham or Detective Pereida at 323-890-5500. Those wishing to report anonymously can call 800-222-TIPS.

SoCal Massage Parlor Violating Order To Close, Offering Sexual Services
A FOX 11 undercover investigation has found that a local spa is still operating despite strict orders to shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, and is offering services that are sexual in nature. FOX 11’s undercover cameras staked out at Shaddai Aroma Therapy, located in the Avocado Heights neighborhood of unincorporated Los Angeles County, where men could be seen coming and going from the business day and night over a span of several days, despite having curtains drawn over the windows and a sign on the door that says “closed.” Women could also be seen leaving this business to join men in parked cars down the street before eventually returning to the business. On one of the days FOX 11 was shooting video, the sheriff’s department stopped by to knock on the door and peer inside with flashlights. 

SoCal Man Arrested For Alleged Price Gouging During Coronavirus Fears, Selling Box Of N95 Masks For $300
Baldwin Park police had received a tip about a Craigslist advertisement of N95 respirator masks for sale. The listed price for a single box of 20 masks, which are currently in short supply in hospitals across the nation during the new coronavirus pandemic: $300. Detectives wearing plain clothes and posing as buyers contacted the man behind the post and met with him on Tuesday morning at a shopping center parking lot in West Covina, police said. As a part of the ruse, the detectives exchanged the cash for the box. Then they immediately arrested the man on suspicion of price gouging during a state of emergency. Investigators also seized a stockpile of 420 additional N95 masks from the suspect, who police identified as Johnwill Baldonado, 30, of Covina. District attorneys throughout Southern California have been warning residents about price-gouging schemes that exploit the public health crisis, saying they are ready to prosecute people who resell essential items, such as certain equipment, food, fuel, or shelter at a rate 10% more than its typical market price.

Public Safety News

L.A. County Fire Announces 12 Coronavirus Cases Among Employees
Officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department announced on Tuesday that 12 of its employees have tested positive for the new coronavirus. The department issued a statement saying that 32 of its personnel were tested for COVID-19 and the 12 confirmed cases were among that group. “The Los Angeles County Fire Department continues on a daily basis to monitor our most important commodity, our employees,” said Fire Chief Daryl Osby in the statement. The statement did not disclose when the cases were confirmed nor the health condition of those affected. 

Garcetti Says Essential Employees Must Wear Face Coverings Starting Friday
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday mandated that workers in essential businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants wear face coverings due to the coronavirus outbreak, while also authorizing businesses to refuse service to customers who aren't wearing them. The mandate, which will apply to a host of businesses including hardware stores, laundromats, taxi and ride-hailing services, hotels and plumbers, will take effect Friday. Employers will be required to provide employees with the non-medical face coverings, or reimburse employees who obtain them on their own. Businesses will also be authorized to deny entry to customers who aren't wearing face coverings, he said. "These businesses that we are singling out ... must also make sure that their employees have access to a clean and sanitary restroom along with proper cleansing products like soap and sanitizer and allow their employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes," Garcetti said.

Local Government News

LA Councilmen Propose Protections For Renters During Coronavirus Outbreak
Los Angeles City Councilmen Mike Bonin and David Ryu co-introduced several proposals Tuesday, including an eviction moratorium, a sweeping freeze on rent increases and for state and federal action on rent and mortgage forgiveness during the coronavirus pandemic. "People should not be punished for doing their part and staying home in the best interest of public health," Bonin said. "We need to eliminate confusion and make very clear, no one in Los Angeles can be kicked out of their home while this crisis continues." The California Judicial Court ruled Friday to halt all eviction proceedings, but the councilmen said landlords continue to initiate them. The city's current stop on evictions only protects tenants if they've been directly affected by the coronavirus and can show proof of hardship. Tenants are still receiving "threatening letters with strong-arm offers for bad deals or new lease terms," the councilmen said. Therefore they called for a moratorium on evictions throughout the city, whether people were affected by the pandemic or not.

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: