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 14, 2020
Law Enforcement News

3 NYPD Officers Die Of COVID-19 Within Hours Of Each Other
Two more NYPD detectives and an auxiliary captain have died of coronavirus, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced Monday. Shea identified the fallen as 14-year veteran Det. Jeffrey Scalf, a former U.S. Marine assigned to the Gang Squad in the Bronx, 19-year veteran Det. Raymond Abear of the Queens Special Victims Squad and 30-year veteran Auxiliary Capt. Mohamed Rahaman of the 115th Precinct. “We are devastated by the continuing losses within our NYPD family and remain steadfast in our vow to never forget what each means to us and to all the New Yorkers we serve," Shea said in a statement. Twenty-three members of the NYPD, including four detectives and an officer, have died of coronavirus.

Officials Say 55 LAPD Employees, 17 LAFD Employees Have Now Tested Positive For The Coronavirus
Officials with the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center announced Monday that so far 55 employees with the Los Angeles Police Department and 17 members of the Los Angeles Fire Department have tested positive for the coronavirus. Those numbers are up from 49 LAPD employees and 15 city fire employees as of April 8. Of the LAPD employees, 15 have recovered and returned to full duty, one has been hospitalized and the rest are self-isolating at home, according to a city statement Monday. Eight of the fire department employees have recovered and returned to duty, according to city officials, while one is hospitalized and the rest are recovering at home.

Crime Drops Around The World As COVID-19 Keeps People Inside
The coronavirus pandemic that has crippled big-box retailers and mom and pop shops worldwide may be making a dent in illicit business, too. In Chicago, one of America’s most violent cities, drug arrests have plummeted 42% in the weeks since the city shut down, compared with the same period last year. Part of that decrease, some criminal lawyers say, is that drug dealers have no choice but to wait out the economic slump. “The feedback I’m getting is that they aren’t able to move, to sell anything anywhere,” said Joseph Lopez, a criminal lawyer in Chicago who represents reputed drug dealers. Overall, Chicago’s crime declined 10% after the pandemic struck, a trend playing out globally as cities report stunning crime drops in the weeks since measures were put into place to slow the spread of the virus. Even among regions that have the highest levels of violence outside a war zone, fewer people are being killed and fewer robberies are taking place.

Suspect Arrested In Baltimore For Century City Mall Slaying
A suspect accused of shooting and killing a 28-year-old man outside a restaurant at the Westfield Century City mall in January has been arrested in Baltimore, authorities said. Brandon Hinton, 26, was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, by FBI Fugitive Task Force agents in March. He was then extradited to Los Angeles to face murder charges, authorities said. According to multiple reports from the crime scene in January, the men began arguing inside Javier's, a busy restaurant/bar, and went outside, where Hinton allegedly pulled out a gun and fired three shots. Ryan Deshane Givens died at the hospital after suffering from several gunshot wounds, according to the Los Angeles Police Department and the coroner's office. Hinton was booked on a $4 million murder warrant and will be arraigned this week. Anyone with information, including possible additional victims, are urged to call LAPD's Operations West Bureau homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470. 

19-Year-Old Shot In South Los Angeles; Two Suspects At Large
A 19-year-old man was shot Monday afternoon in South Los Angeles, and police were looking for two suspects. The shooting was reported about 3:40 p.m. near 88th Street and McKinley Avenue in the Green Meadows area of South Los Angeles, according to a sergeant at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southeast Community Police Station. The man had stable vital signs when transported to a hospital by the Los Angeles Fire Department, the sergeant said. He said police were looking for two men in connection with the shooting, but suspect descriptions were not released. 

Man Shot During North Hills Attempted Robbery
A young man was shot and wounded during an attempted robbery as he walked in North Hills with his son, and the assailant remained at large Monday. Paramedics were sent to the 16200 block of Nordhoff Street about 8:15 p.m. Sunday. The male victim, who was about 20 to 25 years old, was walking with his son when a male suspect drove up in a dark vehicle, demanded property and shot the victim, whose name was not immediately released, according to a dispatcher at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. A relative took the wounded man to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, the dispatcher said. No arrests were reported, and no suspect information was released. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call 877-LAPD-247.

LAPD SWAT Team Called To End Barricade In Hollywood, Man Arrested
A man in his 40s armed with a knife barricaded himself inside a home in Hollywood for more than four hours Monday evening before being arrested by a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team. Officers responded to a call of a man with a knife at a home in the 5600 block of Lexington Avenue, west of Western Avenue, about 5:30 p.m. and crisis negotiators and a SWAT team was later called to the scene, according to LAPD Officer Mike Lopez. The man was taken into custody about 10 p.m., Lopez said. A news photographer at the scene said the suspect had threatened a person at the home and SWAT fired tear gas into the house to end the standoff, but police could not immediately confirm those reports. No injuries were reported, Lopez said. The suspect’s name was not disclosed.

LA City Attorney Takes On Price Gougers, Gun Lobby Amid Coronavirus Emergency
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer issued stern warnings to would-be scammers on this week's Eyewitness Newsmakers. Feuer said his office is pursuing COVID-19 fraud and scammers taking advantage of a frightened public. Feuer discussed the mayor's temporary moratorium on evictions. He said renters will still be desperate once the emergency is over, but without federal help with employment, more people will become homeless. He said the "burden of this crisis" should not fall on landlords who are small business owners who need to pay mortgages. "All of us are struggling, everybody feels vulnerable, and everybody has a lot to lose," he said. The city attorney expected the week to begin with another court challenge to the mayor's order closing all nonessential businesses, including gun sales. Feuer said gun advocates are seeking an emergency order in state court on behalf of a Los Angeles seller.

Crime Down In L.A. County, But Steep Drop In Reports Of Child Abuse Is A Concern, Sheriff Says
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has seen crime rates plummet as more people stay inside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a significant decline in child abuse reports has become a concern. In a news conference on Monday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said compared to this time last year, violent crimes in unincorporated L.A. County and cities patrolled by the department are down 9.26%. That includes a 31.25% drop in homicides and a 34.85% decrease in reported rapes. Property crimes are also down by 15.47%, and calls for service dropped by 12.17%. Since March 29, there have been 19 citations related to COVID-19 health orders, mostly for businesses such as bars that have not followed orders to shut down. The arrest of a paddle boarder at Malibu Pier for ignoring a lifeguard’s order to get out of the water remains the only arrest so far, Villanueva said. Most people are complying with county rules that they wear facial coverings while inside grocery stores and other essential businesses, Villanueva said, adding that warnings are usually enough.

CHP: More People Speeding While Californians Remain Under ‘Stay-At-Home' Orders During COVID-19 Crisis
Law enforcement is reporting a higher number of speeders while Californians remain under "stay-at-home" orders. The California Highway Patrol reports the number of people ticketed for driving more than 100 MPH has gone up 25% year to year. Speeding tickets in excess of 100 MPH was reported at 418 in March of 2019 compared to 543 in March of 2020. "Due to the stay-at-home orders we are seeing a decrease in traffic and unfortunately some drivers are taking advantage of that and speeding on our freeways," said Officer Amber Wright with the California Highway Patrol Southern Division. Wright went on to say the average commute time in the Los Angeles area has been cut in half. Speeding tickets of over 100 MPH can result in loss of license and large fines.

Fake Cures, Scams, Phony Medications And Price Gouging: Predators Pounce During Coronavirus
Three weeks ago, Lorina’s cellphone rang. Seeing it was a local call, the 61-year-old Riverside resident picked up. A woman’s voice said she was working with Medicare, the national health insurance program, to distribute tests for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. All she needed, the woman said, was Lorina’s name, address and Social Security and Medicare information. “And stupid me, I gave it to her,” Lorina, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, said in an interview. So goes one of the many frauds local and federal authorities say have emerged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, feeding off the fear and confusion bred by the virus and its lack of a cure or vaccine. They range in perniciousness, from purveyors of unorthodox medical treatments who pivoted to hawking remedies for COVID-19, to sophisticated Medicare scammers, identity thieves and fraudsters who are soliciting investment in coronavirus treatments that don’t exist or aren’t recognized by government scientists.

Public Safety News

Body Of Possible Electrocution Victim Found After Garage Fire In Sunland
The body of a 40-year-old man who may have been electrocuted was found Monday afternoon after fire crews extinguished a blaze in the detached garage of a Sunland condominium. A 16-year-old boy was also hurt, though it was not immediately clear how he was injured. He was taken to a hospital in fair condition, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Twenty-eight firefighters were dispatched to the 8700 block of West Wyngate Street, near Newhome Avenue, at 2:04 p.m. on a report of an electrocution, according to Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. While they were on their way to the scene, the call was upgraded to a structure fire response. The as-yet unidentified man's body was found in the garage when the flames were extinguished at 2:23 p.m., she said. The cause of death will be determined by the coroner's office.

New Coronavirus Testing Site To Open Tuesday In South L.A., Garcetti Says
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new walk-in testing site in South L.A. and a campaign to help impoverished Angelenos during his coronavirus briefing Monday. The address came after health officials reported 9,420 cases of the virus with 320 deaths across L.A. County. In the city of L.A., 113 new cases were reported Monday, raising the total to 4,205, Garcetti said. The cases include 55 Los Angeles police employees and 17 members of the L.A. Fire Department. The agencies each have one member who is hospitalized, while 15 police employees and eight fire employees have recovered and returned to work. The remaining workers remain isolated at home. After expanding its offerings of drive-thru testing sites, officials are now working to better serve those without cars. The county’s first walk-in testing site opened a few weeks ago at Carbon Health in Echo Park, and a second will open Tuesday at Kedren Community Health Center in Historic South-Central, Garcetti said.

L.A. County Coronavirus Deaths Reach 320 On A Day When Lowest Number Of New Cases Is Reported
Los Angeles County health officials on Monday confirmed 25 new coronavirus-linked deaths, bringing the county’s total number of fatalities to 320 and marking an increase in the mortality rate in Southern California as city and county leaders continued to warn against prematurely ending shelter-in-place orders. Despite the rise in deaths, the county reported only 239 new cases of the virus, the lowest number since March 26. But the county’s mortality rate also jumped over the weekend, rising from 2.8% on Friday to 3.4% on Monday. “The number jumps because people are sick for a long period of time before death,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s public health department. She noted that New York’s mortality rate — like L.A.’s — has increased while the state’s case count has decreased, probably for that same reason. Roughly 1,059 people in L.A. County are hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 18% are in intensive care and 15% of those patients are on ventilators.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing Ramps Up In California
When infected with a virus or other pathogen, our immune system makes proteins, called antibodies, to fight off the infection. Scientists and health officials say newly authorized blood tests for COVID-19 antibodies may be key to tracking the spread of the virus and figuring out who could return to work. A growing number of academic and private labs in California have begun running blood — or serological — tests for COVID-19 antibodies, including Stanford University in the Bay Area and USC in conjunction with the LA County Department of Public Health. Unlike nasal swab tests that detect who currently has the virus, antibody tests can capture those who already had it, but were asymptomatic or couldn’t get tested due to criteria or supply problems. "That will give a lot more information about penetrance in the community," said Spenser Smith, lab director at ARCpoint Labs of Monterey. The small, private lab began running the skin prick test last week to frontline health workers and other first responders.

California To Ease Restrictions On Stay-At-Home Guidelines
California Governor Gavin Newsom was expected to release details of easing stay-at-home guidelines Tuesday. “We just sent out a joint statement of a shared vision for a process and protocol a framework for reopening,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday. He is teaming up with a coalition West Coast Governors From Oregon and Washington to lay out that framework on Tuesday. In normally busy downtown Glendale stores remain closed, some were even boarded up as residents anticipated a return to normal. “We have to be really careful. I’m not running back,” said Glendale Resident Martina Schmidt. Most experts agree a staggered and slow return is best. We asked Tarzana Internal Medicine Dr. Michael Hirt who has treated dozens of COVID-19 patients when he thinks the state should reopen: “California, in my opinion, is ready today to start opening back up,” said Hirt.

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: