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 17, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Slain Indiana Officer Remembered As Compassionate, Devoted To Community And Family
An Indianapolis police officer who was fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call was remembered Thursday during her funeral as a dedicated, compassionate officer and a devoted young mother, with a police chaplain calling her “a beautiful flower that was picked way too soon.” Numerous speakers, including Gov. Eric Holcomb, spoke during the service for Officer Breann “Bre” Leath, 24, which was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in adherence with pandemic social distancing rules that limited Leath’s family and guests to no more than 10 people per speedway suite. Hundreds of police cars lined the track as officers watched a livestream of the service on cellphones and laptops.

Wisconsin Man Charged With Attempted Murder After Ambushing Officer In Department's Parking Lot
A 49-year-old Kaukauna man accused of attacking an Appleton police officer with a knife in the police department's parking lot faces multiple charges, including attempted homicide. Troy VanGrinsven has been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, battery to a police officer and resisting a police officer, according to a criminal complaint filed against him Wednesday in Outagamie County. The incident began shortly after 2 a.m. March 31, when an Appleton police officer noticed a vehicle behind him that, even after a series of turns, seemed to be intentionally following him. The driver of the vehicle didn't attempt to signal the officer "as if the driver was in some sort of distress," which made the officer concerned about a potential ambush situation, the complaint says.

LAFD, LAPD Each Report Additional Case Of Coronavirus
The Los Angeles Police Department Thursday reported one more employee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 58. The department said 21 of the employees have recovered and returned to full duty, two were hospitalized and the remaining 35 were self-isolating at home and recovering. The Los Angeles Fire Department also reported one new confirmed case of COVID-19, bringing the department’s total to 20. Nine LAFD employees have recovered and returned to duty. The remaining 11 were self-isolating at home and recovering.

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Killing Hollywood Marriage, Sex Therapist
An ex-boyfriend accused of killing marriage and sex therapist Amie Harwick, who was thrown from the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood Hills home, pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges. Gareth Pursehouse, 41, is charged with one count each of murder and first-degree residential burglary in connection with the 38-year-old woman’s Feb. 15 death. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office determined that Harwick’s death was caused by blunt-force injuries to her head and upper body and found evidence that she had been choked. Harwick, once engaged to comedian and “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey, was killed at her home in the 2000 block of Mound Street.

Porch Pirate Follows Delivery Truck Through LA Neighborhood, Swipes Packages
Detectives are searching for a man who followed behind a delivery truck while it made its way through the Melrose District of Los Angeles this past weekend in order to steal packages as they were being dropped off, a form of theft which police say is becoming more common amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to Los Angeles police, on Saturday, April 11, the suspect was captured on video following behind the delivery truck in a 1990s-model Mercury Mountaineer SUV. The suspect then removed several packages after they were dropped off. Surveillance photos of the suspect have been released. He is described as white or Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, 5-foot-10 and 200 to 220 pounds. Anyone with information on his identity should call LAPD detectives at 213-922-8251.

California Police Arrest 3 For Stealing 31 Rolls Of Toilet Paper
California police say three "dingle berries" were arrested Monday for allegedly stealing 31 rolls of toilet paper from a hotel. Police say the bust started when an officer drove past an unoccupied vehicle in a shopping center parking lot in Port Hueneme, about 60 miles west of Los Angeles. The officer saw an open container of alcohol in the front of the vehicle and found the people riding in it. Officers proceeded to search the vehicle, where police say they hit the mother lode. In the back seat, police found 31 rolls of toilet paper, 31 towels, four sets of bed sheets and 27 boxes of tissue. Investigators say the items were taken from a maid’s cart at a local hotel. “While they thought they’d make a clean getaway, we did confirm they didn’t leave any skid marks when they fled the crime scene,” a department Facebook post says. “This was an all-you-can carry theft; outright toilet paper purloining; the kind of larceny that requires commitment.”

CHP Pulls Over 460 Speeding SoCal Drivers Over 3 Hours On Nearly Empty 5 Freeway
A speeding enforcement operation spanning the 5 Freeway from Kern County to the Mexico border nabbed hundreds of offenders Wednesday, according to the California Highway Patrol. Officers from 10 Southern California stations patrolled the freeway from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., searching for motorists taking advantage of light traffic during statewide coronavirus restrictions, the CHP’s Santa Ana office said in a Facebook post. A total of 356 speeding citations were handed out, as well as 94 verbal and written warnings, officials said. Fourteen of the offenders were traveling in excess of 100 mph, while the fastest was clocked at 119 mph in the Oceanside division, CHP said. “As California motorists continue to see near-empty freeways, many find it easy to exceed the speed limit,” the Santa Ana office wrote. “However, speeding greatly increases the risk of causing a crash that results in serious injury or death.”

Public Safety News

North Hollywood Dollar Store Engulfed In Greater-Alarm Blaze
No one was hurt after a dollar store in North Hollywood was completely destroyed in a greater-alarm blaze which erupted in the early morning hours Thursday. The fire was reported at 1 a.m. at Dollar Deluxe, located in the 12000 block of West Victory Boulevard. Los Angeles Fire Department crews arrived on scene to find heavy flames. Because of concerns over the structural integrity of the building, crews were forced to take a defensive position, the fire department said. At one point, the roof of the building appeared to have caved in. It took about one hour for crews to contain the bulk of the fire, but they had to contend with flare-ups in areas of the building that were difficult to reach for several hours after that. There were no injuries.

LAFD Offering Remote Medical Help To 911 Callers In Effort To Limit Virus Exposure, Ease Hospital Crowding
The Los Angeles Fire Department has rolled out a feature allowing 911 callers to video chat with physicians and nurses to resolve medical issues remotely. LAFD has been developing the telemedicine program for two years and “accelerated” its launch to last week to help mitigate coronavirus exposure, Chief Ralph Terrazas said Thursday. Physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants in LAFD’s dispatch center will help screen callers and offer services through a “FaceTime-like platform,” Terrazas said. The program is meant to ease emergency room overcrowding and decrease potential exposure to the virus for first responders, hospital staff and patients who can be treated from home. So far, 19 LAFD employees have tested postitive for coronavirus, but a spike in cases could create a crisis for the city’s emergency response, according to the chief. The program “maintains a high level of medical care, as well as preserves our valuable (emergency medical service) resources,” he said. “This is a great addition in terms of having a tool to deal with this pandemic.”

Mayor Garcetti Outlines How City Will Determine When To Scale Back LA ‘Safer-At-Home' Orders
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spelled out some of the factors the city will be using to determine when to start scaling back public health restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. Garcetti has already extended the city's "safer-at-home" orders to May 15. But he didn't specify what might happen after that date, and whether any of those restrictions will be lifted at that time. The mayor spoke as the city and Los Angeles County continue to see a spike in new COVID-19 cases and deaths. The county announced 472 new cases on Wednesday, 245 of them in the city. The county also announced 42 new deaths. The county has now seen a total of 10,496 confirmed cases and 402 deaths. Garcetti has already said he doesn't expect to allow large gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts with fans in attendance until 2021. He announced five pillars that will be evaluated as part of the city's decision to beginning easing restrictions.

55 Coronavirus Deaths In L.A. County Is A New One-Day High: ‘Devastating Power Of COVID-19'
Coronavirus-linked fatalities hit another one-day high in Los Angeles County on Thursday as health officials confirmed 55 additional deaths. The latest update — marking the third straight day the county has seen a record number of deaths — brought the county’s total to 455 and demonstrates “the devastating power of COVID-19,” Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer said. The county’s mortality rate now stands at 4.2%, she added. Of the latest victims, 43 were over the age of 65 and 39 of those had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Nine were between 41 and 65, and all had underlying health conditions, she added. In total, Ferrer said, 88% of those who have died as a result of COVID-19 had other health problems. That underscores “the need for all of us to work together to make it possible for those who have underlying health issues to remain in their homes,” she said.

Local Government News

Grim Outlook: Los Angeles Mayor Forecasts No Large Gatherings Until 2021
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday he doesn't foresee large gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, happening in the city until 2021, as the region continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands any time soon, so I think we should all be prepared for that this year,'' Garcetti told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I think we all have never wanted science to work so quickly, but until there's either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention or herd immunity, the science is the science. Public health officials have been very clear: We've got many miles to walk before we're going to be back in those environments,'' he added. But I can hope we can perhaps watch sporting events without audiences on TV ... listen to concerts as we've been doing.'' 

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: