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 23, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Kentucky Deputy Killed In On-Duty Car Crash
A Kentucky deputy has died after crashing his vehicle into the base of a bridge on a parkway, authorities said. Kentucky State Police said the single-car crash happened before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on the Western Kentucky Parkway near mile marker 43, news outlets reported. Police said Hopkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Vick, 43, was driving eastbound on the parkway when his vehicle crossed the median and struck a concrete abutment before coming to a stop. Vick was pronounced dead the scene. Police said it’s unclear how Vick lost control of the vehicle. Hopkins County officials said Vick was the School Resource Officer at Hanson Elementary. “What I would like to do is to make sure we keep his family in our thoughts and prayers. They’re going through a hard time right now,” Trooper Rob Austin with Kentucky State Police said.

5 More LAPD Employees Test Positive For COVID-19 Bringing Total To 71
Five additional Los Angeles Police Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 71. As of Wednesday, 25 LAPD employees have recovered and returned to work, and one remains hospitalized, according to Emergency Operations Center’s Jessica Kellogg. The number of Los Angeles Fire Department employees who have tested positive for the virus remained at 20 Wednesday, Kellogg reported. Fourteen LAFD employees have recovered and returned to work, and none are hospitalized.

Man’s Body Found In Trash Can Behind Business Near Crenshaw District
A man’s body was found Wednesday in a trash can behind a business in the unincorporated Windsor Hills area, near the Crenshaw district. The body was found about 12:05 p.m. in the 3600 block of Slauson Avenue, four blocks from Crenshaw Boulevard, by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Deputy James Nagao of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The location was determined to be an unincorporated area, and deputies with the sheriff’s Marina Del Rey Station took over the investigation, Nagao said. No further information was released, and the man was not immediately identified. Anyone with information about the case was encouraged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Street Racers Are Taking Over Roads Emptied By Coronavirus, With Fatal Results
For the past month, the novel coronavirus has turned normally bustling locales and highways across Los Angeles into yawning, vacant stretches that might be unsettling to some. The usual mess of costumed characters and tourists dotting the Walk of Fame is nowhere to be found. The parking-lot-like stretch of the 405 Freeway that traps thousands on daily rush-hour commutes is flowing freely during the day. But where some see emptiness, others see a speedway. In recent weeks, police across California say street racers have been quick to turn the state’s cleared-out roadways into their own personal playgrounds. From Southern California to the Bay Area, racers have been challenging one another at dangerous speeds on surface streets or rushing intersections to perform burnouts and other dangerous vehicle stunts, investigators say.

Driver Leads LAPD On Pursuit That Somehow Causes Traffic Jam, Despite Safer-At-Home Order
A police pursuit that ended Wednesday on the 91 Freeway caused a massive traffic jam near Cherry Avenue, reminding drivers of what life in the region was like before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the majority of businesses more than a month ago. A man wanted on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon led police on a chase that lasted for more than an hour, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. About 20 police SUVs and other law enforcement vehicles could be seen parked about 4 p.m. on the freeway behind the blue Chrysler 300, which was out of commission after multiple crashes. Authorities closed traffic on both sides of the 91 Freeway near the Cherry Avenue exit, causing traffic to back up for more than a mile, all the way to the 710 Freeway, according to reports from KNBC-TV Channel 4.

Ex-Hospital Worker Charged With Stealing Medication At UCLA Medical Center
A former hospital pharmacy technician is set to be arraigned Wednesday on charges that he stole anti-malaria tablets that had been touted by President Donald Trump as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. Christopher Mencias Agustin of Torrance, 35, is accused of entering his workplace at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on two separate occasions to steal prescription drugs, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. More than 700 tablets of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin -- valued at about $6,700 -- were taken, according to the District Attorney's Office. Agustin is charged with two felony counts of burglary during an emergency and one felony count of concealing or withholding stolen property exceeding $950, and could face up to four years and four months in jail if convicted as charged, according to prosecutors.

2nd Search Warrant This Year Served At San Pedro Home Of ‘Person Of Interest’ In Kristin Smart Cold Case
Investigators returned to San Pedro on Wednesday to serve another search warrant at the the home of Paul Flores, the man identified as a person of interest in the 1996 disappearance and unsolved death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart. It’s the second time this year that authorities have searched Flores’ home in connection with the high-profile missing person’s case. On Feb. 5, the residence was was one of four locations in California and Washington where warrants were served, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. The latest search warrant is “for specific items of evidence” at the house, the release stated. Authorities said they could not provide any additional information about the search warrant because, like the ones served in February, it is sealed by the court.

2 men rearrested shortly after being freed from jail under California’s zero bail order
Two men who were released from jails in California because of the coronavirus outbreak were rearrested and accused of committing crimes shortly after being freed, authorities said. Thousands of inmates have been released from county jails throughout California under an April 13 emergency order by the state Judicial Council cutting bail to zero for those charged with low-level offenses. The order aimed to combat the potential spread of the coronavirus within packed lockups.

Tickets For Speeding In Excess Of 100 MPH Surge 87% Amid Coronavirus Shutdown, CHP Says
With freeway traffic down significantly because of the statewide stay-at-home order, the California Highway Patrol said Wednesday there has been an alarming 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph. The CHP’s message to motorists: Slow down. In the month after the start of the stay-at-home order March 19, the CHP issued 2,493 tickets throughout California for speeding more than 100 mph. Officers wrote 1,335 tickets for that offense during the same period last year. One motorist was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving and driving without a license after officers clocked him going 165 mph in a Cheverolet Camaro on Interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano, an official said. Caltrans officials believe the increase in speeding is connected to a reduction in traffic volume on state roads, which has declined by about 35% compared with this time last year.

Public Safety News

Asymptomatic Essential Workers In L.A. Can Get Tested For Coronavirus Starting Thursday, Mayor Says
Beginning Thursday, coronavirus testing will be available to critical workers in L.A., whether or not they have symptoms, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. That will allow health care professionals, grocery store and pharmacy workers, first responders and critical government personnel to determine whether they are unknowingly spreading the virus, Garcetti said during Wednesday’s briefing on the city’s outbreak response. “We wish we could open that up to everybody,” he said, adding that for now the goal is to ensure essential workers “have the peace of mind of knowing they’re healthy, and because they interact with so many people, that we can make sure that they’re not spreading.” Essential workers should contact their employer on how to get priority testing, Garcetti said.

Los Angeles County Coronavirus Cases Rise To 16,435, Death Count Up To 729
Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported 1,318 new coronavirus cases and 66 more deaths, bringing the totals to 16,435 cases and 729 deaths. Of the newly reported deaths, 48 were individuals over the age of 65, 38 of which had underlying health conditions. Thirteen individuals were between the ages of 41 and 65, nine of which had underlying health conditions. Two individuals with underlying health conditions who died were between the ages of 18 and 40. The data on the remaining three cases was not immediately available. The county's Public Health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said that 89% of those who have died from COVID-19 in the county had underlying health conditions. "This underscores the need for all of us to do the best job possible for those who are most at-risk," she said. To date, more than 90,000 county residents have been tested for the virus, with approximately a 15% positive rate, according to Public Health.

California Records Its Deadliest Day So Far With 118 Deaths From Coronavirus
California recorded its highest number of deaths in a day since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to data collected by The Chronicle. A record 118 people were reported to have died from the virus in California on Wednesday, according to data from each of the state’s 58 counties. The record-breaking day comes just five days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state recorded its previous highest daily number of deaths, at 95. State public health officials and Newsom’s office could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening. Wednesday also marked the start of counties across the Bay Area enforcing orders for residents to wear face coverings while in some public settings in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus — which had killed 239 people in the Bay Area and 1,434 people in California as of Wednesday evening. There are 37,704 confirmed coronavirus cases in California.

Local Government News

LA City Council Unanimously Approves Rent Assistance Program For Low-Income Residents
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to bring back a rent assistance program to help low-income renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Renters' Assistance Program is aimed at providing additional assistance beyond protections already in place. The program will be for families and individuals who will struggle in the first few months to catch up on payments. All renters affected by COVID-19 are already protected by the city's eviction moratorium that gives renters 90 days after the emergency declaration ends to repay rent. Council President Nury Martinez has dedicated $1 million from her discretionary funds as seed money and Councilman Herb Wesson put in $150,000. Martinez hopes the program will gain the support of her colleagues to provide financial assistance to families that need it the most.

Effort To Broaden LA’s Ban On Evictions Amid Coronavirus Crisis Fails In Close City Council Vote
A bid by some Los Angeles leaders to enact a blanket ban on evictions during the novel coronvirus crisis failed on a 6-7 vote on Wednesday, April 22, held toward the end of a nearly nine-hour meeting in which the council adopted other measures aimed at providing protections to workers and relief to Angelenos. Many of the members were swayed by the city attorney’s advice that such a sweeping ban would put the city at odds with state law, although an outside legal analysis touted by the proponents contended there was no conflict. “The liabilities here are very real … if we go beyond our legal power to do these kinds of things,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield. He added that “we need to do everything we can for renters, but we need to understand what our limits are as a municipal government.”

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: