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

May 18, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Pennsylvania Inmate Set To Die For Ambush, Killing Of State Police Corporal
An execution date has been set for convicted cop killer Eric Matthew Frein, but the execution is unlikely to occur next month as scheduled. State Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel set June 22 as the day of Frein’s execution. However, Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on executions in February 2015, and Frein’s attorneys intend to seek a stay of execution. Frein, 37, has been on death row since his conviction in 2017 for the murder of state police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and the attempted murder of Trooper Alex Douglass. Frein ambushed the troopers outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, 2014. He managed to elude police for weeks before he was captured 48 days later outside an abandoned airport hangar in Pocono Twp. A jury found Frein guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in April 2017, and a judge sentenced him to death soon after.

Video: LEOs Attacked With Bar Stools, Glass Bottles After Arrest At Block Party
A weekend block party that had an estimated 3,000 people in DeLand was broken up by police and sheriff’s deputies resulting in some arrests that drew the ire of some of the attendees. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released video of the chase and take down of a suspect during authorities’ efforts to disperse the crowd late Saturday and early Sunday morning. The sheriff’s office said the gathering drew thousands and was uneventful during the daytime as both sheriff’s deputies and DeLand Police were on scene. At night, though, several incidents took place. One incident the sheriff’s office said can be seen in the video was the arrest of a suspect after deputies witnessed a loaded gun being handed off from one convicted felon to another. Response to the arrest showed surrounding crowds, and in the aftermath, officers and deputies endured attacks using bottles, jars and bar stools as weapons or projectiles.

California’s Prisons And Jails Have Emptied Thousands Into A World Changed By Coronavirus
In short order, the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a sweeping and historic emptying of California’s overcrowded prisons and jails, as officials have dramatically lowered the number of people held in custody to avert deadly outbreaks. State data show California’s prisons have released about 3,500 inmates while the daily jail population across 58 counties is down by 20,000 from late February. The exodus is having a profound and still-evolving effect: Those leaving custody enter a vastly different world in which a collapsed economy, scant job opportunities and the closure of many government offices have compounded the challenges of getting lives back on track. Reentry programs are struggling to meet the deluge of incoming inmates as the disease has forced them to close shelters and serve fewer people. “People are continuously getting out. … Where are those folks going?” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians For Safety & Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform group. “Seventy-five percent of people getting out of prison right now have no plan. Nowhere to go.”

LAPD Wants To Give Rapid-Result Coronavirus Tests To Everyone It Arrests
The Los Angeles Police Department wants to give a rapid-result test to everyone its officers arrest to check for the coronavirus and is pushing city officials to secure the equipment to do so. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the Police Department’s civilian oversight body that he has asked City Hall to secure a rapid-result testing system capable of determining within 15 minutes whether people are infected with the coronavirus. Such systems exist, though their accuracy has been questioned. Right now, jails are testing all new arrivals, but results take days to come back, Moore said. The delayed results give the department a “backwards look” at exposure, but rapid-result testing would provide real-time data that could help the department isolate sick detainees, keep others incarcerated in local jails safe and quickly alert officers to any potential exposure, Moore said.

Man Stabbed To Death On Venice Boardwalk, Suspect At Large
A man was fatally stabbed when an argument turned violent on the Venice boardwalk, and the suspect was last seen leaving the location on a bicycle, police said Sunday. At about 8:50 p.m. Saturday the suspect and victim were involved in an argument near Westminster Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, when the suspect stabbed the man and fled the location on a bicycle, said Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section. The suspect rode the bike northbound from the location, according to sources at the scene. The victim was taken to an area hospital and died from his injuries, said Cervantes, adding that she had no other immediate information.

Two Hit-And-Run Vehicles Strike Pedestrian In South Los Angeles
A homeless man killed in a double hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles was identified Saturday. The coroner's office reported that 67-year-old Richard Hernandez Hernandez died at the scene after he was hit by two vehicles shortly before 4 a.m. Wednesday on Main Street at 47th Place, according to the LAPD. A white 2005- to 2010-model Honda sedan was traveling northbound on Main Street when it struck the man, who was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, said LAPD Detective Jose De Leon. "The pedestrian was then struck by another unknown type of vehicle traveling southbound on Main Street," De Leon said. "Both drivers fled the scene." A standing reward of up to $50,000 was authorized by the Los Angeles City Council in 2015 for information that helps authorities solve fatal hit-and- run cases.

LAPD Arrests Suspected Hit-and-Run Driver In Fatal Crash Near Downtown
A 59-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday in the hit-and-run death of a man earlier this month near downtown Los Angeles. Maria Perez of Bell Gardens was taken into custody at about 2 a.m. in the vicinity of Gladys Avenue and Sixth Street, the LAPD reported. According to police, a sergeant spotted Perez's 2005 Scion xB which matched the description of the car that fatally struck 51-year-old Byern Smith about 1:50 a.m. on May 7 as he was walking in the 1600 block of East Seventh Street, police said. Perez initially got out of her car but then allegedly fled the scene of the crash and did not attempt to identify herself or render aid to Smith, police said. LAPD's Central Division officers stopped Perez and took her into custody. She was booked on felony hit-and-run, a second unspecified felony charge, and three outstanding misdemeanor warrants, the LAPD reported. Perez is being held on $100,000 bail, according to jail records.

Raging House Party Amid Coronavirus Ends When Man Shoots Himself In The Groin, Police Say
Larger gatherings are still prohibited under strict coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
But that didn’t stop a raging house party Saturday night in the Hollywood Hills that ended when, police say, a man accidentally shot himself in the groin. Officers received a complaint of a loud party at 1410 Miller Drive at about 11 p.m., said Los Angeles Police Lt. Mark Chong. When they responded, they found that more than 100 people were gathered at a short-term-rental property that appeared to have been reserved for the occasion, he said. The officers heard a single gunshot and called for backup units, Chong said. An investigation revealed that a man had been shot in his groin area. The wound is believed to have been accidentally self-inflicted. The man was taken to a hospital. His injuries were not life-threatening, Chong said. Police were continuing to investigate the incident.

LAPD Sounds Alarm As Deadly Crashes Increase On Southern California Roadways
Fewer cars on the road are leading to an increase in speeds, and that's a deadly combination according to law enforcement. The LAPD is sounding the alarm about an uptick in deadly crashes on our Southern California roadways. It's apparently a consequence of the lockdown. Speeders taking advantage of empty roads, but the results can be fatal. "Our Message this morning is very simple: we need to slow down," said Capt. John Pinto of the LAPD South Traffic Division. LAPD officers say they've responded to too many crashes this month, marking a spike in traffic fatalities compared to this time last year. "As we progressed through this COVID pandemic and we've kind of relaxed the stay-at-home orders and the businesses have opened, the traffic on the streets of Los Angeles has increased," said Deputy Chief Blake Chow of LAPD's Transit Services Bureau.

Authorities Seeking Public Help To Find Woman Last Seen In Koreatown
Authorities were seeking public help to find a woman who went missing in the Koreatown area nearly two weeks ago. Melissa Barrios, 30, was last seen May 1 about 10:20 a.m. near the 900 block of Menlo Avenue, according to Los Angeles police. Barrios is Hispanic. She stands 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs about 180 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. Barrios was last seen wearing dark clothing. Anyone with information on her whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800, 877-LAPD-24-7 or 911. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

Public Safety News

12 Firefighters Hurt After Explosion, Fire In Downtown Los Angeles
Twelve firefighters were injured in a fire and explosion in the Toy District of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening. As of Sunday afternoon, three have been discharged and eight remain hospitalized. The incident began with a fire that was first reported around 6:26 p.m. on Saturday. As firefighters were responding to the blaze inside the building at 327 East Boyd Street, the site of a butane honey oil supplier called Smoke Tokes, there was a “significant explosion,” said LAFD Captain Erik Scott. “After the explosion, the fire absolutely intensified and it shot out 30 feet like a blowtorch right in the path of egress,” Scott said. The injured firefighters were transported to County USC Medical Center to be treated for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.

‘Things Didn’t Seem Right’: Quick Thinking Of L.A. Fire Captains May Have Saved Lives
In four swift minutes, firefighters from Los Angeles City Fire Station 9 in Skid Row hopped into their trucks and engines and dashed about half-a-mile to a smoke shop that was burning from the inside. Labeled “Incident #1073,” Saturday’s 6:26 p.m. call to 327 E. Boyd Street in downtown Los Angeles had firefighters working in what was a routine offensive stance, said Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas, who spoke with members of Station 9 and described the details of the call. Smoke rose from the shop, which hugged a series of other commercial buildings. The crew wanted to smother the heart of the fire, which appeared to burn deep into the structure. Several firefighters perched on a ladder suspended above the building to spray water onto the roof. The others pried open the shop’s steel doors, and with a hose in hand, walked into the smoke.

Number Of Coronavirus Deaths In L.A. County Climbs To 1,793
The number of coronavirus-related deaths climbed to 1,793 in Los Angeles County Saturday. The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported 40 new COVID-19 deaths and another 1,073 people who have tested positive for the virus, bringing the county’s total to 37,303 cases. The majority of those who died most recently were over age 65, and most had underlying health conditions. So far, 92% of all L.A. County residents who have died of COVID-19 have had underlying health conditions, according to the health department. The department is tracking percent change in seven-day periods for the number of COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, bed and ventilator capacities across the county, supplies of personal protective equipment for health care workers and testing capacity. These metrics will help guide decisions on reopening the county, the county’s public health director Barbara Ferrer has said.

Local Government News

L.A. City Council Approves Plans To Turn Developer Fees Into Emergency Arts Grants
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved two motions this week that will take arts fees paid by developers in support of now-canceled or planned cultural events and instead make the money available as small-dollar grants to artists, arts organizations and live performance spaces that have been economically devastated by the pandemic.
One motion approved Wednesday, introduced by Councilman David Ryu of District 4 late last month, will allow the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to reallocate $368,810 in arts development funding designated for Ryu’s district to support artists and nonprofit arts organizations in the district. The City Council also approved an additional $181,663 in District 4 funds so that the program could be replicated in other districts.

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: