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

November 20, 2020
Law Enforcement News

LAPD To Disband Homeless Outreach, Sexual Assault, Animal Cruelty Units Due To City's ‘Fiscal Emergency'
It's no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has caused financial fallouts across the world. For the city of Los Angeles, it has caused a "fiscal emergency," according to the city's police department. FOX 11's Bill Melugin obtained a memo sent out to Los Angeles Police Department's employees notifying them that a handful of LAPD's units will be cut due to the city's financial fallout. According to the memo sent out by deputy chief of staff Dominic Choi, LAPD had to make these cuts in order to "sustain essential patrol operations." The memo states the following units will be disbanded: Safer Cities Initiative, Mission area, Sexual Assault Special Section, Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement (HOPE), Burglary Special Section and Cargo Auto Theft Detail, Commercial Crimes Division and Animal Cruelty Task Force, Detective Support and Vice Division. Choi also said in the memo the following divisions and Details will be downsized: Hollywood Entertainment Detail (HED), Pacific Area Beach Detail, University Park Task Force, SW Division, Robbery Homicide Division, Commercial Crimes Division, Metropolitan Division, Traffic Group and Labor Relations Unit. The memo did not specify when the cuts and downsizing will go into effect.

Victim Of Hate Crime Receives New Car Thanks To LAPD Officers
The victim of a terrible hate crime got an early Christmas present thanks to some LAPD officers and a local car dealer. An elderly woman living in LAPD’s Hollenbeck division was victimized by five gang members who called her vicious racial names and then destroyed her car. After the officers arrested the suspect they knew more work had to be done. So the officers partnered with East LA Auto Sales, Badge of Heart and Los Angeles Police Protective League to get the victim a brand new car. They presented the woman with a brand new shiny car and of course it had a giant bow on top. 

Body Of Missing Jefferson Park Man Recovered Near Barstow, 2 Arrested
The body of a missing Jefferson Park man has been found, the Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday. Juan Hernandez, 21, was reporting missing by his family Sept. 22 after not returning home from work. On Sunday, human remains were discovered in a shallow grave along Afton Canyon Road east of Interstate 15 — north of Barstow. The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene and confirmed the remains were of Hernandez. On Thursday, police arrested 27-year-old Ethan Astaphan and 20-year-old Sonita Heng on suspicion of murder in connection with Hernandez’s death. Anyone with information was asked to call detectives Jaramillo and Hammer at 213-486-6840.

Feds Charge Hollywood Man After Drone Collides With LAPD Helicopter
FBI agents have arrested a Hollywood man, accusing him of recklessly operating a drone and crashing it into a LAPD helicopter earlier this year. The collision damaged the chopper’s fuselage and required the LAPD pilot to make an emergency landing following the September encounter. The drone, which authorities say was operated by Andrew Rene Hernandez, then tumbled from the sky and crashed into a vehicle. Hernandez, 22, was arrested Thursday and charged with unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft after an investigation by the FBI, the LAPD and the Federal Aviation Administration. The potentially deadly collision occurred Sept. 18 after Los Angeles police officers responding to a predawn burglary call at a Hollywood pharmacy requested air support. As the LAPD helicopter flew toward to the scene, the pilot spotted a drone and attempted to avoid the unmanned aircraft, according to federal prosecutors. Despite the evasive maneuver, the drone stuck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.

Bicyclist Fatally Struck In South L.A. Hit-and-Run Crash
A bicyclist was fatally struck in a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles and authorities are asking for the public’s help identifying the driver. The collision occurred about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday along Main Street just north of 120th Street in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver of a dark-colored sedan was heading north on Main when he or she crashed into the bicyclist and did not stop to the help the victim, police said. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics who responded to the scene took the victim to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The victim was described only as being male. No further details about the crash or the suspect vehicle were released Thursday. Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Flannery or Officer Mitchell at 323-421-2500.

Pedestrian Killed By Hit-and-Run Driver In Van Nuys
A pedestrian was struck and killed on Thursday evening by a vehicle whose driver fled the scene in a residential area of Van Nuys. The collision occurred at about 7:15 p.m. in the area of Natick Avenue and Burbank Boulevard, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer William Cooper. A description of the vehicle was not available. Detectives remained at the scene at 9:10 p.m., but further information was not immediately released. 

$25,000 Reward For Two Women Who Fled Crash Scene Leaving Driver Severely Injured
Authorities sought the public's help Thursday to identify two women who fled in another car after the Mercedes-Benz they were in was involved in a crash that severely injured another driver and did not identify themselves or render aid. The crash occurred at 12:02 a.m. Wednesday, when a green 1999 Honda Civic, which was “involved in a speed contest” in the 100 block of North Myers Street, crashed into a gray 2006 Mercedes-Benz that was making a left turn, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver of the Honda suffered severe injuries, and footage from the scene shows multiple witnesses running up to the vehicle to help. A black Dodge Charger approached the scene, and the female driver and passenger of the Mercedes-Benz got into the vehicle and fled the scene, according to police. Descriptions of the women were not available.

Police Chase Stolen Truck Suspect From Sun Valley To Kern County
Authorities were in pursuit of a driver in a suspected stolen truck in the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday night. The pursuit headed northbound on the 5 Freeway through the Santa Clarita area at about 11 p.m. and continued toward Castaic. The pursuit at times reached speeds of up to 100 mph. Officers spotted the truck near Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Sheldon Street about 10:55 p.m. Thursday and the driver fled, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. About 11:10 p.m., police turned over the pursuit to the California Highway Patrol, which added the pursuit entered Kern County, but could not confirm if an arrest had been made. No further details were immediately known.

Authorities Investigating Two Burglaries At Mission Hills Storage Facility
Authorities sought the public’s help Thursday to locate suspects in their teens or early 20s who committed two burglaries at a storage facility in Mission Hills. The suspects scaled the facility’s walls then forced open individual storage unit doors, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which did not release the location of the facility or the number of suspects involved. The burglaries occurred between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., but the dates were not released. Anyone with information about the burglaries were urged to call Detective Gonzalez or Detective Santa at 818-838-9810, or during non-business hours, 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Those wishing to report anonymously can call 800-222-TIPS.

Girl, 14, Missing After Arguing With Parents, Leaving Panorama City Home
A 14-year-old girl was missing Thursday after leaving her Panorama City home following an argument with her parents. Bianka Gomez was last seen at the home in the 14600 block of Gledhill Street, near Van Nuys Boulevard, about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “Bianka and her parents were involved in an argument over discipline issues,” police said. “Bianka became upset and left home without permission and has not returned.” Bianka is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 145 pounds, with black, shoulder-length hair, brown eyes and a medium build, according to police. She was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, white Nike tennis shoes and a pink backpack. Anyone with information about Bianka’s whereabouts was urged to call LAPD’s Mission Area Juvenile Detectives at 818-838-9810 or 818-838-9800.

Some Police Agencies Won’t Enforce New Stay-At-Home Coronavirus Orders, Others Will As A ‘Last Resort’
Law enforcement officials throughout Southern California said they do not plan on arresting people or issuing fines to those who do not comply with the state’s new late evening curfews, which were ordered to begin Saturday amid a surge of coronavirus infections. Instead of incarceration or fines, the region’s largest law enforcement agencies said they plan to work with residents in educating them on the public health rules and are asking for people to voluntarily comply. “Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to public health orders,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement posted shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new public health order. The order applies to 90% of the state’s population, covering all counties under the state’s purple tier of restrictions, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

K-9 Killed After Gunman Fires Into Patrol Car
A fatal shootout this week in Tennessee ended with the gunman and a police K-9 dead. According to ABC News, K-9 Sjaak – pronounced “Jacques” – was inside a patrol car Tuesday when a suspect pulled up and opened fire. La Vergne Police Officer Justin Darby was also inside the car at the time but wasn’t injured, according to ABC News. The gunman sped off, triggering a police pursuit and an exchange of gunfire. The suspect stopped in a parking lot, where officers found he had been shot. The gunman was taken to a hospital and declared dead. It was only after the pursuit that Darby discovered his K-9 partner had been shot, reports ABC News. The Belgian Malinois was rushed to a veterinary hospital where he underwent surgery. The agency announced on Facebook late Wednesday that Sjaak, sadly, did not survive the operation. 

Public Safety News

More Than 5,000 Coronavirus Cases Recorded In L.A. County, Setting New 1-Day Record Amid Rapid Surge
Los Angeles County recorded more than 5,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a new record amid an alarming surge that has daily infection numbers climbing faster than ever before. The 5,031 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday marked the biggest one-day case increase in the county not related to a reporting backlog and brought the total number of confirmed cases to 353,232 with 7,363 deaths. While the increase can in part be attributed to more people getting tested, “regardless, the new positive cases are both real and concerning,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said. The county had previously announced that if the five-day average number of cases reaches 4,500 or if hospitalizations surpass more than 2,000 per day, officials will mandate a Safer-at-Home Order for three weeks, only allowing essential and emergency workers to leave their homes, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

LA County Safer-at-Home Order Likely To Be Issued As Early As Sunday As COVID Cases Rise
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Los Angeles County health officials could impose another Safer-at-Home order by next week. If issued, the order is reported to go into effect as early as Sunday. This order allows only essential workers to leave their homes, as well as people accessing essential services. This comes as LA County reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic. Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis says the county's surging numbers have now exceeded the spike seen in mid-summer, jumping 68% since the end of October, compared to a 43% increase that occurred between mid-June and early July. Davis said that with Thursday's record case number, the county now has a two-day average of about 4,500 cases -- the threshold for implementing the stay-at-home restrictions.

LA County Restaurants, Non-Essential Businesses Ordered To Close At 10 P.M. To Curb Spread Of COVID-19
Hoping to help curb the spread of COVID-19 officials in Los Angeles County have announced that restaurants, bars and other non-essential businesses close between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. This order will go into effect Friday, November 20. “This is not a curfew or lockdown, but a cautionary measure,” LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said during the county’s COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday. County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said the changes to the county’s health order are intended to reduce the possibility of overcrowding at restaurants and reduce the possibility of COVID-19 exposure in situations where people aren’t wearing masks, such as when seated at a restaurant. Even though businesses will be ordered to close at 10 p.m., people can still order pick-up and deliver after that time. Starting Nov. 20, non-essential businesses that are permitted to operate indoors, such as retail store, offices and personal care facilities, occupancy will be limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy allowed. 

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: