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

December 3, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Prosecutors To Retry Man Accused Of Killing Police Officer
Prosecutors will re-try a case against a man accused of killing a Los Angeles police officer over 30 years ago, but the incoming district attorney will not seek the death penalty again despite the family's wishes for capital punishment. Kenneth Earl Gay, 62, is charged with murder in the death of Officer Paul Verna in 1983. The California Supreme Court has twice overturned Gay’s death sentence and in February vacated his original conviction, forcing Los Angeles prosecutors to decide if they would pursue the case again during a fraught election cycle and as anti-police sentiments gripped the country. A judge has ruled against a defense motion that would have excluded information from the previous proceedings — a decision that Gay is expected to appeal. The case returns to court Jan. 14. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents LAPD rank-and-file officers, said it hopes Gascon keeps moving forward on the case to "ensure a clear message is sent that the murder of law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in our community.” “Gay’s heinous crime robbed our city of a police officer who was a proven hero, robbed a wife of her husband and robbed two sons of the chance to know their father," union president Craig Lally said.

L.A. Police Chief Says City Officials Are ‘Seriously Contemplating’ Laying Off Police Officers
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Wednesday that city officials are “seriously contemplating” layoffs of police officers as part of the effort to close a projected budget deficit expected to reach or exceed $600 million. Moore made his remarks just two days before the city’s budget analysts are expected to issue a report on the city’s financial crisis and the steps needed to address it. Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the City Council will begin examining those proposals — and discussing the size of the city workforce — over the next few weeks, he said. As they look for solutions, city leaders are considering layoffs for police officers and civilians at the LAPD, the chief said. “We have already experienced … a reduction in our workforce, between sworn and civilian, in excess of 500 personnel,” Moore said during a video Q&A with members of the news media. “To suffer further losses would be devastating to the safety of the city.” Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, said city leaders are seeking new reductions just as homicides and gun violence are rising. “Unfortunately, this is not make-believe, and these proposed cuts will lead to thousands of more violent crime victims, 70% being Black or Hispanic, and devastate thousands of families,” he said. “Whoever cooked up this approach clearly does not care about our communities overwhelmed by violence.”

Woman Fatally Shot Near Venice Beach Boardwalk After Dispute Involving Boyfriend, 3 Others: LAPD
A woman was shot to death after she and her boyfriend became involved in a dispute with three people near the Venice Beach Boardwalk on Tuesday evening, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Around 5:25 p.m., officers responded to a call of a shooting at Ocean Front Walk near Windward Street and found a woman unconscious and not breathing, LAPD officials stated in a news release Wednesday. She was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital. Her name has not been released. Investigators said the woman, her boyfriend and three unidentified males were involved in some type of dispute prior to the shooting. It’s possible the homicide is gang-related, according to LAPD. Police are searching for the three assailants, whom they described only as Black and possibly wearing hoodies. Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s West Bureau Homicide at 213-382-9470.

Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Homicide After Pursuit Ends In Wilmington
A man was arrested on suspicion of a years-old homicide after fleeing from Los Angeles police officers but getting caught in Wilmington on Wednesday morning, Dec. 2. Investigators were working the homicide case and getting information from possible persons of interest in Carson when they saw a man in a vehicle they were interested in, said Lt. Michelle Loomis of the LAPD’s Harbor Division. They followed the man and it turned into a pursuit that ended in less than 10 minutes in Wilmington, she said. During the pursuit, which included the southbound 110 Freeway, the suspect tossed a rifle and a magazine out of his vehicle, Loomis said. He was taken into custody at around 9:30 a.m. The suspect’s name was not immediately released.

Pursuit Driver Slams Into SUV With Woman And Baby Aboard
The driver of a truck stolen more than 70 miles away in Redlands was leading a chase in the Van Nuys area when the truck slammed into a black SUV with a woman and baby aboard Wednesday. The pursuit ended at Saticoy and Gloria streets in Van Nuys, leaving the woman apparently injured. The utility vehicle was seen speeding down the street before plowing into a black SUV, forcing it to spin around and plow into a fence near an apartment complex. After the wreck, a woman from inside the SUV was removed from the car and seen lying on the ground as people from inside the apartment complex at the site of the crash tended to her. She had a carseat next to her with a baby inside. The baby didn't appear to be injured, but was seen being taken to the hospital via ambulance. The driver was taken into custody after he ran from the utility truck.

Councilman Seeks To Shut Down `Prolific’ Illegal Gaming In Los Angeles
Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion Wednesday to address what he called the proliferation of illegal gambling in Los Angeles. In 2018, the Los Angeles Police Department executed 12 search warrants for illegal casinos, and the following year that number rose to 48 warrants, which uncovered connections to gangs, illicit drugs and prostitution, Blumenfield said. “These are not friendly weekend poker games. These are full-fledged illegal casinos fixed with gambling machines, many of which with deep ties to local and international organized crime syndicates,” Blumenfield said. “We need to get a handle on this now to shut them down.” On a San Fernando Valley raid earlier this year that was covered by FOX 11, LAPD found a crime scene with security protocols including a steel-framed door with a magnetic lock set in concrete. Before law enforcement could enter, organizers of the casino cut their computers’ link to a server in Eastern Europe controlling all the finances. The problem has continued unabated during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of gathering rules and business operating limits, Blumenfield said.

Three Alleged Gang Members Charged With Killing Gardena Man
Three alleged gang members were charged Tuesday with shooting a man to death in Gardena, an attack that turned into a gun battle when the victim’s father returned fire and fatally wounded one of the assailants. Three men — Jesus Hernandez, 27, Antonio Yanez, 22, and Justin Arteaga, 20 — are charged in federal court with killing a 29-year-old man on Nov. 13 outside his family’s home in Gardena, a crime prosecutors contend was committed to raise the defendants’ standing in the Gardena-13 street gang. Gardena-13, also known as Gardena Trece, counts roughly 300 members and claims a territory bounded by 135th Street to the north, 190th Street to the south, Crenshaw Boulevard to the west and Gardena’s Main Street to the east, an investigator, Manuel Aguirre, wrote in an affidavit unsealed Tuesday. Gardena-13, like most Latino gangs in Southern California, answers to the Mexican Mafia, an organization of about 140 men drawn from the upper ranks of the region’s street gangs.

CHP Officer Dies From Injuries Sustained In Crash While Responding To Call For Service
A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer has died just over a week after he was involved in a collision while responding to a call for service, authorities said Wednesday. Just after 7 p.m. on Nov. 23, Antelope Valley CHP Officer Andy Ornelas was responding to help parties who were involved in a traffic collision on SR-14. While on his way to the scene, a motorist pulled from the right shoulder to make a U-turn directly in his path. The officer's motorcycle struck the other vehicle, causing him to be thrown from his bike. Officer Ornelas was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster in critical condition but despite life-saving efforts by medical staff, he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. "With heavy hearts we announce the End of Watch for Antelope Valley CHP Officer Andy Ornelas, ID 21685," the CHP wrote in a post on Facebook. Officer Ornelas was a member of the department for four years.

Police: Shot West Virginia Cop ‘Not Going To Pull Through'
Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said Wednesday evening the city police officer allegedly shot by a resident Tuesday afternoon will not survive. Officer Cassie Johnson, 28, was gravely wounded when she was shot just before 3 p.m. on Garrison Avenue. "With a heavy heart, I hate to say she is not going to be able to pull through this," Hunt said outside of Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital. "She is still fighting but her body is unable to sustain life by itself." Johnson was responding to a traffic complaint on Garrison Avenue when Joshua Phillips, 38, of Charleston, allegedly shot her in the face, said Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office believes Johnson also shot Phillips, which sent him to CAMC General.

Public Safety News

Crews Battle Fire At 2-Story Commercial Building In Downtown L.A.
Fire crews were battling a blaze at a large two-story structure in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday evening, officials said. The fire was reported around 6:10 p.m. on the 500 block of East Ninth Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department, where a number of fabric stores are located. Firefighters had moved to a defensive operation to battle fire, which was escalated to a “greater alarm” incident. Crews were primarily using ladder pipes to battle the intense heat and flames. The bulk of the fire load was in the second story and attic, officials said. The majority of flames were out around 7:20 p.m., the department said.
'Red Flag No Parking Restrictions' In Effect Starting 8 A.M. Thursday
With Santa Ana winds returning to the Southland and dramatically raising the risk of wildfires, "Red Flag No Parking Restrictions" will be in effect in Los Angeles starting at 8 a.m. Thursday to ensure that parked vehicles do not delay firefighters reaching blazes or residents evacuating. Vehicles will be prohibited from parking on pre-determined narrow streets, hairpin turns, tight curves and key intersections, which are already marked with signs from Caltrans. Vehicles that are parked within "Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones" will be towed during the restrictions, which will be in place until further notice, according to the LAFD. "The fire service has learned from incidents such as the Oakland Hills fire and the Cedar fire that citizens becoming trapped in their vehicles, while evacuating, can lead to a catastrophic situation," the department said. LAFD station commanders surveyed their districts to identify areaswhere parked vehicles might delay evacuations and fire crews' access, and gave the data to Caltrans, which began posting 1,700 signs to mark the restrictions on Jan. 1, 2006, according to the LAFD.  

LA County COVID Hospitalizations Hit Highest Number Since Start Of Pandemic
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday announced 5,987 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus and 40 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 414,185 cases and 7,740 deaths. Officials also said there were 2,439 people hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. “Today was probably the busiest day that we’ve had post-Thanksgiving holiday,” Michael Daignault, an emergency room doctor at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, said. He said doctors at the hospital have seen a nearly 100% increase in the number of patients in the last several days — many with symptoms of COVID-19. “We have contingency plans set up for converting units for COVID patients. We have contingency plans for staffing,” he said. “I just think the exponential increase in cases was something we weren’t expecting to happen this quickly this early on.”

City Of L.A. Issues Stay-At-Home Rules That Mirror L.A. County Order
The city of Los Angeles issued a modified stay-at-home order Wednesday night that mirrors L.A. County rules that went into effect Monday. The city order prohibits gatherings of people outside immediate households, with some exceptions such as religious services and protests. While the order tells people to stay home, it also allows retail businesses to remain open “after implementing the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Protocols for Retail Establishments Opening for In-person Shopping.” Parks and trails remain open, along with golf courses, tennis courts and beaches. Music and television production is allowed. “The city and county orders are the same. In the past there have been some minor differences but currently they are the same,” said Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti. “My message couldn’t be simpler: It’s time to hunker down,” Garcetti said Wednesday. “It’s time to cancel everything. And if it isn’t essential, don’t do it.” “Don’t meet up with others outside your household. Don’t host a gathering, don’t attend a gathering and follow our targeted safer-at-home order, if you’re able to stay home, stay at home. Just be smart and stay apart.”

California COVID-19 Surge Could Lead To New Stay-Home Order
California’s quarantined governor is considering placing nearly all of the state’s 40 million residents under a tough stay-at-home order amid fears that a staggering coronavirus surge could swamp the hospital system within weeks. California reported more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, shattering the state’s previous one-day record. A record 8,500 people are in the hospital, including more than 2,000 in the intensive care unit, leaving the state with fewer than 2,000 available intensive care unit beds. Gov. Gavin Newsom — who is staying at home after three of his children were exposed to the virus — warned this week that he would take “drastic action” if the numbers didn’t improve. That could be similar to his mid-March lockdown that closed many businesses and barred people from leaving home except for essential tasks such as getting groceries. Newsom already has imposed restrictions — including a nighttime curfew — on 51 of the state’s 58 counties comprising nearly the entire state population. 

Local Government News

L.A. Approves $1B ‘Mini-City’ In West San Fernando Valley With Sports Arena, Hotels, Office And Apartment Units
The Los Angeles City Council cleared the way Wednesday for a sprawling development planned for the west San Fernando Valley, signing off on a new sports arena, two hotels, a 28-story office tower and more than 1,400 new apartments. On a 14-0 vote, the council approved Promenade 2035, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion, replacing a closed shopping mall in Warner Center with a new “downtown district” featuring a supermarket, public plazas, high-density housing and a 10,000-seat entertainment and sports venue. Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the area, said the project’s combination of restaurants, stores, homes and workspaces makes it “the future of green planning.” Promenade 2035 will offer a “mini-city … within this larger city,” he said, “where you can get your culture and entertainment and jobs and work — all in a smaller area for less of a smaller carbon footprint.”

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: