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 9, 2020
Law Enforcement News

Los Angeles Police Sergeant Dies Of COVID-19 Complications
A Los Angeles police sergeant has died from complications due to the coronavirus, authorities said, becoming the department’s second sworn officer to succumb to the virus as cases rise across the state. Sgt. Fred Cueto was a 22-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. He died on Sunday, the LAPD announced on social media. “He was known for always having a smile & being a consummate professional,” the department wrote on Twitter. Thousands of police officers nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, many believed to have contracted it while on duty. At least six members of law enforcement in California have died from the virus’s complications. The LAPD offered its condolences to Cueto’s family and friends “with an extremely heavy heart,” a statement said. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, said Cueto had dedicated his life to protecting Los Angeles residents. “He served our community with honor and his passing is a loss for the LAPD and our city,” president Craig Lally said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, our officers have put themselves and their families at increased risk in order to continue to police our city. Sergeant Cueto’s passing is a reminder of that risk.”
LAPPL's Craig Lally discusses LAPD budget cuts and Gascon's new policies
LAPPL President Craig Lally joins KABC's Larry O'Connor to discuss the threat of layoffs at LAPD and the impacts of District Attorney George Gascon's newly implemented policies.

Man Dies After Hyde Park Shooting, Second Victim in Critical Condition
A 31-year-old man died and a second person was hospitalized after being shot in the Hyde Park area of South Los Angeles. The shooting occurred about 5 p.m. Tuesday in the 5300 block of 10th Avenue, near West 52nd Street, according to Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department. The first victim was located conscious and breathing, and an ambulance was requested to take him to a hospital where he died, said Im. A second victim was also taken to the hospital and is in critical condition. Both victims’ names have not been released. No suspect information was immediately available. If you know anything that can help in the case, call the Los Angeles Police Department.

61-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot In Sylmar Residential Area
A 61-year-old man was fatally shot outside a Sylmar home, and his killer remained at large Tuesday. Mario Noriega was shot about 6 p.m. Monday in the 14400 block of Rex Street, in a residential area near Polk Street and the Foothill (210) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He ran up to a nearby home and collapsed outside the doorway, according to police, who said he was pronounced dead at the scene. Noriega did not live at the home, and a motive for the shooting was unknown. Anyone with information was urged to call LAPD’s Valley Bureau Homicide at 818-374-9550, or during non-business hours, 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

Gascón Drops Charges Against Protestor Accused Of Train-Wrecking Attempt
Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday dropped all charges against a protestor accused of attempting to wreck a train at the scene of a demonstration against the Sheriff’s Department. Attorneys for the protestor — Emanuel Padilla, a 34-year-old toy designer from Hawthorne — had claimed that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office under former head Jackie Lacey had trumped up the charges and that the department was retaliating for Padilla’s activism. Gascón directed a prosecutor to dismiss all charges against Padilla, but the prosecutor refused, according to Max Szabo, a spokesman for Gascón’s transition team. A different deputy district attorney ultimately stood in during a brief dismissal hearing late Tuesday in the Compton courthouse, Szabo said. Szabo declined to comment further on the prosecutor’s refusal to dismiss the charges, saying it was a personnel matter. Padilla was charged last month with one felony count of a train-wrecking attempt, which carries a maximum sentence of life without parole, and one felony count of unlawful obstruction of a railroad track. He had pleaded not guilty and been denied bail. 

Facing a huge budget gap, L.A. takes a first step toward cutting hundreds of city jobs
The Los Angeles City Council made its first move Tuesday toward eliminating hundreds of jobs at the Police Department and other city agencies, while stopping short of a more sweeping plan that would have targeted nearly 1,900 workers. The package of budget-balancing measures, which passed on a 13-2 vote, decreased the number of positions targeted at the LAPD from 1,679 to 628 — 355 officers and 273 civilians. Councilmen Joe Buscaino and John Lee voted against the proposals, saying they do not want any LAPD jobs to be contemplated for layoffs. Several council members defended LAPD spending, arguing that additional cuts would expose residents to increased crime. Buscaino, Lee and council members Paul Koretz and Monica Rodriguez tried without success to win passage of a measure to prohibit any LAPD employee from having their job considered for elimination.

Police Seek Help In Search For Hit-and-Run Driver Who Fatally Struck 24-Year-Old Man In Koreatown
Police are asking the public for help Tuesday in their search for a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a pedestrian in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles in September. On Sept. 27, at about 11 p.m., officers responded to a man down call in an alley near the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Council Street, the Los Angeles Police Department stated in a news release. Paramedics also responded to the scene and transported the injured man to a nearby hospital. The victim, identified as 24-year-old Destin Moore, was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the Police Department. Moore’s injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle, according to L.A. County coroner’s officials. Surveillance video taken from the alley where the collision occurred showed two vehicles of interest that investigators are searching for. Anyone with information about these vehicles, or the drivers, is asked to call the Police Department at 213-473-0236.

Canadians Charged With Running Telemarketing Scam Targeting SoCal Elderly
Five Canadian men have been indicted on federal fraud charges alleging they ran a million-dollar telemarketing scam that deceived elderly Southern California residents and others into paying off non-existent debts they purportedly owed from magazine subscriptions, it was announced Tuesday. A 10-count indictment returned Friday by a Los Angeles federal grand jury alleges that the defendants, from locations in Montreal and Toronto, contacted victims throughout the United States, claiming to be calling from companies such as “Magazine Readers,” “Global Readers” and “American Reader Services.” During those telephone calls, which were made from 2013 to September 2015, the defendants claimed that the victims — many of whom were elderly — owed money for magazine subscriptions, according to the indictment. Participants in the scheme told victims that if they paid the amount “owed,” their purported debts would be satisfied and they would receive no future phone calls.

Families Of California Shooting Victims Sue Sellers Of ‘Ghost Guns’
Families of people killed and wounded in a rural California shooting rampage three years ago are suing manufacturers and sellers of “ghost gun” kits that provide easy-to-assemble firearm parts that make it difficult to track or regulate owners. A pair of wrongful death lawsuits filed last month in separate state courts accuse 13 defendants of negligence, public nuisance and violation of business codes. The cases were brought by Brady United, a national nonprofit organization that advocates against gun violence, which said Monday that the suits are the first of their kind in the nation. Ghost guns, which are cobbled together with various parts often purchased separately, have long been popular among hobbyists and firearms enthusiasts. The weapons, which contain no registration numbers that could be used to trace them and require no background checks, increasingly have shown up at crime scenes, gun control advocates say. “There is an ample and thriving gun market in this country in which law-abiding citizens can get guns through proper channels. This is an industry that appears aimed at supplying people who can’t legally have guns,” Brady’s chief counsel, Jonathan Lowy, said Monday.

California Law Enforcement Officers Rescue Baby From Highway
Frantic 911 callers on Saturday afternoon reported a woman carrying an infant walking in traffic on Highway 101 in Mill Valley, authorities said. "Horrified callers told dispatchers the woman was in lanes and that vehicles were slowing and swerving to avoid her," CHP officers wrote on Facebook. One motorist slowed down to see if he could assist the woman, but she tried to force her way through his passenger-side door, CHP officers reported. As CHP officers tried to find the woman in the 1:30 p.m. incident, a Mill Valley police officer helped the woman and her child to safety off the freeway, according to the post. The woman told officers she decided to walk for help after her vehicle broke down on a Highway 101 on-ramp, the Facebook post says. Officers arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence of a drug, and child endangerment. CHP officers took care of the baby, a 4-month-old girl, until child protective services workers arrived, the post says.

West Virginia Cop Killed In Line Of Duty Laid To Rest
Rarely is there a day in the Kanawha Valley when seemingly every set of eyes is focused on the same thing. Law enforcement from several states, counties and cities, along with hundreds of Kanawha Countians lining the streets of Charleston and along the processional route, gathered Tuesday to honor slain Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson. Johnson, 28, died Dec. 3, two days after being shot while responding to a parking complaint. Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt, opening Johnson's funeral service, said the fallen officer had a "perfect blend of a warrior's mindset and a shepherd's heart." She was caring, but she was tough. Johnson, a Charleston native, loved her city so much that she laid down her life for it, Hunt said.

Public Safety News

Greater-Alarm Fire Breaks Out Near Freeway In Downtown Los Angeles
A greater-alarm fire broke out on Tuesday in a 20,000-square-foot vacant commercial building alongside the Santa Monica(10) Freeway in downtown Los Angeles, and firefighters were battling the blaze in part from an elevated portion of the freeway after the building structurally collapsed. The "San Pedro Fire" started about 4:10 p.m. in the one-storybuilding in the area of San Pedro Street and Washington Boulevard, according to the LAFD's Brian Humphrey. Within 15 minutes of the firefight, the building structurally collapsed, but none of the 101 firefighters were injured. Crews conducted a defensive operation to battle the flames, and all but one lane of the eastbound 10 Freeway were blocked by two fire engines. The fire was extinguished at 5:17 p.m., and no other structures were damaged, Humphrey said.

LA County Reports 8K Total COVID-19 Deaths, Over 3,000 Hospitalizations
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 8,547 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 466,321 cases and 8,000 deaths. “Right now, too many people in our community are infected with COVID-19 and it is irresponsible and dangerous for people or businesses to flaunt the essential measures that protect everyone from transmitting or acquiring the virus,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “The way out of this may seem difficult, but the steps are simple, and those who disregard these safety measures are only delaying our recovery journey.” Of the 64 new deaths reported, 27 people were over the age of 80, 19 people were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, 10 people were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old and seven people were between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. The five-day average for daily new cases was 8,993 on Tuesday, nearly double the average seen the day after Thanksgiving, and remains to be more new cases reported each day for COVID-19 than at any point during the pandemic.

L.A. County Could Get 84,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses By Next Week
After nine months on a seesaw of lockdowns and reopenings, Los Angeles County will likely get its first allocation of COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week. The plan will be to rapidly deploy the 84,000 doses to healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the county could get its second and third allocations of doses later this month, and then weekly allotments starting next year. Because the supply initially will be limited, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization advisory committee and the California Department of Public Health have separately developed guidance that the county will follow to determine who gets the vaccine first, Ferrer said. Along with healthcare workers at acute care hospitals, residents at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, will likely start getting vaccinated this month.

Local Government News

Casting Report Aside, L.A. Will Pursue Purchase Of Chinatown Apartment Complex
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8, voted to reject a report that stated it cannot purchase a long-sought Chinatown residential complex for low-income families by using more than $45 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. City Administrative Officer Richard Llewellyn gave the report on the purchase proposal, stating that he does not think the Hillside Villa Apartments will be eligible for purchase under federal guidelines. “It should also be noted that the original motion related to the consideration of the proposed acquisition of the occupied property was introduced on Jan. 31, 2020 and predates the COVID-19 public health emergency which started on March 1, 2020, and therefore, the acquisition is an ineligible use of (coronavirus relief) funds,” the CAO report stated. Councilman Gil Cedillo, who authored the proposal to purchase Hillside Villa, persuaded the council to vote to reject that report, with a 12-3 vote.

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: