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 10, 2020
Law Enforcement News

L.A. Vowed To Cut Police And Help Disenfranchised Areas. Now That Plan Is Under Fire
Six months ago, following massive protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced a dramatic step at City Hall: She and her colleagues would cut police spending by $150 million. The plan, Martinez said at the time, would be to reinvest funding for vital services, including those that “uplift disenfranchised communities.” On Wednesday, the council took its first stab at deciding where a chunk of that money — nearly $88.8 million — should go. So far, council members are looking to put much of the money toward nuts-and-bolts city services: street resurfacing, graffiti removal, alley cleanups and many other core city programs. The union that represents rank-and-file police officers went even further, accusing council members of cutting LAPD staffing so they can have a slush fund for their districts. “Laying off hundreds of police officers to fund curb cuts, landscaping, and tree stump removals in the name of public safety is absurd,” said Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing roughly 9,800 LAPD officers. “Murders and shootings have surged to a 10-year high, and no one suffers the bloodshed more than our most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.”

Authorities Circulate Photos Of Men Suspected Of Firing At Deputy In Altadena
Authorities Wednesday circulated photos of two men accused of shooting at a sheriff’s deputy in Altadena. The ambush occurred Friday about 12:35 p.m., while the deputy was driving a marked patrol vehicle northbound on Fair Oaks Avenue, near Calaveras Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The deputy was not injured in the shooting. One suspect pointed a firearm in her direction and fired several times, the Sheriff’s Department said. He then ran away with a second suspect. The suspect who fired the shots is described as having a thin build and was wearing a black jacket, according to the department, which reported that the suspect’s jacket and shoes were recovered nearby. The second suspect is described as having a thin build and was wearing a white jacket, which was also located near the scene, the Sheriff’s Department reported. Authorities urged anyone with information about the suspects to call Detective C. Gutierrez at 626-798-1131 or the Altadena Sheriff’s Station at 626- 798-1131.

Mothers Of Murdered Victims Express Concern Over George Gascón's New Policies
Los Angeles County’s new District Attorney George Gascón was sworn in on Monday. Among his proposals, Gascón wants to no longer pursue the death penalty nor try some juveniles as adults and he wants to reopen past cases including police use of force. Gascón says he wants to usher in a new era of criminal justice in Los Angeles County. However, some of those plans aren't going over well with police officers and families of crime victims. "I was pissed, I was angry, I was hurt, I felt betrayed once again," said Demicha Lofton Thomas, the mother of a murdered victim. Her son, Gerrik, was killed by a minor in 2016. She says Gascón is sending the wrong message if he stops charging juveniles as adults. "This year alone in LA County we had over 600 homicides, that’s unacceptable," said Lawanda Hawkins with Justice for Murdered Children. To be exact, Los Angeles County has reported 637 homicides in 2020, and that number is expected to go up before the end of the year.

‘You Took My Baby Away’: Mother Of Venice Shooting Victim Pleads For Help In Solving Homicide
The mother of a woman who was fatally shot during a dispute near the Venice Beach Boardwalk last week pleaded for anyone who knows anything about the incident to come forward. The victim, 28-year-old Ky Thomas, was a mother to an 8-year-old girl and 1-month-old boy. She had recently purchased a home and had received her license to broker loans in commercial trucking, a family friend said during a news conference. “All those things were taken from her that day on Venice Beach,” Brittney Braddock said, calling the shooting “brazen.” The incident was reported about 5:25 p.m. Dec. 1 along Ocean Front Walk. Responding LAPD officers found the victim unconscious and not breathing. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An investigation revealed there had been a dispute between the victim, her boyfriend and three Black males who were possibly wearing hoodies. The assailants ran away from the scene. Anyone with information about the shooting can call LAPD’s West Bureau homicide investigators at 213-382-9470.

1 Killed, 1 Wounded In Highland Park Shooting
An investigation is underway after two people were shot, one of them fatally, in Highland Park late Wednesday night. Authorities first received reports of multiple shooting victims in the area of 5712 Aldama St. around 11 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said. Officers arrived to find two people at the scene who had been shot. A male victim was pronounced dead and a female victim was taken to a hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, LAPD said. It’s unclear who opened fire or what prompted the shooting. Officers were seen combing through the residential street, investigating an alley that was closed off with police tape Thursday morning. Police have not released descriptions of any suspects in the killing and no further details were immediately available.

LAPD Orders All Department Gyms To Close As Employee COVID-19 Cases Rise 27% In Two Weeks
The LAPD on Wednesday ordered the immediate closure of all department gyms effective immediately due to a surge in LAPD positive COVID-19 cases, according to an internal memo obtained exclusively by FOX 11. According to the memo, sent by LAPD Deputy Chief Dominic Choi, positive COVID-19 cases amongst LAPD personnel have surged 27% in the last two weeks, and 138% in a single day reporting of positive cases. The memo states that 848 sworn LAPD personnel have now contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, accounting for just under ten percent of the rank and file. Also, 203 civilian LAPD employees have contracted the virus since March. "It is alarming, but we still have to do our job because we’re essential workers,” said Sgt. Jeretta Sandoz, Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. “Since the start of the pandemic, officers have not been able to shelter in place, so they’re at work all the time, they go to work every day doing the job and putting themselves in danger."

Man Killed By Blunt Object During Altercation In Westmont; Suspect In Custody
A man was struck in the head by a blunt object and killed Wednesday during an altercation in the unincorporated Westmont area near South Los Angeles. A suspect was taken into custody and deputies recovered an unspecified weapon, according to Deputy Shawn Du Busky of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Du Busky said. Deputies were dispatched about 6 p.m. to the 1000 block of 98th Street, near Vermont Avenue, Du Busky said.

Oakland Formed A Task Force To Help Defund The Police. Now Some Members Want The City To Reconsider
When Black Lives Matter protests shook the ground beneath Oakland City Hall this summer, the City Council laid out an ambitious goal: cut the $300 million police budget in half, and invest the savings in social services. Now, some of the people picked to devise an action plan want the city to change course. In a joint letter, five Black members of Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force say they don’t want to see the number of police reduced until the task force comes up with a comparable or better solution. If that means keeping the force intact while test-running another type of response, the group says, so be it. “Black lives are being lost (and) harmed at an alarming rate in our city,” said the letter, written just as Oakland logged 100 homicides for the year so far — the highest number since 2012. “Even more lives will be lost if police are removed without an alternative response being put in place that is guaranteed to work as good as or better than the current system,” it continued. The letter raises a series of philosophical questions about the movement to defund police. Will slashing a budget be enough to curb police violence against Black people? And what are the consequences of having fewer officers on the street?

CHP Officer Killed In On-Duty Crash In Palmdale Laid To Rest
The California Highway Patrol bid farewell Wednesday to Officer Andy Ornelas, who died after suffering major injuries in an on-duty crash in Palmdale. The funeral services were held for 27-year-old Ornelas at JetHawk Stadium in Lancaster, so attendees could adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. The service was not open to the public, but was livestreamed on the CHP’s Facebook page. Ornelas, who was assigned to the Antelope Valley area office, died last Wednesday, a week and a half after a crash near the intersection of West Avenue N-3 and North 32nd Street. He was headed to a car crash, when another vehicle made a U-turn into his CHP motorcycle after it missed its turn into a driveway. “I asked him if the joy and pride of being a motorcycle officer would be worth his life,” his mother, retired CHP Officer Kellie Ornelas said. “He said, ‘yes mom. As you and dad taught me, we have to live life everyday like it’s your last.’” Ornelas came from a family of motorcycle officers with the CHP and LAPD.

Connecticut LEO Shot During Stolen Car Investigation, 4 In Custody
A Waterbury police officer who was shot in the chest during a stolen car investigation is home from the hospital, the police chief said Wednesday morning. “The officer is home recovering,” Chief Fernando Spagnolo said. “He is doing OK.” The officer spared more serious injury — or death — by his bulletproof vest. He was shot Tuesday afternoon. Four suspects were taken into custody less than two hours later near Oxford Airport, but police would only say the suspects were connected to the shooting and did not release any additional information at a brief news conference outside the Waterbury police headquarters. The officer was in stable condition shortly after the shooting at Saint Mary’s Hospital, just a few blocks from the scene of the incident. Officials would only say that the officer was investigating a stolen car when he or she was shot in the chest. The officer, who police have not identified publicly, was wearing a bulletproof vest that Spagnolo credited with saving the officer’s life.

Public Safety News

LA County Officials Say 1 In 140 Residents Are Infected With COVID-19, Most Without Symptoms
Los Angeles County's surge in COVID-19 cases is dramatically increasing hospital admissions and contributing to swamped emergency rooms, with the number of daily admissions expected to jump as high as 700 per day by next week, health officials said Wednesday. Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the county Department of Health Services, said county hospitals are currently seeing nearly 500 new admissions each day. With the county's COVID-19 transmission rate remaining high -- and with an estimated one in 140 residents circulating in public believed to be infectious -- the numbers are expected to keep rising. "Given that we're just now seeing the hospitalizations that resulted from the recent Thanksgiving holiday, we anticipate that the number will continue to grow over the next few weeks, with up to 700 new daily COVID hospitalizations in just one week from now," Ghaly said. With that number of new daily admissions, the county is facing "possible shortages in the total number of hospital beds -- as we are seeing happen in other counties across California -- and an expected shortage of ICU beds," she said.

Southern California Is Driving Record COVID-19 Deaths With No Signs Of Letting Up
Deaths from COVID-19 in California are reaching record levels this week, a grim sign of how even advances in medical care and a younger demographic of those infected are no match for the relentless spread of the coronavirus. Southern California and the Central Valley are by far the state’s biggest contributors of total deaths in the last week. Of nearly 950 deaths reported in California in the last week, a Times analysis shows that more than 300 fatalities were reported in L.A. County, followed by nearly 80 in San Bernardino County, about 70 each in Riverside and San Diego counties and nearly 60 in Orange County. Deaths were also rising in Northern California, but not at the numbers seen in the Southland. California this week broke its single-day record for COVID-19 deaths — 219 on Tuesday. The state is now averaging 135 deaths a day over a seven-day period, coming close to the all-time high of 144 set in August.

New COVID-19 Contact Tracing Notification System Launches In California
A new smartphone system which will notify California residents when they may have been exposed to the coronavirus went live Thursday statewide. CA Notify is an app which uses Bluetooth technology which Apple and Google smart phone users can voluntarily opt into. While the app is anonymous, it will notify users if someone they were exposed to — who also uses the app — contracts coronavirus, so they can get tested. If they themselves become infected, it will in turn alert people who they have been around to also get tested. The statewide launch of the app, which was announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is the extension of a pilot program which began in the fall among about 20,000 students and staff at UC San Francisco and UC San Diego. The program was then expanded to several more University of California system schools in November, including UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. The governor emphasized that the app will never share a user’s identity with others. He said the information is not collected or made public.

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: