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 15, 2020
Law Enforcement News

South LA Bears Brunt of Violent Year, Rising Homicides
In November, L.A. surpassed 300 homicides for the first time in a decade. On average, about 40% of the city's homicides happen in South Bureau, where Kouri serves as supervisor. As violent crime increases, Craig Lally, who serves as president of the officer's union known as the L.A. Police Protective League, is fighting to preserve officer jobs as the city faces a $700 million shortfall. As activists pressure City Council to ‘defund the police,’ Lally said officers are frustrated by backlash they feel is unwarranted. “Morale is the worst I’ve seen in the 40 years I’ve been with this department,” said Lally. This week, documents revealed where the $150 million already cut from LAPD’s budget is likely to go: One-third is going to the deficit and limiting furloughs in other departments, and the rest is a one-time investment in various projects that range from street sweeping to youth development.

LAPD Union Seeks To Raise $10 Million To Fight Layoffs And Help Political Allies In 2022
Faced with the threat of layoffs and calls from activists to defund law enforcement, the Los Angeles Police Department’s largest union is looking to raise at least $10 million to fight the cutbacks and support its favored candidates in 2022. The Police Protective League, which represents about 9,800 officers, mailed its members ballots last week asking them to donate $22 per paycheck for the next 48 weeks to help the union support its allies, attack those it views as enemies and inform the public of the dangers associated with eliminating hundreds of positions at the LAPD. If approved, a portion of the “Protecting Our Profession” assessment would be used in part for the 2022 election, when candidates will be running for Los Angeles mayor, city attorney and as many as eight City Council seats. The funds could also go toward supporting candidates in Sacramento and fighting state and federal legislation, said union spokesman Dustin DeRollo. The union, for its part, has criticized the City Council for cutting the LAPD budget, saying much of the money is being diverted into a “slush fund” for its members to spend on alley cleanups, landscaped medians, tree-stump removal and other nuts-and-bolts services. If L.A.’s politicians want to help disadvantaged communities, they should shield those neighborhoods from public safety cuts, said Los Angeles Police Protective League President Craig Lally. “Nearly 90% of our homicide victims are ... Black and Hispanic, and 70% of our violent crime victims are Black and Hispanic, yet this is a crisis no one is talking about,” he said in a statement.

DA Gascon's Policy Changes Include Dismissing Special Charges Against Accused Cop Killer
As part of newly-elected LA District Attorney George Gascon’s reforms, FOX 11 has confirmed his office is seeking to dismiss all special circumstances allegations and enhancements against a Utah man accused of a double murder, including the shooting death of a Los Angeles County deputy, last year. If a judge signs off on the dismissals, the suspected double murderer could be eligible for parole in the future, if convicted. In June 2019, police say Rhett Nelson shot LASD deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano in the back of the head while he was waiting in line at an Alhambra Jack in the Box while off-duty. Deputy Solano died in the hospital. Nelson was arrested and charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and multiple counts of second-degree robbery. FOX 11 has now confirmed that Gascon’s office is seeking to dismiss all gun enhancements and special circumstances of multiple murders against Nelson. If a judge signs off on the dismissals, life without parole would be off the table for Nelson if he were to be convicted, and he could potentially be released from prison at some point in the future. 

California LEO Critically Injured During Traffic Stop
An El Cajon police officer was hospitalized in critical condition Monday morning after he tried to detain an SUV driver but ended up partially trapped in the vehicle, dragged, then flung from it as the driver sped off. The officer was also struck by another car during the incident on West Washington Avenue near South Magnolia Avenue, police Lt. Randy Soulard said in a news release. About 8:30 a.m., someone called police to report that a black SUV was blocking the road, and the driver was asleep behind the wheel. Officers arrived and found the driver still asleep. They also found a sleeping passenger. The officers woke them up, and the driver gave police a false name, Soulard said. At some point, the driver suddenly started the SUV and put it into gear. An officer tried to stop the driver from leaving, but the officer ended up partially trapped in the SUV and was dragged as the driver tried to flee. As the officer was hanging from the fleeing vehicle, he was struck by another car on the road. He was thrown from the moving SUV and landed in the roadway. The officer suffered "significant injuries," Soulard said. He was taken to a trauma center, and was in "critical but stable condition," he said.

Woman Found Fatally Shot In Reseda Apartment
Police are investigating after a woman was found fatally shot in someone else’s Reseda apartment, officials said Monday. About 8:25 a.m. Sunday, Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to an apartment in the 18400 block of Kittridge Avenue for a death investigation. They found the victim, Jonisha Mendoza, 32, unresponsive and suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper torso, police said in a news release. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation revealed Mendoza did not live in the apartment, and police did not elaborate on the circumstances behind the shooting. “Detectives canvassed the area for surveillance cameras, other possible witnesses and further evidence,” officials said in the news release. The apartment is near schools in the area and Reseda Park. Anyone with information about the incident can call Valley bureau homicide Detective M. O’Donnell at 818-374-9550.

3 Wounded In Sun Valley Shooting That Is Believed To Be Gang-Related
Two men and a teenager were injured in a drive-by shooting in Sun Valley at around dusk on Sunday, Dec. 13, that police believe was gang related. The men, ages 20 and 27, and the 16-year-old were standing outside an apartment building at 11133 Arminta St. around 4:25 p.m. when a car with at least two men inside pulled up. One of the men in the car pulled out a weapon and started firing. All three were hit and hospitalized, but none were seriously injured, said Los Angeles Officer Drake Madison, an LAPD spokesman. Detectives investigating the shooting said none of the victims cooperated with them, Madison said. And despite numerous witnesses, no one came forward to describe the suspects or the vehicle they were in.

Officers Find Two Loaded Guns During Traffic Stop
A traffic stop Monday led officers with the Los Angeles Police Department to find and seize two loaded guns from a car. LAPD Foothill Police Station praised Officer Daniel Frazer and Officer Edgar Garcia for confiscating the guns from two individuals and arresting them. “It’s a reminder of the commitment LAPD and Foothill have to protect and serve,” the agency wrote on Instagram Monday. In March, LAPD announced that it would be putting half of its detectives on street patrol and closing down its front desk operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The confiscation comes as gun violence has skyrocketed in Los Angeles in 2020. LAPD said between May 31 and June 6 of this year, homicides were up 250 percent compared to the previous week. The number of victims who had been shot jumped 56 percent in the same week.

58-Year-Old Man With Dementia Missing From North Hills
A 58-year-old man who suffers from dementia and seizures went missing in North Hills, and authorities Monday put out a call for public help to find him. Carlos Zuniga was last seen about 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the 16000 block of Chase Street, near Gloria Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was wearing a light gray hooded sweater, light blue jeans and black shoes. Zuniga is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 2 inches tall, 140 pounds, with gray hair, hazel eyes and a medium build, police said. Zuniga is known to frequent the area around Northridge Medical Center, located at Rosco and Reseda boulevards, according to police, which described his mental condition as “poor.” Anyone with information about his whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD’s Devonshire Station’s watch commander at 818-832-0633, or during non-business hours, 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Those wishing to report anonymously can call 1-800-222-TIPS.

L.A. City Attorney Files Lawsuit Alleging Nightclub Operated Illegally Amid Pandemic
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday that his office has filed a civil lawsuit against the owners and operator of an unlicensed underground nightclub for allegedly operating in violation of county and state COVID-19 public health orders. Advertised on social media as a secret club, LA Party Society, 1114 South Main Street, has been allegedly operating out of a storefront in downtown’s Fashion District without any of the required permits and licenses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Feuer’s office said in a news release Monday. The club was accessible via the alleyway on Main Street between 11th and 12th streets, officials said. “I want to emphasize that packing people into an indoor space, an unlicensed nightclub during the pandemic is the height of irresponsibility,” Feuer said in a press briefing Monday announcing the lawsuit. “I mean, that’s why licensed clubs are forbidden to operate.” Nightclubs and other social establishments are currently barred from operating in L.A. County due to the region’s COVID-19 case surge, and the LA Party Society lacks the proper permits to operate even if those restrictions were to be lifted, Feuer said.

Engineer Sentenced In L.A. To Prison For Insider Trading
A former semiconductor engineer was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to 18 months in federal prison for committing insider trading when he obtained his publicly traded employer’s non-public financial results without authorization and then illegally used the confidential information to purchase large amounts of stock prior to the information’s release. Yuh-Yue Chen, 53, of Taiwan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered Chen to pay a $6,000 fine. Chen pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to one count of securities fraud. Chen was an electrical engineer at Skyworks Solutions Inc., a publicly traded Woburn, Massachusetts-based semiconductor company with a branch office and design center in Irvine. During the spring and summer of 2014, Chen bought Skyworks stock and options based on confidential information not yet available to the public. Specifically, Chen used his employee security badge to gain unauthorized access to the company’s restricted office area for the accounting and financial staff.

FTC: Text Messages With Links Claiming To Be From UPS, FedEx Are Scams
‘Twas two weeks before Christmas when packages were shipped out to homes all over the land. But if a text message comes with a link because of a delay, don’t worry – it’s a scam. Text messages purportedly from UPS and FedEx are flooding cell phones this holiday season, but the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers that these are another ploy by scammers to steal people’s personal information. The FTC says the urgent-looking messages can come via email or text message supposedly from UPS or FedEx, and occasionally come with one of those company’s logos. Some of them say your item is ready to ship, but you need to update your shipping preferences. Others say the package has been delayed and verification is needed by clicking the included link. “But here’s the lump of coal: the message is bogus and there is no package,” a warning from the FTC said. “Scammers are phishing for your information. And if you click on a link or download the attachment, you’re likely to end up with a virus or malware on your device that steal your identity and your passwords.”

SoCal Man Accused In $180,000 Embezzlement Scheme Against Construction Company
A Brea man pleaded not guilty on Friday after being accused in a $180,000 embezzlement scheme against a construction company. 28-year-old Luis Edwin Perez, who had worked for Peterson Brotherson Construction Inc. in Brea since 2015, is accused of faking duplicate invoices and using the funds for personal purchases. He is accused of doing this since February 2019, and it was brought to police’s attention in January 2020 when an accountant noticed a payment to Beverly Hill-based ticket sales company, Ticketmaster. Along with Ticketmaster, Perez allegedly used the money to fund purchases from Apple, Seatgeek and Stubhub, according to Brea Police Department Detective Alfred Rodriguez. When confronted about the transactions, police said Perez resigned and later admitted to the actions in an email. “Perez has sent an email to the company’s CEO apologizing and explaining how he did this and also admitted his actions to the original Brea (police) investigator,” Rodriguez said. Perez is charged with a dozen felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white collar crime between $100,000 and $500,000.

Public Safety News

L.A. County Hospitalizations Surpasses 4,000 With 579 New Patients And 4,203 Total Hospitalizations As Of Dec. 14
Hospitalizations in L.A. County continue to spike. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 579 new patients infected with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 4,203 as of Monday, Dec. 14. There were 7,344 new cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the cumulative total in the county to 532,730 cases since tracking began. There were 48 new deaths reported by the county, raising the total number of reported deaths to 8,345. The breakdown of people infected with the coronavirus by age is as follows: 0-4: 9,533, 5-11: 21,702, 12-17: 26,820, 18-29: 125,870, 30-49: 173,111, 50-64: 95,430, 65-79: 36,776, Over 80: 14,614. Data posted each day is preliminary and subject to change, officials emphasize. More information may become available as individual case investigations are completed.

LA's Mobile COVID-19 Testing Units Will Target High-Risk Areas
The city's five mobile coronavirus testing teams will deploy to locations in predominantly Black and Latino communities in the East San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles beginning Tuesday and lasting throughout the week, in areas where COVID-19 infections nearly doubled in early December. "Angelenos must remain vigilant in the face of this surge. Part of that is knowing their COVID-19 status, and our mobile testing teams ensure that Black and Latino communities can get tested and access this vital tool of public health," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "A vaccine offers us hope that the end of this pandemic is in sight, but we can't ignore the realities of the current surge or the inequities laid bare by this virus -- we have to keep our guard up to save lives and protect our loved ones right now." City Council President Nury Martinez said the communities "are home to essential-worker Angelenos who do not have the luxury to work from home, where they often live in close quarters with families in dense neighborhoods. They are especially vulnerable to the cruel impacts of this pandemic. It is critical that we support their ability to stay safe and utilize our mobile testing units."

California Again Shatters Single-Day Coronavirus Case Record: More Than 42,000 Cases
California has shattered another grim record — more than 42,000 coronavirus cases in a single day, breaking a record set just a week ago. A Los Angeles Times county-by-county tally tallied 42,129 coronavirus cases across the state Monday. That’s the first time more than 40,000 cases have been reported by the state’s local health agencies in a single day. And it breaks the single-day record set on Dec. 8, when 35,400 coronavirus cases were recorded. The state is now averaging nearly 33,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week — the highest level ever recorded. COVID-19 hospitalizations also continued breaking records. On Sunday, there were 13,635 people in California hospitalized, the 16th consecutive day the record has been broken. COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide are now six times worse than they were in late October. The number of people in the intensive care units with COVID-19 have also soared, climbing to 2,967 on Sunday. That’s more than quadruple the number from Nov. 1. Daily COVID-19 deaths are also climbing, too. The Times’ tally found that 155 deaths were recorded statewide Monday. That brings the average daily number of COVID-19 deaths over the past week to 164, the sixth consecutive day that number has broken the record.

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: