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 17, 2020
Law Enforcement News

LA Police Union Places Billboards and Releases Digital Ad Demanding A Plan from City Leaders to Keep LA Safe
Murders, shooting victims, and shots fired into occupied homes are increasing starkly in Los Angeles as some city leaders are calling for the elimination of 1,000 police officers from the LAPD. Among the hundreds of shooting victims was a pregnant 24-year old who was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car. This cold-blooded murder spurred the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) to place billboards in 5 city council districts and to release a digital ad demanding a plan from city leaders to keep L.A. safe. The LAPPL has also launched two domain names and that link to a new webpage that updates the increasing gun violence plaguing our city. “Where is the outrage over the carnage, the loss of life and the ever increasing danger plaguing many neighborhoods of our city?” asked Craig Lally, President of the LAPPL. “We hear nothing from City Hall but cut police officers, but where is their plan to keep L.A. safe?” “In 2019, seventy percent of the 30,000 violent crime victims in our city were either Black or Hispanic, and politicians want to cut hundreds of officers,” Lally continued. “Who will protect these residents and seek justice for the victims and their families?”

1 Dead After Shooting In Baldwin Hills Parking Lot: LAPD
A victim died Wednesday after a shooting in a Baldwin Hills parking lot, officials said. The incident occurred around 3:20 p.m. in the 3500 block of South La Cienega Boulevard, in the parking lot of a Target store, said Officer Tony Im of the Los Angeles Police Department. Police say the shooter walked up to a car in the lot and fired at the two people sitting inside, striking the passenger. Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots from the center of the parking lot. After the shots were fired, the victim’s car sped out of the lot and hit a passing vehicle. Meanwhile, 911 was called and officers arrived to find the victims on National Boulevard. The person who was shot was conscious and breathing when transported to the hospital, but was listed in critical condition. The victim, identified only as a Black man in his 30s, was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police. Police originally said the outstanding suspect stole a gold chain, possibly from one of the victims, but the department later said it’s unclear what, if anything, was stolen.

Human Trafficking, Prostitution Surging On Streets Of South LA During COVID-19 Shutdowns
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions forcing the closures of strip clubs and other adult entertainment industries, the Los Angeles Police Department tells FOX 11 that human trafficking and prostitution have exploded on the streets of South LA, and they brought FOX 11 along to show us how bad the problem has become. FOX 11 joined LAPD’s Human Trafficking Task Force on one evening and what we witnessed was startling. Up and down Figueroa Street, on almost every block, were multiple prostitutes, many of whom appeared to be very young girls and women, standing on street corners without any pants on, sometimes with a pimp watching them from a close distance. “Some of these girls are as young as 12, 12, 14-years-old, and we’re trying to get them off the streets," said Captain Scot Williams, commanding officer of LAPD’s 77th Street division. “There are several who are forced into these traits by pimps and violent gang members who are looking to exploit them for their own personal financial gain," Williams said. LAPD invited FOX 11 to observe as they used undercover officers to pose as prostitutes in an effort to make arrests of Johns. One man we witnessed being arrested was on probation for lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14, according to LAPD.

Deputy DA Speaks Out Against Gascón’s Policies, ‘Hostile’ Work Environment
Under newly elected L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón’s policy changes, there would not have been justice in the Gabriel Fernandez case, according to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, a Santa Clarita resident and prosecutor for the high-profile murder trial involving the parents of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy. Hatami has emerged as a vocal opponent of the new direction the DA’s Office is taking under Gascón. “It would’ve gone much differently — 100%,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday, referring to the trial that received national attention after it was the subject of a several-part Netflix documentary. “We would have not been able to obtain justice for Gabriel under this current administration. There’s no way. That’s the problem.” In that case, Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre was sentenced to death. Hatami lamented Wednesday how neither punishment would be possible under the current administration. After defeating former District Attorney Jackie Lacey in November’s general election, Gascón announced last week new changes in a series of special directives, which include ending the death penalty, cash bail for many offenses and sentencing enhancements, as well as shifting away from charging minors as adults in all county prosecutions.

Winnetka Hit-and-Run Leaves Canoga Park Woman Dead
A pedestrian believed to be in her mid-40s died Wednesday, Dec. 16, following a hit-and-run crash in Winnetka, police said. Officers were dispatched at about 5 a.m. to Roscoe Boulevard and Lurline Avenue, where a Canoga Park woman was fatally struck, Los Angeles Police Department. officials said. She died at the scene of the crash. Her name was not immediately released. Authorities were looking for a light-colored vehicle, possibly a tan or silver Chevrolet Tahoe, which was last seen traveling west on Roscoe Boulevard. A reward of up to $50,000 is available through the city’s Hit and Run Reward Program Trust Fund to anyone who can provide information that leads to a suspect. Police urged anyone with information to call LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division Officer Takishita at 818-644-8116 or 877-527-3247 during non-business hours. Callers can report a tip anonymously to the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

LAPD Arrests Man Suspected Of Groping Nearly 2 Dozen Women In Westwood Area
A man believed to behind nearly two dozen incidents of sexual battery in the Westwood area has been arrested, according to the LAPD. Derrick Kim, 32, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of sexual battery, after undercover detectives saw him grope the breasts of a 50-year-old homeless woman, according to LAPD officials. Los Angeles and UCLA police believe Kim to be behind a reported 23 misdemeanor sexual batteries around UCLA and Westwood Plaza since Oct. 23. In almost all of the reported crimes, the suspect approached a lone woman from behind, fondled her breasts or buttocks, then would run from the scene. The suspect was always described as wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a surgical-style mask that concealed his face. Working with UCLA police, undercover detectives from the LAPD’s West LA narcotics enforcement detail began surveillance on Kim. The detectives were still gathering information on Kim’s movements when they saw him grope the homeless woman, according to the LAPD. Kim was taken into custody without incident and remains in custody on $575,000 bail.

LASD Launches Homicide Investigation In South Gate Neighborhood
An investigation was underway after a man was found dead in a South Gate neighborhood off Tweedy Boulevard on Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. LASD Lt. Brandon Dean said homicide detectives were called in to assist the South Gate Police Department with a death investigation around 6:40 a.m. in the 2700 block of Nebraska Avenue. The victim, only identified as an adult male, was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was immediately released by authorities. Anyone with information is asked to contact the LASD Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can submit tips by calling "Crime Stoppers" at 800-222-8477. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online.

LA City Attorney Warns Residents Of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
City Attorney Mike Feuer Wednesday warned Los Angeles residents to beware of COVID-19 vaccine scams. Feuer said although the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered by Pfizer, they are not yet available to all. People should beware of texts or calls or house visits from people claiming they have a vaccine or can give people early access to an inoculation, he said. “While this is terrific news, the vaccine won’t be available on a widespread basis until spring or early summer,” Feuer said. “In the meantime, that means there will be a wait, and that wait is surely an opportunity for scammers to try to sell you fake vaccines that are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.” Feuer also advised people to contact their elderly family members with the information, as they can be the most vulnerable to being scammed.

Father, Son Charged With Robbing Trader Joe’s, Linked To Regional Holdup Spree
A father and son have been charged in federal court with robbery and firearms violations after a holdup at a Trader Joe’s market in Chino Hills, and prosecutors say evidence suggests that the men may have robbed 20 other Trader Joe’s in Southern California. Gregory Johnson, 43, and son Gregory Eric Johnson, 20, each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted as charged. The father is in custody and is due in court on Dec. 21. The son, who posted bond and was released, has a Jan. 12 court date. They have not entered pleas. FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Langan Cardenas, in an affidavit written to obtain a criminal complaint, said that about 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, a man entered the Trader Joe’s at 13911 Peyton Drive in Chino Hills and approached an employee working behind the manager’s station. Cardenas wrote that the man brandished a black handgun and took bundles of cash out of a drawer and put the money in the blue drawstring bag. The employee then put more cash in the bag, Cardenas wrote. In all, about $3,800 was taken.

‘Smothered By Lawlessness;’ Feds Announce SF Tenderloin Drug Ring Bust, Rail Against Lax Prosecution
An Oakland drug ring that federal officials say was enabled by lax prosecution and contributed to what law enforcement calls a public health emergency in San Francisco Tenderloin District has been broken up in a multi-agency operation. At a Wednesday morning press conference, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson announced charges against seven people who allegedly operated a drug trafficking operation in the Tenderloin while commuting from their homes in the East Bay. The indictment alleges that between July and December, the defendants routinely traveled to the Tenderloin to sell fentanyl, heroin and other narcotics to other drug pushers and directly to drug users. The defendants were identified as Emilson Jonathan Cruz Mayorquin, aka “Playboy” (Cruz), 23; Leydis Yaneth Cruz (Leydis), 42; Ivan Mauro Mayorquin (Mayorquin), 35; Pamela Carrero aka “Nicole,” aka “Kendra,” 20; Ana Maldonado, 22; Adonis Torres, 33; and Mayer Benegas-Medina, 27. According to the indictment, the organization was run primarily by Cruz and his mother, Leydis. The two allegedly worked with other associates including Cruz’s significant other (Maldonado); Cruz’s sister (Carrero) and her significant other (Torres); and another family member (Mayorquin) to engage in both street-level drug sales and sales to multiple re-sellers.

Public Safety News

Firefighter Injured Battling Large Commercial Building Fire In Chatsworth
Los Angeles firefighters extinguished a large blaze at a Chatsworth commercial building late Wednesday night after a 90-minute firefight. Crews first responded to the Arizona Pipeline Company building in the 20500 block of Sunburst Street at about 9:50 p.m. and found heavy fire and smoke coming from the roof of the building, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Just after 10 p.m., firefighters transitioned to a defensive operation and additional crews were called to the scene. A total of 16 fire companies were assigned to the fire and were able to successfully keep the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening burn injury, and the building was red-tagged due to the potential for collapse. The cause of the fire was under investigation by the LAFD arson team.

About 150 Firefighters Stop Brush Fire Near Getty Center At 3 Acres
A fire scorched about three acres of brush Wednesday near the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass area. Firefighters sent to the area of Getty Center Drive shortly after noon extinguished the flames in about an hour and 15 minutes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Nearly 150 firefighters were involved in the firefighting effort, including personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. No evacuations were ordered, no injuries were reported, and no structures were damaged. As a precaution, the Getty Center Drive offramp from the southbound 405 Freeway was closed, along with northbound Sepulveda Boulevard in the area, the LAFD reported. Some personnel remained on scene mopping up, and traffic was expected to be affected in the area into the afternoon, the LAFD reported.

LA County Reports 22,422 New COVID-19 Cases, Shatters Record For Most Deaths In Single Day
Marking the worst point of the COVID-19 pandemic, but warning of even more devastating times ahead, Los Angeles County health officials Wednesday reported record-shattering numbers of virus deaths, cases and hospitalizations that have the emergency medical system "under seige." Los Angeles County reported a whopping 22,422 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while attributing 7,000 of those cases to a backlog from a reporting lab. LA County initially reported 21,411 new cases before updating the numbers later Wednesday night. "These are nonetheless extraordinary numbers, and they represent transmission that continues to be out of control," said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. The new cases lifted the countywide cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 539,079. As a result of the influx in COVID-19 infection rates, "we will have an increase in deaths in the days and weeks to come," warned Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county's health services director. The county also reported the highest amount of deaths in a single day since the start of the pandemic,138 including the seven deaths reported in Pasadena. The new deaths lifted the countywide cumulative total to 8,568.

California’s Record COVID-19 Surge Persists: 51,724 Cases And 393 Deaths In A Single Day
Single-day pandemic records were shattered across California yet again on Wednesday. For the first time, a Los Angeles Times county-by-county tally found more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases and nearly 400 deaths in California reported in a single day. The Times survey Wednesday night found 51,724 new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, shattering the state’s single-day record broken on Monday, when 42,088 cases were reported. The Times tally also found 393 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday across California, breaking the record set Tuesday, when 295 deaths were recorded. Cumulatively, California has now reported 1.7 million coronavirus cases and 21,887 COVID-19 deaths. California is now tallying an average of 203 COVID-19 deaths a day over a weekly period, and 35,200 cases a day — both records, and both quadruple the numbers from mid-November. The number of people hospitalized in California for COVID-19 has been increasing and breaking records for 18 consecutive days. On Tuesday, the most recent data available, 14,939 people across the state were in the hospital with coronavirus infections — more than six times larger than the comparable number on Halloween.

Local Government News

Transportation Secretary Job Is Off The Table. Where Does That Leave Eric Garcetti?
The waiting game continues for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Angelenos watching to see if he will serve out the remaining two years of his term. President-elect Joe Biden’s team is announcing nominations for Cabinet positions, but the mayor’s name has yet to be called. On Tuesday, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg was announced as Biden’s nominee for secretary of Transportation, a post for which Garcetti at one point was viewed as a contender. It has been reported that Garcetti, who is close to Biden and served as a co-chair of his presidential campaign, could be appointed a climate change advisor or to some other climate-related post. But former Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy was reportedly tapped this week as Biden’s domestic climate coordinator, further whittling down the number of jobs available to Garcetti. Others have suggested he could become ambassador to Mexico. Garcetti hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he may join Biden, helping to stoke the speculation. Garcetti, whose term ends in 2022, said in October that “it’s more likely than not” that he’ll be mayor in two years but also said he’s open to a role where he could “help the most people.”

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: