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 18, 2020
Law Enforcement News

LA County DA George Gascon's Sentencing Policies Questioned By Crime Victims' Families
More than three decades ago in Agoura Hills, Enid Antero's 6-year-old little brother was murdered. She relives that day often. "That day he never made it home. He had been abducted, beaten, raped, sodomized and stabbed to death," Enid said. Up until five years ago, Miguel Antero's brutal killing was a cold case. A suspect is now in custody. But a new ruling from new L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon is affecting the case. Every case needs to be looked at individually," Enid said. "Justice needs to be delivered for these children. His way and his method that he's planning to use is not going to work for cases like ours." After winning the election, Gascon ordered the end of cash bail, the death penalty and sentencing enhancements in L.A. County prosecutions. That means Miguel's suspected killer won't face special circumstance charges that could potentially extend his sentence.

New L.A. County D.A. George Gascón’s Reforms Are Hitting Courtrooms, And At Least One Judge Wasn’t Happy
The sweeping directives Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón issued on his first day in office are rankling longtime justice system officials, with the fight now playing out in some courtrooms. In a Dec. 8 hearing at the Van Nuys Courthouse, Judge Shellie Samuels denied a deputy district attorney’s request to withdraw enhancements added to charges against four defendants. According to an email from Gascón’s second-in-command, Chief Deputy Joseph Iniguez, Samuels said during the hearing that she opposed the D.A.’s policies. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file LAPD officers and supported Lacey for re-election, excoriated the order. “Shorter prison terms for the worst offenders,” union officials wrote. “Gang members get out sooner to harass witnesses. The criminals-first agenda is real.”

Los Angeles DA Responds To ‘Fear-Mongering,' Outrage Over New Directives
The Los Angeles district attorney has responded to "fear-mongering" about new directives introduced in the last two weeks, according to reports. District Attorney George Gascon has dealt with backlash to directives introduced shortly after he was sworn in just nine days ago. The special directive ends cash bail for misdemeanor and nonserious or nonviolent felonies and stops the DA's office from pursuing the death penalty and sentencing enhancements in county prosecutions, FOX 11 LA reported. The directive drew outrage from the families of victims most directly affected by the rule changes. The family of Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old Lancaster boy who was tortured and murdered, have been incredibly vocal about how deeply hurt they are over the directive change, ABC 7 reported. "They need to be punished. I don't care," Maria Barron, Avalos' aunt, said at a news conference outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday. "They need to go to prison for life, death penalty, it still won't be enough." "There's a hole in my heart, Mr. Gascon, that will never be filled because Anthony will always be missing."

‘Possible Shooting Suspect’ Arrested After Chase Ends In Harbor Gateway
What police called a “possible shooting suspect” surrendered to officers in Harbor Gateway Thursday evening after a high-speed chase on several freeways through South Los Angeles and the Westside. Officers began pursuing the possible shooter about 8:10 p.m. in South Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Mike Lopez. The shots were fired near West 77th and Figueroa streets, and police started chasing the suspect in the black Infiniti less than a mile away near Figueroa Street and Manchester Avenue, KCAL9 reported. It was not immediately clear if anyone was struck by gunfire. By 8:20 p.m., the suspect was traveling over 100 mph on the westbound Santa Monica (10) Freeway and soon got onto the San Diego (405) Freeway and traveled northbound to Westwood.

Authorities ID Woman Killed In Hit-And-Run In Winnetka Area; Driver At Large
Authorities Thursday identified a pedestrian who was killed in a hit-and-run in the Winnetka area, and continued their efforts to find the motorist responsible for her death. Lorena Ponce, 46, of Canoga Park was struck about 5 a.m. Thursday at Roscoe Boulevard and Lurline Avenue and died at the scene, according to the coroner’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department. Authorities are 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 the arrest and conviction of a suspect or a civil resolution when a hit and run results in a death. Police urged anyone with information to call LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division Officer Takishita at 818-644-8116; or 877-LAPD-247 during non-business hours.

$32 Million Worth Of Fake Viagra Pills, Footwear, Goods Seized At L.A., Long Beach Ports
More than one million fake erectile dysfunction pills, counterfeit footwear, belts, purses and headphones were seized at the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports, authorities said Thursday. The seized counterfeit products were found in three containerized cargo shipments from China, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release. If the products were genuine, officials said the goods would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $32,161,194.00. “Criminals are exploiting e-commerce platforms to sell counterfeit and often dangerous goods to unwitting holiday shoppers,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP’s director of field operations in Los Angeles. Authorities said counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy and fund criminal activity. “Commercial piracy and product counterfeiting undermine the U.S. economy, rob Americans of jobs, stifle American innovation and promote other types of crimes,” David A. Prince, a special agent for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, said in a written statement. “Intellectual property theft amounts to economic sabotage.”

With COVID-19 Vaccines Rolling Out, L.A. City Attorney Warns: ‘Don’t Pay For The Promise Of Access To The Vaccine’
With the United States in its early stages of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has a warning for residents: “Don’t pay for the promise of access to the vaccine.” Supplies are scarce, with mass vaccination still months away and scams already cropping up in Europe. Currently, California is prioritizing high-risk health care workers and those in skilled nursing facilities with the limited number of doses. Officials anticipate about 3 million Californians will be vaccinated at this stage. California’s teachers, first responders, and grocery and restaurant workers are among those expected to get the next round of vaccines — a stage in which the state aims to vaccinate about 8 million residents. And in a state of about 40 million residents, that means the majority of people won’t have access to the vaccine for months to come. The City Attorney warns that this will bring scams. “While the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine is terrific news, it won’t be available on a widespread basis until late spring or early summer,” Feuer said in a video statement. “In the meantime, there will be a wait—and that is surely an opportunity for scammers to try to sell you fake vaccines that are ineffective at best—and dangerous at worst.”

Six-Figure Scammers Illegally Depleting Online Gift Cards
“The money that was lost in the victims we identified was about $100,000, this one particular case.” An undercover detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s cyber crime investigative unit is talking about a woman they recently arrested for illegally depleting gift cards from unsuspecting victims. He says this is a problem all year long, but they’re seeing it a lot more now because the pandemic has boosted online shopping – especially now during the holidays. The detective tells us it starts with the hacker downloading particular software that’s free and easy to get. Then, the criminal configures or customizes it to do a specific task. “There are legitimate websites that retailers use to verify the value of a card before its used,” he said. “This software allows that process to happen a lot faster. It goes through that website and identifies one at a time, at a very fast pace, which cards have values to it.” Once a value is found on an account number, the hacker can then re-encode that value onto other cards. The detective says at that point, they can use it online or inside a store.

Public Safety News

Two Rescued Dogs Embark On Their New Careers As Rescuers With The LA County Fire Department
Two rescue dogs have been added to the Los Angeles County Fire Department search and rescue team, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation announced Tuesday. Bond and Mattis were added to Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 2, the foundation reported. They join the ranks of dogs across the country who have graduated from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in Santa Paula. Among their jobs, they'll search for survivors in the aftermath of natural disasters. The dogs and handlers will work together daily throughout the next year, developing skills and bonding. Once certified, they can deploy with fire departments and task forces. The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation rescues dogs and trains them to work with first responders. Bond, black Labrador retriever, was born at Dogs for Better Lives in Oregon. Mattis, an 18-month-old German shepherd/Belgian Malinois, went home with a family at 7 weeks old, but things didn't work out due to his high energy, strong toy driver and recent life changes for the owner. That same high energy and drive made Mattis a good search-rescue dog candidate.

Coronavirus: L.A. County Reported 14,418 New Cases And 102 New Deaths As Of Dec. 17
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 14,418 new cases of the coronavirus reported, bringing the total number of cases to 580,325 as of Thursday, Dec. 17. The 102 new deaths reported by L.A. County brought the total number of deaths to 8,664. Hospitalizations continue to reach new highs. There were 208 more patients infected with the coronavirus hospitalized as of Thursday. The total number of patients in L.A. County hospitals is 4,864 with 20% in ICUs. The breakdown of people infected with the coronavirus by age is as follows: 0-4: 10,516, 5-11: 24,133, 12-17: 29,729, 18-29: 136,729, 30-49: 188,290, 50-64: 103,662, 65-79: 39,855, and over 80: 15,562. Data posted each day is preliminary and subject to change, officials emphasize. More information may become available as individual case investigations are completed.

California: More Than 1,000 Virus Deaths In Last 5 Days
The coronavirus toll in California reached another frightening milestone Thursday with health officials announcing a one-day record of 379 deaths and a two-day total of nearly 106,000 newly confirmed cases. The nation’s most populous state has recorded more than 1,000 deaths in the last five days. Its overall case total now tops 1.7 million, a figure nearly equal to Spain’s and only surpassed by eight countries. The state’s overall death toll has reached 21,860. Many of California’s hospitals are running out of capacity to treat the severest cases, and the situation is complicating care for non-COVID patients. “It’s pretty much all COVID,” said Arlene Brion, a respiratory therapist at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Orange County, where she’s assigned six or seven patients rather than the usual one to three. “There’s probably two areas that are clean but we’re all thinking eventually it’s all going to be COVID.”

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: