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

January 13, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Reports 19 Homicides In First 12 Days Of New Year
The city of Los Angeles has experienced more than twice the number of homicides during the first 12 days of 2021 than it saw in the same period of 2020, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. Moore said there had been 19 homicides in 2021, including a teenage boy killed in the San Fernando Valley Monday night and three men killed in South Los Angeles within six hours of each other on Sunday. During the first 12 days of 2020, there were nine homicides. “Shooting violence has continued at a velocity that does need a great deal of concern,” Moore said during Tuesday’s Los Angeles Police Commission meeting. “Of the 19 homicides, 12 we know, right now, we believe are involved in gangs or are gang-related in one fashion or another.” Moore said he spoke with gang intervention specialists working in the South Los Angeles and Hollenbeck divisions in an effort to find strategies to curb the increase in violence.

Man Shot, Killed In Van Nuys, Gunman On The Loose
Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a man in Van Nuys early Wednesday morning. Gunshots were reported at around 2 a.m. in the area of Peach Avenue and Hart Street, according to Los Angeles police. Officers arrived on scene to find a man with gunshot wounds. He died at the scene, police said. His name was not released. The circumstances of the killing were unclear. Footage from the scene appeared to show a minivan which had driven into a fence. No suspects have been arrested and no motive has been identified. It’s unclear if the shooting is gang-related.

One Person Fatally Shot In Fairfax District
One person was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon in the Fairfax District by a suspect who remained at large Tuesday evening. Officers were called about 2:30 p.m. to the area of North Ogden Drive and Melrose Avenue, near North Genessee Avenue, said Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department. A male victim — whose name and age were not immediately released — was taken in a private car to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, she said. Police have not identified a suspect or motive, Cervantes said.

2 Men Arrested In 15-Year-Old Boy’s Shooting Death In Pacoima
Two men were being held on suspicion of murder Tuesday after a 15-year-old boy was shot dead in Pacoima the day before, officials said. The gunfire was reported around 6 p.m. Monday at an apartment complex on the 12700 block of Van Nuys Boulevard, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. Responding officers found the teen boy lying on the grass in a courtyard area, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and not breathing. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, LAPD said. Police were not releasing the victim’s name and described him only as Latino. Officers who were at the scene spotted two men who matched the assailants’ description running into a market nearby and took them into custody. LAPD identified the suspects as 21-year-old Walter Smith and Ja’Ree Robertson, 18. Both men were booked on suspicion of murder, each on $2 million bail, according to police

Three Injured In Shooting Near Avalon Gardens In South Los Angeles
Three people were wounded in a shooting Tuesday evening near the Avalon Gardens housing project in South Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department said. Officers responded just before 8 p.m. to a shooting near 89th Street and Central Avenue, LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes said. Two males and one female were struck by gunfire, Cervantes said. They were hospitalized and said to be stable as of Tuesday night, she said. The LAPD was searching Tuesday night for four suspects, described only as Latino men.

‘We Are Aware Of Threats’: Local Law Enforcement Assessing Risks Following FBI Warning
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore Tuesday said the department has deployed additional personnel to ensure safety. “We are aware of threats and tips and leads involving targeting of state Capitols on the 17th of January as well as events on the 20th of January,” Moore said. The statement came the day after investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned law enforcement across the nation that a number of groups were calling for the “storming” of federal, state and local courthouses. And while LAPD and the FBI said there were no known credible threats to the Los Angeles area, departments in the region — including the Beverly Hills Police Department which put out a video Tuesday — said they were assessing risks and were in communication with local and state officials. State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, who plans to introduce legislation focused on white nationalist movements and domestic terrorism, said state buildings were being surveyed. 

LAPD Panel Approves New Oversight Of Facial Recognition, Rejects Calls To End Program
The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a policy Tuesday that set new parameters on the LAPD’s use of facial recognition technology, but stopped far short of the outright ban sought by many city activists. The move followed promises by the commission to review the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of photo-comparison software in September, after The Times reported that officers had used the technology — contrary to department claims — more than 30,000 times since 2009. The new policy restricts LAPD detectives and other trained officers to using a single software platform operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which only uses mugshots and is far less expansive than some third-party search platforms. It also mandates new measures for tracking the Police Department’s use of the county system and its outcomes in the crime fight. Commissioners and top police executives praised the policy as a step in the right direction, saying it struck the right balance between protecting people’s civil liberties and giving cops the tools they need to solve and reduce crime — which is on the rise. They called on the LAPD’s inspector general to assess the program’s “efficacy” moving forward and promised to revisit the policy if such reviews showed that it is flawed or ineffective.

Police Investigating Racist Graffiti On Sylmar Buildings
The walls are cleanly painted now but hours earlier, at least six locations in Sylmar were spraypainted with a vile two-word racist message aimed at African Americans we would not repeat. "It's hateful, .. we don't condone this.. we're going to devote a lot of resources to finding out who did this," said Mission Division Captain Michael Odle of the Los Angeles Police Department. Out on Foothill Boulevard, it appears no one even knew what had happened. Because the hateful message was apparently spraypainted during the overnight or early morning hours, police were able to mobilize their anti-graffiti resources early enough to remove the graffiti by the late morning. Police called the graffiti an "aberration." Detectives are canvassing for witnesses, and have a lot of security camera footage to look through, as of this writing no clear leads. 

L.A. Officials Cut Utilities To Fairfax Home After Repeated Violations Of Party Ban
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said it cut utilities Tuesday to a Fairfax district home where at least three parties were held in violation of the city’s ban on large gatherings. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office approved the shut-off in line with a public order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. At least 40 people attended a party Saturday at the home in the 800 block of North Curson Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers arrived at the home at 11 p.m. after receiving a complaint of a gathering at a “social media influencer residence” and cleared the party, an LAPD spokesman said. Police previously responded to party violations on Sept. 12-13 and Oct. 17 and issued warning notices. Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said in a statement that each time they went to the home, officers informed the residents that large gatherings were in violation of the mayor’s public order. He said that after the October party, a “mayor’s office staffer spoke with both the property owner and a tenant to warn them that any future violation would result in a disconnection of utilities.” The utilities will stay off until the mayor’s office orders them to be turned back on, said LADWP spokeswoman Ellen Cheng.

Chief: 50 People Died From Homicide In Seattle In 2020, Most In 26 Years
Calling 2020 a year like no other, interim Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz said Monday his department's homicide detectives investigated 50 homicides last year, representing a 61% increase over the 31 people killed as a result of homicidal violence in the city in 2019. Citing data that shows homicides across the country were up 36% in 2020 compared to the previous year, Diaz said Seattle's 50 homicides were the most investigated in the city in 26 years. Sgt. Randy Huserik, a spokesperson for the Seattle Police Department (SPD), said the number did not include the investigation into the June double-shooting of Jessica Lewis, 35, and her boyfriend, Austin Wenner, 27, whose dismembered bodies were found in several bags that washed ashore on Alki Beach. Though their deaths were investigated by SPD homicide detectives, it was determined they were killed in Burien. In August, King County prosecutors charged the couple's landlord, Michael Lee Dudley, with two counts of second-degree murder. Most of last year's homicide victims were men between the ages of 18 and 49, and 49% of victims were Black, the chief said.

Public Safety News

L.A. County Approaching 1 Million Coronavirus Cases As Officials Brace For New Hospital Surge
Los Angeles County is fast approaching 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, a massive milestone that means 1 out of every 10 Angelenos has been infected at some point during the pandemic. That L.A. County, by far the nation’s most populous, has such a high case count is not a shock, but the rapidity with which infections have grown is staggering. It took the county nearly 11 months to top 500,000 coronavirus cases, which occurred in mid-December. At the current rate, L.A. County will crest the 1-million mark by the end of this week, doubling its colossal case count in a month. The approaching benchmark comes two weeks before the one-year anniversary of the county’s first confirmed coronavirus case. Even after residents spent months of living with the threat of COVID-19, and under various restrictions aimed at curbing transmission of the virus, officials say it’s more important than ever for people to rededicate themselves to infection-prevention protocols, and redouble their efforts to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Coronavirus: California’s Post-Holiday Surge Is Here, But There Is Good News
A post-holiday coronavirus surge is taking shape across California almost two weeks into the new year, public health officials said Tuesday. But the number of new cases following gatherings at Christmas and New Year’s so far does not appear to be nearly as large as the one after Thanksgiving that swamped hospitals and led to new shelter-in-place orders. Even if it’s less severe than feared, the increase is adding to the overwhelming strain on hospital systems, and there is no sign that COVID-19’s death toll is slowing down: As patients who fell ill weeks earlier succumb to the disease, California continues to endure the deadliest stretch of the pandemic to date, losing almost 500 people to the virus each day on average over the past week. On Monday, the state shot past 30,000 deaths from the pandemic, which Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly called “an important and sad milestone.” Still, state and local health officials struck a cautiously optimistic tone Tuesday that California may be blunting the alarming rise of new cases it saw through December.

Local Government News

L.A., City Unions Strike Tentative Deal To Delay Raises, Avoid Layoffs And Furloughs
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has struck a tentative deal with civilian city employee unions to avoid layoffs and furloughs for the next six months, by postponing raises for those workers until the summer of 2022. The Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents clerks, gardeners, mechanics, custodians and many other municipal employees, tentatively agreed to push back a 2% raise scheduled for this month and another 2% planned for June. Garcetti confirmed the broad outlines of the deal, saying in a statement that he hopes to reach similar agreements with sworn employees at the city’s police and fire departments. “The COVID-19 crisis has caused the most devastating economic downturn Los Angeles has ever faced, and we have asked our labor partners to help us save jobs and services by deferring their scheduled raises,” he said. The agreement must be ratified by the coalition’s more than 18,000 members. Some at City Hall are hoping Tuesday’s announcement will place new pressure on the Police Protective League, the union that represents roughly 9,800 officers at the Los Angeles Police Department. That union has previously declined to meet with negotiators or offer financial concessions. LAPD officers are scheduled to receive a 3.25% pay increase at the end of the month. Earlier this week, the department submitted a layoff list to the city’s budget team, identifying 355 officer positions that could be eliminated in the coming months. The proposal would take LAPD sworn staffing below 9,400 and eliminate units specifically assigned to combat crime in Venice Beach, Hollywood’s tourist areas and neighborhoods that surround USC, according to reports submitted by the department. If Garcetti and the City Council sign off on the cuts, the LAPD would move ahead with the dismantling of units focused on human trafficking, missing persons and white-collar crime, those reports said. The Police Protective League has repeatedly ruled out the idea of concessions, noting that the City Council voted in July to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget. The move forced the department to slash overtime pay and reduce sworn staffing to levels not seen in more than decade. Those cuts, the union’s board said in a statement, have left the LAPD with hundreds fewer officers to “stem the rise in gun violence” in the city. “We understand the sacrifice other city workers are making because we have already sacrificed,” the board said.

Councilman Kevin De Leon Calls For 25,000 Units For LA’s Homeless By 2025
Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin De Leon unveiled a plan on Tuesday, Jan. 12, aimed at creating 25,000 dwelling units by 2025 for people experiencing homelessness, saying that local officials need to follow a “North Star” when addressing the city’s housing crisis. De Leon, who first took office last October, said the current pace of housing people experiencing homelessness has not met the needs of the “crisis that’s unfolding on our city streets every single day.” “It’s not acceptable,” he said in a conference call Tuesday morning. An estimated 41,000 people were homeless in the city, as of last January. In recent years, city and county leaders have scrambled to find them shelter. Dozens of permanent housing projects and shelters have been built or are in the pipeline, only for public officials to be overwhelmed by the growing number of people falling into homeless each year. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to record unemployment numbers and plunged the economy into a recession, is expected to exacerbate the homelessness crisis.

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: