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 20, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Korean Americans Who Remember 1992 Riots Fight To Save LAPD Station
During the 1992 riots, Chang Lee stood on the roof of his family’s mini-mall in Koreatown holding a borrowed gun he didn’t know how to use. When he spotted people emerging from a store with stolen cellphones, he could only yell helplessly. His stomach dropped when he saw a gas station burning on television and recognized it as one of his family’s businesses. “Where the hell is everybody? Where is the police? Is this for real? Where is America?” Lee recalled thinking. “There was anger. There was a big question — how could this happen?” Lee’s views of the LAPD have dramatically shifted since then. In 2009, the department opened a station just outside Koreatown — with some officers answering their cellphones in Korean to respond to concerns large and small. Last month, Lee was among the Korean American leaders who rallied when LAPD Chief Michel Moore flagged Olympic station as potentially slated for closure amid steep proposed budget cuts. Their efforts were bolstered by a petition with more than 17,000 signatures. Moore is now saying he will keep the station open.The groundswell of support for the LAPD in Koreatown also shows the disconnection between the calls for defunding the police during the nationwide George Floyd protests last summer and some residents who fear a police withdrawal will leave them less protected against crime. “More than any other community, we know and have a better appreciation of what LAPD means to our community,” said Lee, 63, chairman of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles and co-founder of a booster association for Olympic station. 

Northern California Sheriff’s Deputy, K-9 Dog, Driver Dead Following Shootout
A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told reporters. The deputy who died was a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said. “He leaves behind a wife and an infant child,” Jones said. The injured deputy was in stable condition, he said. The suspect was a man in his 40s, Jones said. Names of those involved weren’t immediately released. The pursuit and shooting followed an attempted traffic stop, Jones said, and the driver ended up crashing on the Cal Expo grounds. “One of the K-9 officers deployed a K-9 dog up to the vehicle to try and assist getting the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect immediately shot and killed the K-9 unit, then immediately started firing at the officers,” Jones said. Numerous deputies fired weapons during the shootout.

Family Seeks Answers After Shooting Death Of 26-Year-Old Security Guard At Downtown L.A. Party
Family members are mourning the loss of 26-year-old Fernando Luis Rosas, who died on Dec. 6 in a shooting in downtown Los Angeles. They say he was killed while working as a security guard during a party. Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at 213-486-6890. To provide information anonymously, call “Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-8477 or visit their website. Gene Kang reports for the KTLA 5 News at 10 on Jan. 14, 2021.

Police Arrest Suspect Following Brief Car Chase In Glassell Park Area
Police Tuesday arrested a suspect who led them on a brief car chase in the Glassell Park area. The chase ended about 7:40 a.m. in the 1900 block of Wollam Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers began chasing the motorist a few minutes earlier, police said. The man was wanted for allegedly making criminal threats, police said. His name was not immediately available.

Judge Won’t Dismiss Sentencing Enhancements In Woodland Hills Murder Case
A judge rejected a bid Tuesday, Jan. 19, by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss special-circumstance allegations that could result in a life prison term without the possibility of parole for a woman charged, with her accused lover, in the stabbing death of her husband, a prominent hairdresser, at his Woodland Hills home four years ago. Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen’s decision in the case of Monica Sementilli, 49, and Robert Louis Baker, 58, marks the latest in a series of cases in which judges have rebuffed attempts by the District Attorney’s Office to dismiss sentencing enhancements under a directive from new District Attorney George Gascon, who has said there is “ample evidence sentencing enhancements do not necessarily make us any safer.” Court papers filed by attorney Robin Sax, representing victim Fabio Sementilli’s son and two of his sisters, called on the judge to keep in place the special-circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and murder while lying in wait. “Our family will never get closure like this,” wrote Luigi Sementilli, the victim’s son from a prior marriage. “Gascon’s special directive must be suspended for this case. “It is truly disturbing to know that such a blanket directive can come into effect without any reference to the circumstances of each case,” he wrote. “This does not encourage an arena for justice.”

‘No Credible Threat’ To Los Angeles Ahead Of Inauguration, Law Enforcement Leaders Say
Law enforcement leaders across Los Angeles County are beefing up patrols and are on high alert for any threat that may arise ahead of the inauguration Wednesday of President-elect Joe Biden. “Right now there is no credible threat,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news briefing on Tuesday with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Kristi Johnson, the FBI’s assistant director in charge in L.A. “Our mission is to act as if there was one — we are prepared.” The Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, which together police most of L.A. County, will increase the number of uniformed deputies and officers on the streets and transit systems, Villanueva and Moore said. Bomb-sniffing dogs will also be out in force, while detectives and others not typically assigned to patrol will be available to respond to any disturbances. Officials said that 200 National Guard troops are stationed nearby and that the U.S. Postal Service will temporarily remove several mailboxes in key locations in the area. “We have no plans or desire to deploy these troops, but they are ready if needed,” Garcetti said. “I want to be very clear. If you are planning violence here in Los Angeles, you will be stopped. You will be prosecuted and you will pay the price.” Moore said there are three demonstrations planned for Wednesday, including at MacArthur Park and at City Hall. “All three of them are expected to be peaceful,” Moore said.

Man Shot And Killed In Hawthorne, Deputies Say
A homicide investigation is underway in Hawthorne Tuesday evening. Authorities responded to a call of a shooting in the 4700 block of Imperial Highway in Hawthorne around 4:15 p.m. A man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who is helping the Hawthorne Police Department with the investigation. Officials have not released the deceased man's identity. A suspect has not been identified as of Tuesday night. Anyone with information on the deadly shooting is asked to call 323-890-5500.

FBI Arrests 3 Beverly Hills Residents In Connection With Capitol Riot
Three Beverly Hills residents were arrested over the holiday weekend by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Capitol riot. Gina Bisignano, 52, was arrested Tuesday. John Strand, 37, and Simone Gold, 55, were arrested on Monday. The FBI made the arrests, assisted by the Beverly Hills Police Department. All arrests occurred without incident. All three were charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Bisignano faces additional charges of civil disorder, destruction of government property, aiding and abetting and obstruction of an official proceeding. The defendants were expected to appear in federal court Tuesday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles for an initial appearance.

Multiple Life Terms For San Diego Man Who Killed Four In 2016
A mentally ill San Diego man who admitted to deadly attacks primarily on homeless men — killing three of them by hammering their bodies with railroad spikes — was sentenced Tuesday to multiple terms of life in prison without parole. Jon David Guerrero, 43, received four life sentences without parole, plus an additional 143 years to life in prison, for the attacks. Guerrero’s sentencing in San Diego Superior Court came nearly a year after he pleaded guilty to murdering four people and assaulting nine others in the bizarre and brutal crimes in 2016. Among the charges he admitted to four counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson — two of the slaying victims were set on fire. “In the summer of 2016, there was a period of about 18 days that the defendant really terrorized the community,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Makenzie Harvey said during Guerrero’s sentencing hearing at the San Diego Central Courthouse. All but one of the attacks occurred between late June and mid-July 2016. Harvey said the assailant targeted “the most vulnerable in our community.”

Community Mourns Garden Grove Police Lieutenant Who Died After Battle With COVID-19
The casket of Garden Grove police Lt. John Reynolds was draped with an American flag Monday as fellow officers led a solemn procession from a hospital to the mortuary. The 59-year-old was hospitalized with COVID-19 in November, and passed away Sunday morning. Colleague and friend Lt. Carl Whitney got choked up talking about Reynold’s impact on the Garden Grove Police Department. “He’s going to be missed,” Whitney said. “He was a selfless person. He loved his job. He loved his community.” The 25-year veteran of the department worked his way up from the patrol division, serving as a gang officer, SWAT team member, and undercover investigator, all before being promoted to lieutenant in 2018. “He gave his life to this community,” Whitney said. Reynolds’ fellow officers in uniform gave one last salute as his hearse drove by the police station Monday.

Public Safety News

LA County Reports 7,902 COVID-19 Cases, Surpasses 14K Total Deaths
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 7,902 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 186 more deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,031,874 cases and 14,122 deaths. Health officials said the number of new cases and deaths reported reflected a reporting lag from over the weekend and Monday’s holiday. Of the 185 deaths reported, 69 people were over the age of 80, 56 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 48 people were between the ages of 50 and 64, 11 people were between the ages of 30 and 49 and one person was between the ages of 12 and 17. Of the total number of people who died for whom information about race and ethnicity was available, 52% of deaths occurred among Latinx residents, 24% among white residents, 14% among Asian residents, 9% among Black residents, less than 1% among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents and 2% among residents identifying with other races.

COVID-19 Mutations Rise With Cases In L.A. And Elsewhere, Posing New Challenge
The race against the virus that causes COVID-19 has taken a new turn: Mutations are rapidly popping up, and the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a variant that can elude current tests, treatments and vaccines could emerge. The coronavirus is becoming more genetically diverse, and health officials say the high rate of new cases is the main reason. Each new infection gives the virus a chance to mutate as it makes copies of itself, threatening to undo the progress made so far to control the pandemic. On Friday, the World Health Organization urged more effort to detect new variants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a new version first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March. Although it doesn’t cause more severe illness, it will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths just because it spreads much more easily, said the CDC, warning of “a new phase of exponential growth.” “We’re taking it really very seriously,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

LA County Expands COVID-19 Vaccines To Residents 65 And Older
Los Angeles County began scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for residents aged 65 and older Tuesday, advancing an effort that wasn't expected to start until February, but limited vaccine supplies and uncertainty about future allocations has left the inoculation effort shrouded in doubt. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there are adequate vaccine supplies to get through this week's appointments -- about 50,000 of them at the public sites -- but the county has no idea how many more doses it'll be getting next week. "One of the issues that everyone has had around the allocation and distribution from the federal government is it has been week-to-week, which makes it difficult for our sites to do a lot of planning, and it really makes it difficult to extend appointments beyond a few days, which makes it hard on the public," she said.

California Surpasses 3 Million Coronavirus Cases
California has surpassed the 3 million mark of coronavirus cases, according to NBC News. The state confirmed 3,007,420 cases and 33,595 deaths Sunday night. The state reported 432 deaths on Sunday, a day after recording the second-highest daily count of 669, according to the Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions remained on a slight downward trend, but officials have warned that could reverse when the full impact from transmissions during Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings is felt. “As case numbers continue to rise in California, the total number of individuals who will have serious outcomes will also increase,” the health department said in a statement Sunday. There have been about 500 deaths and 40,000 new cases daily for the past two weeks. Lawmakers and public health officials have said the surge won't be flattened without mass vaccinations, but California has trailed the rest of the country when it comes to inoculating its residents.

Local Government News

LA Looks Into Using Convention Center As Homeless Shelter
The City Council ordered an evaluation Tuesday on the potential use of the Los Angeles Convention Center as a temporary emergency homeless shelter. The council, on a unanimous vote, instructed the city administrative officer and chief legislative analyst, with assistance from several departments including the Convention and Tourism Department and Bureau of Engineering, to conduct the assessment and report back within 30 days. The motion was introduced by councilmen Curren Price and Kevin De León on Nov. 10. “Sheltering our population experiencing homelessness is an urgent priority for the city. The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, published by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on July 20, 2020, reported that 41,290 individuals were experiencing homelessness in the city, an increase of 16.1 percent over 2019,” the motion reads. “Of this group, 28,852 individuals are unsheltered.” The convention center, located at 1201 S. Figueroa St. in downtown Los Angeles, is owned by the city and managed by the Convention and Tourism Department.

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: