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 21, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Families of Murdered Officers Speak Out Against Gascon 
Last week, DA Gascon attempted to remove "enhanced" sentences for the accused murderers of three law enforcement officers. Their families speak out against Gascon's ploy to take away tougher sentencing for cop killers.

Prosecutors Barred From Attending Serial Child Rapist’s Parole Hearing Under Gascon Reforms
Los Angeles deputy district attorneys who successfully prosecuted the case against a pedophile who raped and sexually assaulted a brother and sister when they were children will be barred from attending the man’s upcoming parole hearing as part of new District Attorney George Gascón’s reforms, and the mother of the victims is outraged. Ruben Beltran, a convicted pedophile, has been imprisoned since May 2004, serving a sentence of 15 to life after he was convicted of sexual assault of a child with intent to commit sodomy by force or fear. In the early 2000s, Beltran raped and assaulted a young girl when she was six, and a young boy when he was eight. The shock was made even worse when the family learned that under D.A George Gascón’s reforms, their prosecutor won’t be allowed to attend Beltran’s parole hearing, and the family will be left to argue against his release on their own.

Fresno County DA Criticizes LA County DA George Gascón Over Policy Changes
Fresno County's top prosecutor has penned a letter to her counterpart in Los Angeles County, telling him that a series of controversial directives he issued upon taking office last month are "extreme" and "already wreaking havoc on crime victims." The letter, dated Monday, is the second that George Gascón has been sent in recent weeks in which a district attorney from another county has refused to grant him jurisdiction in cases involving defendants accused of committing crimes in the counties they represent. Last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert characterized many of Gascón's directives as "illegal and unconstitutional" --  a contention repeated again by Fresno County D.A. Lisa A. Smittcamp. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office could not be reached for immediate comment on the latest letter. Last week, Gascón said "prosecutors like Ms. Schubert love to push their backwards policies in the names of victims, but they do so in ignorance of the harm caused to the broader community and the additional victims the date shows these policies create in the future." Smittcamp wrote: "Your special directives are extreme, and they are already wreaking havoc on crime victims and ignoring their constitutional rights. Your lack of concern for victims' rights and public safety is of great concern to all of us who pride ourselves on protecting those very things. Crime has no boundaries, and these special directives will certainly impact areas outside of Los Angeles County."

Repeat DUI Driver Killed 42-Year-Old Woman In Hit-And-Run: High Court Rules No Way He’s Going Free
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a repeat DUI offender who was convicted of fleeing from the scene of a crash and colliding with another car in North Hills, killing a 42-year-old woman. Estuardo Alvarado is serving a state prison sentence of more than 21 years to life on charges stemming from the Feb. 19, 2017, collision that killed Sandra Duran. The first jury to hear the case against Alvarado deadlocked on a murder charge, but convicted him of one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, driving with over a 0.08% blood-alcohol content and hit-and-run driving resulting in injury. At his second trial, jurors found Alvarado guilty of second-degree murder. In a ruling last Nov. 4, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s claims that his conviction for gross vehicular manslaughter in his first trial precluded his second trial for murder under double jeopardy principles and that jurors in his second trial shouldn’t have seen video from a responding officer’s body camera in the aftermath of the fatal crash.

Southern California Law Enforcement Girded For Inauguration Day Protests, But Few Materialized
The possibility of major protests that some feared would materialize at state capitals and elsewhere around the country on Inauguration Day mostly fizzled out, with a small group of black-clad protesters showing up in Sacramento and scattered groups demonstrating across Southern California. Several Los Angeles-area law enforcement agencies on Tuesday promised to be out in force on Inauguration Day, and warned any violence would be met with a swift response. Three events scheduled for the downtown L.A. area met little police response. A car rally was expected to drive around MacArthur Park by the afternoon and a local roofer and waterproofer union held a small rally near City Hall, celebrating the inauguration and calling for pro-worker aims, such as a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. After the workers union rally, a small group of anti-racist protesters challenged LAPD officers who told a food truck in support of the rally to leave the area. About a dozen protesters stood off with motorcycle officers on Main Street near First Street. “Move, … get out the way, get out the way,” protesters chanted at officers, walking toward them. Minutes later, officers on horseback formed a line and pushed toward protesters and members of the media, forcing the group to scramble, some narrowly squeezing through the threat of being trampled.

Military Humvee Stolen From National Guard Facility In Bell Recovered, But Thief Remains At Large
An armored combat military vehicle stolen last week from a National Guard facility in Bell has now been found, officials announced Wednesday. Officials found the $120,000 militarized High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle — commonly known as a Humvee — Wednesday morning in southeast Los Angeles County, the FBI Los Angeles office announced. No arrests were reported, and authorities said they are still searching for the person who took the vehicle. The FBI offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the vehicle’s location after it went missing in the community southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The theft occurred around 8:15 a.m. Saturday from the National Guard armory. Further details about how officials located the green camouflage Humvee and where it was recovered were not immediately available. The theft of the military Humvee carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison, the FBI said. Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the call the FBI Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.

‘That 70s Show’ Actor Danny Masterson Pleads Not Guilty To Raping 3 Women In Hollywood Hills
Actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he raped three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau entered the plea on behalf of the 44-year-old actor. Masterson was arrested back in mid-June on three counts of rape by force or fear. He has been free on $3.3 million bail since. Masterson, best known for his role as Steven Hyde on “That ‘70s Show,” is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and another 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home later that fall. The District Attorney’s Office declined to file sexual assault charges against him in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence on one and the statute of limitations on the other. The criminal complaint alleges that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman between January 2001 and December 2001. He is also charged with raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home some time between October and December 2003, according to L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

Mexican National Sentenced To Over 7 Years In Money Laundering Case
A Mexican national who pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering offense and admitted participating in a scheme to launder drug trafficking proceeds — which included attempting to purchase a bank to facilitate the money laundering — was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles to 87 months in federal prison. Pablo Hernandez, 80, of Tijuana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II after pleading guilty in November to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Hernandez was one of 16 defendants named in a federal grand jury indictment unsealed in 2015 that alleged a series of money laundering schemes, some of which involved the Westminster-based Saigon National Bank — now known as California International Bank, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Protesters Gather, Damage Democratic Headquarters In Oregon
A group of protesters carrying anti-President Joe Biden and anti-police signs were marching Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, streets and damaged the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, police said. Some in the group of about 150 people smashed windows and spray-painted anarchist symbols at the political party building. Multiple arrests were made in the area, police said. Some demonstrators carried a sign reading, “We don’t want Biden, we want revenge!” in response to “police murders” and “imperialist wars.” Police said on Twitter that officers on bicycles had entered the crowd to contact someone with a weapon and to remove poles affixed to a banner that they thought could be used as a weapon. Police said the crowd swarmed the officers and threw objects at the officers, who used a smoke canister to get away. The group was one of at least four planning to gather in the city on Inauguration Day, police said. A car caravan in the city celebrated the transition of presidential power and urged policy change, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Another group was gathering around 5 p.m. in Northeast Portland with speakers talking about police brutality.

Public Safety News

Large Fire Rips Through Commercial Building In South LA’s Hyde Park Overnight
A large fire tore through a vacant two-story commercial building in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Hyde Park early Wednesday morning, but firefighters were still able to save an adjacent building. The blaze was reported at 12:24 a.m. in the 4400 block of South Crenshaw Boulevard. L.A. Fire Department crews arrived to find flames coming from the roof of the building. It took about 160 firefighters about 90 minutes to bring the fire under control. The crews were also able to save a three-story commercial building which was located just a few feet from the burning structure, the fire department said. One firefighter was taken to a hospital with a lower-extremity injury which was not life-threatening. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Frustration Mounts Over Slow Vaccine Rollout In L.A. County Amid High Demand But ‘Extremely Limited’ Supply
Ferrer said in a statement Wednesday. On Tuesday, the county announced residents ages 65 and older would be able to sign up for a vaccine appointment beginning that afternoon but cautioned that supply is currently limited. Nearly three-quarters of the vaccination doses that the county received for the upcoming week will need to be used for second doses, according to the public health department.

Closed Restaurant Building Burns In Sun Valley
A major emergency structure fire in a large, vacant and boarded-up former restaurant in the Sun Valley area burned for nearly four hours before being doused Thursday morning by firefighters. Crews responded about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday to the former site of an Acapulco Mexican Restaurant at 8431 Sunland Blvd., near the Golden State (5) Freeway, and escalated from a greater alarm fire to a major emergency fire, Brian Humphrey with the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Firefighters were in a defensive operation for about 50 minutes, “with large hand-held and ladder-elevated high-volume hose streams,” but began to shift to an offensive mode about 9:45 p.m., Humphrey said. A total of 111 firefighters extinguished the flames within the highly compartmentalized 5,736-square-foot building that experienced significant structural compromise due to the fire, Humphrey said, adding that an unstable exterior wall was torn down by an LAFD excavator.

LA County COVID-19 Deaths Continue To Climb, With 262 New Deaths Reported
COVID-19 deaths continued to mount in Los Angeles County Wednesday, with more than 250 fatalities reported, but while new cases numbers, positivity rates and hospitalization figures are trending downward, the public health director said it's too early to proclaim the surge over. The persistently high number of daily deaths in recent weeks is a result of the massive spike in hospitalizations the county experienced over the past month. Estimates released Wednesday by the Department of Health Services showed that since Nov. 3, about 23% of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 have died -- up from 12% in September and October. The average hospital stay for patients has increased to more than nine days, up from less than seven in October. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county's seven-day average of daily deaths was 179 on Jan. 10, dropping to 174 on Jan. 12. But on Wednesday, she reported 262 deaths. With 27 more deaths reported by Long Beach and five by Pasadena, the countywide death toll from throughout the pandemic rose to 14,416.

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: