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 25, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Police, Residents Plead For Ceasefire After South LA Sees 59 Shooting Victims In 1st 2 Weeks Of 2021
Los Angeles officials and residents are calling for a ceasefire. Police officers and community members gathered at a press conference Friday to discuss the recent rise in gang violence in South LA. The Los Angeles Police Department shared a report from the press conference, calling the uptick in criminal activity "disturbing," "unacceptable" and "horrific." Authorities on Friday said there has been more gun violence in the area in the first weeks of 2021 than during the same time last year. In fact, newly released LAPD statistics show murders in the city have more than doubled. "We are seeing military-style weaponry, with high-capacity ammo rounds," LAPD Deputy Chief Regina Scott said at the press conference, according to a video shared by KTLA. "At one homicide scene alone we collected almost 70 ammo rounds going over four different handguns -- at one scene. That is horrific, what we are seeing." LAPD statistics show that more than two-thirds of the shootings this year happened in South LA. The area saw 59 shooting victims in the first two weeks of 2021, compared to seven during the same time last year, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore tweeted on Jan. 16. "Officers have made 105 arrests of individuals with firearms. 130 firearms taken from street. Gang intervention trying, but we need our community and elected officials," he wrote. "The violence in Los Angeles is really out of control," said LAPD Detective Jamie McBride, speaking on behalf of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, KABC reported. "And to be quite honest right now, in Los Angeles we're fighting two pandemics. We're fighting COVID and gun violence." 

33 Missing Kids Recovered In Joint Los Angeles-Based Operation Combatting Human Trafficking
Nearly three-dozen missing children have been recovered in Southern California during a recent Los Angeles-based operation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday. During January, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the FBI worked with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and more than two-dozen law enforcement and non-governmental partners to identify, locate and recover missing children, particularly those who have been or were suspected of being sexually exploited and/or trafficked. The agencies recovered 33 children throughout the course of the operation, according to Kristi K. Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office. "Human trafficking is a pervasive and insidious crime that threatens the safety of our young people, who are the future of our communities," said Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. "We can only begin to take back the future of our youth with the strong partnerships forged between outstanding service providers and law enforcement." Specific details about the operation, nicknamed "Los Angels," were not immediately available. Of the children recovered, eight were being sexually exploited at the time of recovery. Two were recovered multiple times during the operation while on the "track," a term commonly used to describe a known location for commercial sex trafficking, Johnson said.

Man Accused Of Intentionally Hitting Florida Deputy To Face First Degree Murder Charge
The man accused of ramming the patrol of Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy will be prosecuted on nine charges including premeditated murder of a law enforcement officer, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced late Thursday. Travis Zachary Garrett, 28, intentionally plowed his car into the marked patrol car of Sgt. Brian LaVigne earlier this month, meriting the capital felony charge of first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, Warren said in a statement. “This was a deliberate attack on law enforcement; he targeted a cop,” Warren said, “When you commit a crime like this — when you cause pain like this — you should expect consequences like this.” Warren’s office will seek a grand jury indictment for the first degree murder charge as Florida law requires. Grand jury proceedings are currently suspended in Hillsborough County until Feb. 8 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The other eight charges Garrett faces are fleeing from law enforcement resulting in death; vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter; two counts each of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence; and criminal mischief.

Sun Valley Gang Member Admits To Shootings, Illegal Drug And Gun Sales
A Sun Valley man and gang member admitted Friday in federal court to taking part in 2016 shootings across the San Fernando Valley and selling narcotics and illegal firearms. Jesus Gonzalez Jr., 27, entered his guilty plea through a video call from a San Bernardino County Jail on multiple Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charges of attempted murder and drug and gun sales, said U.S. Attorney’s Office Spokesman Ciaran McEvoy. Gonzalez, who went by “Lil Chito,” “Gunner” and “Chuy,” had been a member of a Sun Valley gang since at least November 2014, and had worked as a drug supplier, operating drug and weapon stash houses and demanded “taxes” from drug dealers for the gang, according to a plea deal struck between federal prosecutors and Gonzalez’ attorney, Paul Blake Jr. in October. The gang is known to generate much of its profit from drug and firearms trafficking sales, including smuggling drugs into California state prisons and county jails to incarcerated gang members, the plea deal said.

As L.A. City Hall Corruption Probe Endures, Ethics-Reform Bids Launched — But Will Any Take Hold?
The FBI probe into “pay-to-play” corruption at Los Angeles City Hall that has spilled into the open over the past two years has sparked some changes to ethics rules, especially around political contributions by developers. The FBI investigation has forced the removal of former Councilman Jose Huizar from his perch at a downtown and East Los Angeles district. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and bribery in a scheme often involving downtown developers. Meanwhile, former Councilman Mitchell Englander, who stepped down abruptly at the start of 2019, has since pleaded guilty to trying to obstruct an FBI investigation and has been accused of receive envelopes of cash. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Monday. The probe has also led to cases against high-ranking staffers, lobbyists, developers and others. In recent years, a handful of moves were made in an effort to rebuild trust in city officials — but the path has been been rocky and long. In addition to ethics reform efforts often attracting little interest from Los Angeles City Council members, one of the few measures that was adopted — a ban on developer contributions — was found so wanting by proponents of ethics reform, those groups ended up strongly opposing the measure.

Man Previously Convicted Of Stalking 2 Doctors At West L.A. Veterans Affairs Hospital Faces New Federal Charge
A man who was previously convicted of stalking two doctors at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center faces a new federal stalking charge in connection with the two victims and an additional three in Loma Linda, authorities said Friday. Gueorgui Hristov Pantchev, 49, was arrested by FBI agents Friday and is expected to make his first appearance District Court in downtown Los Angeles. An unsealed criminal complaint details Pantchev’s conduct dating back to 2011 and alleges a longtime harassment campaign targeting the two female doctors at the hospital, as well as the three other victims who worked at the VA’s facility in Loma Linda. He allegedly sent threatening communications to the West L.A. doctors and for that conduct was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and convicted in 2014 of nine counts of stalking and witness intimidation. After serving time in state prison, Pantchev was paroled in 2017 and was barred from the West L.A. facility, officials said. He then began seeking medical services at the VA’s Loma Linda facility, where he allegedly “started stalking, harassing, and intimidating” three additional victims, officials said.

Ex-TSA Agent Sentenced For Falsely Imprisoning Woman At LAX
A former Transportation Security Administration agent pleaded no contest Friday to falsely imprisoning a woman who was going through Los Angeles International Airport. Johnathon Lomeli — who was arrested and charged for unlawfully detaining a woman and using fraud or deceit to get her to expose herself to him outside of the primary security screening area at LAX in June 2019 — was immediately sentenced to 60 days in county jail, 52 classes to address sexual compulsion and two years probation following his plea, according to the California Attorney General’s Office. Lomeli, now 23, will no longer be allowed to work as a security guard, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The case was filed last February as part of a joint effort involving the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Air Marshals Service, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Airport Police and the TSA.

Woman Missing For 1 Week: LA Deputies Ask For Help In Finding Yetunde Adeniyi
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials are continuing to search for an at-risk missing woman who was last seen a week ago on Jan. 15. Yetunde Adeniyi, of Los Angeles, is described as 5’2″ and 160 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. No further information was immediately available about where she was last seen. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the LASD’s Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500.

Inside the Deadly Capitol Shooting
During the four-and-a-half-hour attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, one of the moments when the mob came closest to the lawmakers they were pursuing took place just after 2:30 p.m. On one side of a set of antique wood and glass doors were dozens of lawmakers and their aides trying to evacuate the House chamber. On the other were rioters yelling “Stop the steal” as they hammered the panes with a flagpole, a helmet and even a bare fist. In between was a Capitol Police lieutenant, scrambling to pile tables and chairs into a makeshift barricade. He had 31 rounds for his service weapon, and he has told others that he feared he might need them all. At the height of the standoff, a woman named Ashli Babbitt tried to vault through a window. The lieutenant, his weapon already extended, pulled the trigger once, killing her in a confrontation that was captured on video and widely viewed around the world. At least three investigations into the security response on Jan. 6 are underway, and officials have not provided the full details of Ms. Babbitt’s death. But videos taken of the episode, legal documents and witness accounts point to a dire set of circumstances and an officer left to confront a mob.

Video: Florida Woman Runs Over Deputy In Attempted Getaway
A 23-year-old Bradenton woman is facing an attempted murder charge, after she ran over a Manatee County sheriff's deputy with a stolen car, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies found the car, which had been involved in an earlier crash, on the south side of Mad Marks at First Street and 30th Avenue East in Bradenton, about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. As they approached, they say Katarina Van Fossen deliberately accelerated toward and hit one of the deputies with the vehicle, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies say Van Fossen then struck another patrol car, causing another deputy to be flung to the ground. Van Fossen was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder, motor vehicle theft and fleeing to elude, among other charges. She remains in custody without bond. The deputy who was struck by the car is said to be in good condition with various injuries.

Public Safety News

L.A. County Surpasses 15,000 Coronavirus Deaths
Los Angeles County eclipsed the sad milestone of 15,000 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, Jan. 23, as another 269 fatalities pushed the county’s death toll to 15,162 since the pandemic began. As the current surge continued to rage, the county has endured more than 5,000 deaths since Dec. 30, officials said. The news arrived, however, amid recent glimmers of hope, as deaths, new cases and hospitalizations have begun to show signs of inching downward, though still at levels that continue to severely overtax healthcare teams around the region. “We wish healing and peace to everyone mourning a loved one lost to COVID-19,” said county Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer in a statement. “While we are seeing some positive data in daily new cases and hospitalizations, we are far from out of the woods. It is critically important we slow COVID-19 spread to decompress the strain on our healthcare system and save lives.”

COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Starting To Level Off In LA County Amid Vaccine Rollout Challenges
After weeks of reporting concerning and often record-breaking coronavirus numbers, Los Angeles County public health officials say cases and hospitalizations are starting to level off, but the county is still facing major vaccine rollout challenges. On Friday, the county Department of Public Health said new cases were considerably lower this week, citing a 30% decrease in the seven-day average of daily cases from last week. The county's test positivity rate, which stood at 20.8% on Jan. 1, has also dropped to 12.7%. The test positivity rate was 3.8% on Nov. 1, just before the surge began, officials say. Coronavirus hospitalizations are also down by 8%. There are currently 7,073 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 24% of which are in the ICU. Although those key indicators are "trending in the right direction," officials say there's still a long way to go in controlling transmission and subsequent hospitalizations.

62 LA Children Hospitalized With COVID-Related Condition, MIS-C
Eight new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children have been reported, the Los Angeles County Health Department announced Saturday. MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19. Symptoms include a fever that does not go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. The new cases bring the total cases of MIS-C in L.A. County to 62 children, one of whom has died. All 62 were hospitalized and 45 percent were treated in the ICU. Of the children with MIS-C, 31 percent were under 5 years old; 37 percent were between 5 and 11, and 32 percent were between 12 and 20. Latino/Latinx children account for nearly 74 percent of the reported cases. If you believe your child is displaying MIS-C symptoms, contact your primary care or urgent care provider. Seek emergency care for critical or life-threatening conditions. If you do not have a primary care provider, dial 211, and L.A. County will help connect you to one.

Newsom Expected To Cancel California’s Regional Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Orders
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected on Monday to lift regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders across California, a change that could allow restaurants and gyms in many counties to reopen outdoor dining and services. All counties will return to the colored tier system that assigns local risk levels based on case numbers and rates of positive test results for COVID-19 infections, according to sources briefed on the plan by the governor’s office. Most counties will go into the “widespread” risk tier, which permits hair salons to offer limited services indoors but restricts many other nonessential indoor business operations. The change is expected to take effect immediately after Newsom’s announcement on Monday. It’s far from clear whether the decision will lead to easing of stay-at-home rules in Los Angeles County, which has become a national epicenter of the coronavirus with hospitals overwhelmed by patients. In less than one month, more than 5,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the county alone.

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: