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 27, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Searching For Shooter Who Killed Food Delivery Driver In Cypress Park
The LAPD asked for the public’s help to identify the killer of a food delivery driver in the Cypress Park area. Roderick Thomas, 54, was found suffering from a gunshot wound to his neck at about 10:50 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2020. He had just delivered food in the 14000 block of Randall Court and was driving back down the hill when he was shot, according to the LAPD.

Detectives Seek Public’s Help To Identify Hit-and-Run Driver Who Left 33-Year-Old Pedestrian Dead In Downtown L.A.
Detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify a hit-and-run driver who left a 33-year-old pedestrian dead in downtown Los Angeles Saturday. Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to the area of Alameda and 22nd streets for a call of a traffic collision, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release Tuesday. An investigation found that a vehicle of an unknown make and model struck a pedestrian as he was walking on the sidewalk, according to police. The man — later identified as 33-year-old Anibal Macias Jr. — was struck and dragged onto the street, LAPD said. Paramedics responded and provided medical treatment but Macias Jr. was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene. The hit-and-run driver did not stop, according to police, and fled the scene. A reward of up to $50,000 is available to anyone who provides information leading to the offender’s identification, apprehension and conviction or resolution through a civil compromise, LAPD said. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact officer G. Diaz at 213-833-3713.

Thousands Of LAPD Officers Waiting To Get Vaccinated; Chief Says Supply Is ‘Severely’ Limited
At least eight Los Angeles Police Department employees are currently in the hospital suffering from COVID-19, the city’s police chief said, as the department waits to start mass vaccinations of officers in earnest. Chief Michel Moore said on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at least three of those hospitalized employees are in “very critical condition.” So far, six LAPD employees, including four officers, have died from COVID-19. Moore announced the sixth death, Officer Philip Sudario, on Monday. The deaths come amid a surge in infections among LAPD’s ranks: Since Dec. 15, around 1,230 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s nearly half of the department’s total number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic. In that time, hundreds were confined to their homes, and some were hospitalized. Two of LAPD’s deaths came in the last two weeks. The increase in positive cases of the virus among LAPD officers and other employees comes as the vast majority of the department waits for vaccinations. The rollout of vaccines in tiers – with the first wave dedicated to healthcare workers and elderly people in nursing homes – meant police officers were scheduled to start receiving their vaccines at the end of January, Moore said on Tuesday. That process was meant to start after L.A. city firefighters all got vaccinated. “We were supposed to begin the mass vaccination of the department in the next week to week and a half,” Moore told the Police Commission during the panel’s virtual meeting. But supplies could be short for a bit. Moore said he’d been informed recently the number of vaccines now available had been “severely impacted and reduced,” throwing that timeline into doubt.

LAPD Chief: 2020 Had Second-Lowest Number Of Police Shootings In 30+ Years
Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that 2020 ended with the second-lowest number of instances in which Los Angeles officers opened fire in more than 30 years, with 27 shootings, seven of which were fatal. That’s a 44% reduction in the number of officer-involved shootings compared to 2015, he said. In 2019, there were 26 officer-involved shootings, and 12 were fatal. In 2011, there were 26 fatal shootings by LAPD officers; in 2012, there were 17, and in 2013, there were 15, Moore said in a presentation to the Police Commission. “I bring that up because I think it’s (due to) continued efforts of the department, this commission and its policy, and it’s training and it’s finding alternatives and accountability to ensure that officers use deadly force only when necessary and as a last resort,” Moore said.

Little Girl Raped ‘Seven To 15 Times A Night’: Fully Fund War On Human Trafficking
The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday unanimously voted to recommend that the City Council fully fund the Los Angeles Police Department’s Human Trafficking Task Forces amid department budget cuts. Human trafficking victims spoke to the board during Tuesday’s meeting about their harrowing experiences. “Today I represent children who will become silenced, their dreams will seem impossible, and their life will become hopeless,” survivor Oree Freeman said. “What was my normal (life) at 11 years old on the streets of L.A., born and raised in South Central … My normal, as well as the children’s normal tonight, will be rape seven to 15 times a night,” she said. Freeman said the city has made important progress in its efforts against human trafficking. “Today, I sit proudly saying that we have come so far,” she said, adding that the city shouldn’t now stop and go backward. “We used to be unseen, now they are being rescued. We used to be misunderstood, now there is an understanding and true empathy. We used to be seen as prostitutes at 11, 12, 13 years old and locked up and sent to camp, but now we are seen as victims and respected as survivors,” Freeman said. Dave Cox, chief operating officer for Zoe International, a nonprofit working to end child trafficking, told the commission during the meeting that “without dedicated law enforcement efforts, child trafficking will grow in our city.” The board reviewed a report ordered by Council President Nury Martinez, which sought to evaluate the impact that budget cuts will have on human trafficking task forces at the LAPD’s Operations-South Bureau and Operations-Valley Bureau, which were created in January 2014 “to hinder gang involvement in human trafficking and thwart prostitution related-crimes.”

LA Police Commission Approves Sending Mental Health Teams To Answer Some Emergency Calls
The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners moved forward Tuesday on a plan to have mental health professionals respond to certain 911 calls as part of a one-year pilot program. The board voted unanimously to authorize Police Chief Michel Moore to execute an agreement with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services to have their psychiatric professionals respond to some nonviolent calls. The pilot program was adopted in a motion by the City Council on Dec. 8 and approved by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Dec. 15. Didi Hirsch's team will handle identified mental health calls for eight hours per day, from noon to 8 p.m. seven days a week, according to Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher of the Los Angeles Police Department. Services will be offered in 13 languages and there will be accommodations for the deaf community. People who call 911 in suicidal crisis or severe emotional distress will be diverted to Didi Hirsch, which will provide crisis support and mental health assistance. A police response will be sent to instances where the person has a weapon, is driving a vehicle erratically, or other cases that may pose a threat to others. Didi Hirsch's services will be "on a limited basis to allow the LAPD to assess the efficacy of this program and to determine if any changes are needed before it is more widely implemented,'' according to the agreement.

‘Unparalleled Heroism’: Inland CHP Officers Presented Medal Of Valor
On Aug. 12, 2019, California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Paul was standing by on the Eucalyptus Avenue offramp of the 215 Freeway in Riverside as motorcycle Officer Andre Moye Jr. prepared to have a vehicle towed. Suddenly, the driver retrieved a rifle from his pickup and unloaded on Moye, who fell about 20 feet from Paul, and then turned his weapon on Paul. Paul suffered crippling wounds to his legs and would later say he believed he was going to perish there. Yet, lying on his back behind his patrol car, Paul held off the attacker in a 10-minute gun battle until help arrived. Among the first was CHP Officer Ryan Smith, who despite also being shot, was able to drag Paul 100 feet from the line of fire. Other officers arrived and killed the attacker, Aaron Luther. Paul and Smith survived, but Moye, 34, did not. On Monday, Jan. 25, Gov. Gavin Newsom rewarded Paul, Smith and six other state employees for their bravery and heroism by presenting them with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor. “Today’s Medal of Valor honorees demonstrated unparalleled heroism in service to their communities, risking their own safety to save lives,” Newsom said.

Ex-Bank Branch Manager In Southern California Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Over $1 Million From Customer With Dementia
A former Comerica bank branch manager was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from an elderly customer with dementia and then using it for her own personal expenses. Marie Fulle, 38, of Newport Beach, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison via videoconference by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Fulle – a former branch manager of a Comerica bank in Tustin – was also ordered to pay $1,091,230 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in September 2019 to two counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors say from February 2013 to April 2014, Fulle targeted a vulnerable customer – an elderly man with dementia – and cultivated an exclusive banking relationship with him. Fulle then opened various bank accounts with the victim and used them to create a confusing web in which she could hide unauthorized transfers, and forged withdrawals with cashier’s checks.

Two Murderers In State Prison And Other Inmates Scammed State Jobless Benefits, DA Says
New charges were announced Monday against two convicted murderers in state prisons, four long-term inmates and four others on the outside who were allegedly part of a unemployment benefits scam involving a storefront business opened in Garden Grove. Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, said the three cases are the latest in a massive set of frauds in California that, since March, could top an estimated $10 billion. On Monday, officials pegged the figure at more than $11 billion. In one case, two business owners opened a Garden Grove storefront to file false unemployment claims with the California Employment Development Department and steal taxpayer dollars intended to help people made jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spitzer said. The prosecutor said the two men blatantly advertised their services in Vietnamese-language advertisements. At their homes and the business, nearly $500,000 in cash and bank accounts was recovered. “There was so much cash. It was stuffed into suit pockets,” Spitzer said.

NYPD Cop Shot In Back During Bronx Shootout
An NYPD cop shot during a Bronx gunfight is assigned to a unit focused on getting firearms off the street, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday. The wounded cop, identified by sources as Officer Daniel Vargas, was struck once in the lower back, just below his bullet-resistant vest, during the Tuesday night clash. Fellow officers rushed him to Jacobi Medical Center. Shea said the officer ’'is in a lot of pain but thankfully we expect him to make a full recovery.” Vargas, 31, is assigned to the Gun Violence Suppression Division. “They are the very best at what they do,” Shea said. “They are assigned to the streets throughout New York City for one very simple reason: to keep you safe. And they do an excellent job doing it.” The 24-year-old gunman who shot Vargas was arrested at the scene, Lafayette Ave. and White Plains Road in Soundview. Shea said the shooter has several prior arrests in the city, plus others in New Jersey.

Public Safety News

In Ambulances, An Unseen, Unwelcome Passenger: COVID-19
It’s crowded in the back of the ambulance. Two emergency medical technicians, the patient, the gurney — and an unseen and unwelcome passenger lurking in the air. For EMTs Thomas Hoang and Joshua Hammond, the coronavirus is constantly close. COVID-19 has become their biggest fear during 24-hour shifts in California’s Orange County, riding with them from 911 call to 911 call, from patient to patient. They and other EMTs, paramedics and 911 dispatchers in Southern California have been thrust into the front lines of the national epicenter of the pandemic. They are scrambling to help those in need as hospitals burst with a surge of patients after the holidays, ambulances are stuck waiting outside hospitals for hours until beds become available, oxygen tanks are in alarmingly short supply and the vaccine rollout has been slow. EMTs and paramedics have always dealt with life and death — they make split-second decisions about patient care, which hospital to race to, the best and fastest way to save someone — and now they’re just a breath away from becoming the patient themselves. They gown up, mask up and glove up, “but you can only be so safe,” Hammond said. “We don’t have the luxury of being 6 feet apart from the patient.”

Over 1M Infected, Nearly 16K Dead In LA County 1 Year After First COVID-19 Case Announced
On the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case announced in Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Health Tuesday announced another 5,927 confirmed cases and 291 deaths — bringing countywide totals to 1,085,044 cases and 15,592 deaths. “Today, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in L.A. County, we remember the many people who died from COVID-19 over the past year and the many families that will forever be healing from their loss,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “May you find peace today and always.” Of the 291 new deaths, 91 people were over the age of 80, 99 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 69 people were between the ages of 50 and 64, 17 people were between the ages of 30 and 49 and three people were between the ages of 18 and 29. The remaining 11 deaths were reported by the city of Pasadena.

How L.A. County Residents Can Find Out If It’s Their Turn To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine
Los Angeles County residents can now find out if they’re eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine through a website launched by the state. The My Turn portal, which is currently being piloted only in L.A. and San Diego counties, also allows eligible users to schedule an appointment for the vaccination. For those who aren’t eligible yet, the online tool will alert users by email or text when it is their turn. Officials are testing the online tool out in California’s two largest counties to smooth out any issues before the statewide launch, which could happen as early as next month. “We want to bring it to the rest of the state and we hope to do so in the next few weeks,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. “It’s the most robust end-to-end system of its type that any state’s put up. So it’s got a lot more components, and we just want to make sure that we don’t run the thing into the ground and have a system that shuts down.”

Local Government News

LA City Council Committee Advances $5 Hazard Pay For Grocery Workers
The Los Angeles City Council's Economic Development and Jobs Committee voted Tuesday to move forward a proposed emergency ordinance that would require large grocery and pharmacy retailers to offer employees an additional $5 per hour in hazard day amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery and pharmacy retailers with 300 or more employees nationally and 10 or more employees on site would be required to add the hazard pay to their workers' wages, according to the motion. "The health threat that these grocery workers face cannot be overstated -- recent studies before the current surge report grocery workers to be five times more likely to test positive," the motion stated. "These workers must be justly compensated for the clear and present dangers of doing their jobs during the pandemic by requiring their employers to provide hazard pay." During the committee meeting Tuesday, Councilman Curren Price said the hazard pay would be required for 120 days.

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: