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

February 3, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Family Of Slain LAPD Officer Speaks Out Against Gascón’s Policies
The sisters of an off-duty LAPD officer who was fatally shot in 2019 criticized L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón’s changes to sentencing enhancements on Tuesday while speaking outside of a hearing for two suspects charged in their brother’s death. Francisco Talamantes, 23, and Cristian Adrian Facundo, 20, of Temecula, had previously been charged with murder and special circumstances alleging gang membership in the death of 24-year-old LAPD Officer Juan Diaz. The charges made them eligible for the death penalty. But after winning a tight DA’s race in November, Gascón announced he was ending death penalty prosecution and doing away with special sentencing enhancements. Diaz’s sisters said the changes are a major blow to their efforts to seek justice. “With the new DA, it’s become a little harder for the victims,” Sarahy Diaz said. “We now feel like we are the ones that did something wrong, when we’re just literally trying to fight for our brother. He did nothing wrong.” Anahi Diaz added that her family feels like they “don’t have anyone” on their side. “A DA should go into court and be on the victim’s side and be able to do as much as he can to fight for the justice of our victim,” she said. 

One Killed In South Los Angeles Shooting Believed To Be Gang-Releated
One person was killed in a drive-by shooting Tuesday in South Los Angeles police said is believed to be gang-related. Police were called to the shooting about 3:20 p.m. in the 6800 block of Eighth Avenue, near 68th Street and the Alliance Renee & Meyer Luskin College-Ready Academy in the Hyde Park neighborhood, said Officer Drake Madison with the LAPD. The victim was sitting in a vehicle when four people drove up and fired multiple shots. The suspects then fled the scene south on Eighth Avenue, Madison said. The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

LAPD Union Leaders Cut Deal To Avoid Layoffs, Delaying Pay Increases Until 2023
The union that represents Los Angeles police officers has reached a tentative deal to postpone a pair of raises for its members, averting layoffs for as many as 355 officers at a time when homicides and shooting incidents are steadily rising. Officials with the Los Angeles Police Protective League agreed to delay a pair of scheduled increases — 3% in January 2022 and an additional 1.5% in June 2022 — until 2023, Mayor Eric Garcetti and union representatives said Tuesday. In exchange, Garcetti and the City Council would drop plans for eliminating hundreds of filled police officer positions, part of the city’s strategy for closing an estimated $675-million budget shortfall by June 30. In a statement, Craig Lally, president of the union, said his board of directors had unanimously recommended the proposal to its members, saying it would provide certainty during a “disastrous economic downturn.” “Officers have continued to protect our residents during these very trying and dangerous times and deserve to be treated fairly and have their sacrifices recognized,” Lally said. “We believe this agreement does that.”

Driver Accused Of Having Gun In Car Pursued By LAPD For 6 Hours 
In what could be the longest chase in Los Angeles police history, a driver was arrested early Wednesday morning after leading authorities on a more than six-hour pursuit through several Los Angeles County cities and the Inland Empire. The man -- who authorities say has a long criminal history, including two federal warrants -- was taken into custody about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on the eastbound 10 Freeway near the Vineyard Avenue exit after the front driver-side rim of the silver Chevy Malibu he was driving fell off and sent sparks flying. One LAPD officer says it's the longest chase he has seen in his 26-year career. What started as the suspect driving erratically at high speeds on surface streets in the South L.A. and Inglewood area, turned into a crawl once the driver got onto the 110 Freeway. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street Division gang unit began chasing the driver, who was accused of having a gun, about 7 p.m. Tuesday, said Officer William Cooper of LAPD. 

LAPD Chief Warns Protesters Who Interfere With Vaccinations Could Be Arrested, Cited
Protesters who interfere with people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as some did at Dodger Stadium last weekend, they could be arrested or cited, police said Tuesday. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced during Tuesday’s police commission meeting that enforcement towards anti-vaccine protesters “will be swift and certain” if people confront individuals getting a vaccine or block the roadway. A protest zone will be established to keep protesters from interfering, Moore added. Enforcement may include arrests or citations. “Going forward, people that are walking in roadways around or confronting individuals attempting to get a vaccine, it’s my expectation and direction, that enforcement will be swift and certain,” Moore said. The LAPD is working with the fire department to set up a protest zone t protesters can safely gather and express their views and be heard without interfering or having any view of their actions interfering with people who are also lawfully attempting to gain access to such a critical medical resource.” On Saturday afternoon, Los Angeles police were forced to close the gates to the vaccination site for nearly an hour after about 50 anti-vaccine protesters caused a disruption while hundreds of cars were lined up.

Authorities Seek Public Help To Find Missing 90-Year-Old Woman
Authorities Tuesday sought public help to find a 90-year-old woman who went missing over the weekend in the downtown Los Angeles area. Mai Sen Lau was last seen on Saturday in the 600 block of North Grand Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. “Lau’s family is concerned for her safety,” an LAPD statement said. Lau is Asian, 5-feet tall, weighs 100 pounds and has gray hair and brown eyes. Anyone knowing her whereabouts was urged to call police at 213-996-1800, or 877-LAPD-247.

Beverly Hills Salon Owner Accused Of Obstructing Congress During Capitol Riot Could Face Decades In Prison
A Beverly Hills salon owner seen in video footage urging on other rioters breaching the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 was indicted last week, according to court documents. Gina Bisignano, 52, the owner of Gina’s Eyelashes and Skincare, could be sentenced to decades behind bars if she is found guilty of all the charges filed against her. A grand jury handed up the seven-count indictment against Gina Bisignano, 52, on Jan. 29. According to court documents, she is accused of obstructing an official proceeding, and aiding and abetting others doing the same. She was also accused of civil disorder, destruction of property other charges related to unauthorized entry of the Capitol. Obstructing an official proceeding carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, according to the U.S. Code. Aiding and betting the same also carries a 20-year sentence. And civil disorder carries a five-year penalty. The other charges carry possible sentences of around one year each. In court documents, the grand jury attempted to make the case that the actions of Bisignano and other rioters that morning showed they were trying to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s landslide election victory in November.

64 People Arrested, 2 Women Rescued During Anti-Human Trafficking Operation In Riverside County: Sheriff’s Dept.
Riverside County law enforcement made 64 arrests over the course of four days during an anti-human trafficking operation, authorities announced Tuesday. The arrests were part of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, an annual effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to combat sexual slavery and human trafficking in California. The statewide operation seeks to rescue victims and apprehend their captors, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department news release. Last year, 518 people were arrested while 87 victims, including 11 children, were recovered during the effort. This year’s operation in Riverside County spanned four consecutive days, concluding on Jan. 28, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. It involved the county’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force along with the Palm Desert, La Quinta, Lake Elsinore and Temecula special enforcement teams, and the Riverside and Murrieta police departments. The county’s operation primarily targeted online prostitution.

California Supreme Court Hears Case Of Mom Convicted Of Killing Four Daughters
An attorney representing a Santa Clarita woman on death row for murdering her four young daughters in an arson fire at the family’s home told the California Supreme Court Tuesday that his client didn’t get a fair trial, while a lawyer for the state countered that her conviction and death sentence should be upheld. Calling it “an extreme case,” Sandi Dawn Nieves’ appellate attorney told the state’s highest court that the trial court “aligned itself with the prosecution, assisted with the prosecution, it denigrated the defense, it denigrated the defense counsel, it humiliated the defendant,” and that Superior Court Judge L. Jeffrey Wiatt “lost control of himself” and the court the more he tried to control the proceedings during the woman’s trial. “I think that what happened here was you had this embroilment between the two and it basically got out of control,” attorney Amitai Schwartz told the high court, noting that he believed the judge should have granted one of the defense’s numerous motions for a mistrial.

Public Safety News

LA County Surpasses 17K COVID-19 Deaths, Adds 3,763 New Cases
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday reported 3,763 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 205 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,124,558 cases and 17,057 deaths. In a little more than a month, the county has reported more than 7,000 new COVID-19 deaths, going from just over 10,000 on Dec. 30 to more than 17,000 Tuesday. Of the 205 new deaths reported, 58 people were over the age of 80, 75 people were between the ages of 65 and 79, 49 people were between the ages of 50 and 64, 19 people were between the ages of 30 and 49 and one person was between the ages of 18 and 29. “COVID-19 is responsible for more than 17,000 people passing away and thousands more becoming seriously ill in Los Angeles County,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “More than 72% of all our COVID-19 deaths occurred in people 65 years old or older.”

California Coronavirus Hospitalizations Are Plummeting
Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations in California are plummeting weeks after it appeared some hospitals were so overwhelmed they might have to start rationing care, and the state's top health official said Tuesday if the trends continue by early March the number of hospital patients will fall by half. When cases were surging at an unprecedented rate in early December state officials used plunging intensive care unit capacities to issue stay-home orders for most of California. The situation was the most dire in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley regions, which exhausted all their regular ICU beds and stayed at 0% capacity through January. But the capacity now has reached 9% in Southern California and 11% in the San Joaquin Valley and in four weeks the state projects the rates will increase to 44% and 35%, respectively. The other three regions of the state are in even better shape. All stay-home orders have been lifted, though all but four rural counties continue to be in the strictest of four tiers for reopening. In just over three weeks, the number of statewide ICU patients has fallen from a record high of just under 4,900 to about 3,800, while overall hospitalizations have dropped by a third.

California Faces 'Real' Chance Of Another Surge As Coronavirus Variants Spread
As Alameda County saw its first known cases of the highly contagious coronavirus variant that spread through the United Kingdom, the struggle to find enough vaccine doses continued — and a top health official warned that another surge could be on the horizon.
Alameda County has identified six confirmed or suspected cases of the U.K. variant, which health officials believe is roughly 50% more infectious and might also be more likely to cause death, though further study of that aspect is needed. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, has been identified in other parts of the state, mostly in Southern California — with 127 cases found across California so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No other Bay Area counties have announced cases so far, but officials believe the variant is far more prevalent than official figures suggest, since only a tiny fraction of coronavirus infections get genomically sequenced.

Local Government News

LA City Council Votes To Move Forward With Hazard Pay Plan For Grocery Workers
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to move forward with a proposed emergency ordinance requiring large grocery and pharmacy retailers to pay employees an extra $5 per hour during the pandemic. The City Attorney is now preparing the ordinance. The President of the LA City Council, Nury Martinez, believes the hazard pay is necessary. "These are our essential workers. They're risking their lives every single day by showing up to work. These are folks that don't have the luxury of getting on a Zoom call and working from home. They have to show up every single day to get to work," Martinez said. "Some of these grocery stores have become the epicenter of some of these outbreaks that you've seen throughout the City of Los Angeles and I think it's fair to acknowledge that these folks have risked their lives to provide an essential service to the rest of us. Grocery chain markets are making record number of economic gains. There are losers and winners in this pandemic and unfortunately our workers, people of color, are the losers and we have to make sure we don't forget them," she adds.

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: