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 16, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD, Police Union Outraged By Report Of Floyd 'Valentine'
A report that Los Angeles police officers circulated a photo of George Floyd with the words “you take my breath away” in a Valentine-like format has prompted an internal investigation and drawn blistering condemnation from Floyd’s family, the district attorney and the police union. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Saturday that investigators will try to determine how the image may have come into the workplace and who may have been involved, the Los Angeles Times reported. Moore said the officer who made the complaint would be interviewed Monday. “Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views,” Moore said. The board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement that the union “repudiates this abhorrent image" and that any officer who “feels the need to be part of any online group that engages in, promotes, and/or celebrates this type of activity should quickly rethink their career choice because they clearly don’t have the judgment, nor temperament, to be a member of law enforcement.”

25-Year LASD Veteran Dies From COVID-19
A 25-year veteran Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer died after battling COVID-19, the Sheriff’s Department reported Monday. Deputy Pedro Romo died on Sunday, Feb. 14, from a COVID-19 related illness. Romo was transferred to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station in 2004 and had worked as a resource officer at Valencia High School for 13 years, the department said. Romo contracted COVID-19 in December and was hospitalized until his death, according to the Sheriff’s Department. “Deputy Romo was a great partner, family man and friend,” said a Facebook post by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “He always managed to bring spirit to the station with a smile and positive attitude, as well as took pride in providing security to students.” A GoFundMe was created by Romo’s fellow deputies to raise money to support his family.

Man Wounded In Harbor City Shooting
A man was shot Monday evening while walking on a street in Harbor City. The shooting was reported about 7:50 p.m. at 238th Street and Western Avenue, according to a dispatcher at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. The victim, believed about 19-years-old, was approached by three males and an altercation ensued, with the suspects firing at him while he tried to run away, the dispatcher said. Paramedics took the victim to a hospital with stable vital signs, he said. The three suspects remain at large, and investigators are asking anyone with information about the crime to come forward or submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers.

L.A.’s Deal With The Police Union Would Guarantee $245 Million In Overtime Pay
A tentative deal between Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the leadership of the police union would guarantee $245 million in cash overtime pay for officers, locking in substantial personnel costs just as law enforcement spending is under major scrutiny. To get the union to postpone two pay raises, Garcetti has offered officers at the Los Angeles Police Department a minimum of $70 million in overtime pay in each of the next three budget years. On top of that, officers would be permitted in the final year of the contract to cash out as much as $35 million in overtime pay for hours they’ve already worked, but for which they have not been compensated. The latter deal point stems from a little-known budgeting practice called overtime banking, which the LAPD uses to pay for personnel costs when the money isn’t immediately available. Under that system, officers work overtime hours but frequently aren’t paid for those hours until years in the future — usually when they retire or leave the department, when their salaries are considerably higher. LAPD officers are voting on the tentative agreement, which would extend the union’s contract two years, or until June 2024. Union officials, who have recommended a yes vote, say the offer of a $35-million cash-out period in 2023-24 would allow officers to be compensated for some of their banked overtime hours earlier than planned. “That can be particularly important for younger officers, who might not otherwise see the money for 20 years, but also for older officers who are trying to feed their families and who may have a spouse who has had reduced hours during the pandemic,” said Dustin DeRollo, spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

LAPD Surprises Sisters With Bikes After Theirs Were Stolen
A police officer went above and beyond to surprise two girls with new bikes after their old one got stolen. Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Police Department shared a video of two girls being surprised with their new bikes. One of the LAPD officers received a report from the girls' mom, who said her car got broken into and got the bike stolen. "He reached into his wallet, and into his heart, and bought both girls a new bike," LAPD said in a Facebook post of the officer. 

Violent Armed Robbers Targeting People Wearing Rolexes In Melrose Area, Police Say
Armed robbers have been targeting people wearing Rolexes and other expensive jewelry in the Melrose area, police say. There have been at least seven robberies around the popular shopping and dining areas along the Melrose corridor in Mid-City since Jan. 30, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. One recent encounter was caught on surveillance camera, showing a man try to run away as a car stops in front of him. Two men jump out of the car and tackle the victim, then steal his valuables including a Rolex watch. Authorities say the assault and robbery happened Jan. 30 on Vista Street near Melrose Avenue. Police say the suspects have used different vehicles to follow their intended victims from stores and restaurants in the ara. They typically wait for the victims to walk to their vehicles or reach an isolated area before they move in with guns. Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD at (213)922-8217.

Prison Inmate Threatens To Attack Guard In LA County To Fall Under Gascón’s Jurisdiction For Resentencing
An inmate serving a life sentence at a California state prison recently called the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and left a voicemail, alerting them that he planned to "beat the s**t" out of a prison guard during an upcoming transfer so he could be eligible for resentencing under D.A. George Gascón’s jurisdiction, and FOX 11 has obtained the recording. The inmate, Daniel Avila, is currently locked up at a state prison in Sacramento. Avila is a third striker, and is currently serving a sentence of 140 years to life for a series of felonies, including three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer with use of a deadly weapon as a third striker, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, making criminal threat to cause great bodily injury or death, bringing a firearm/weapon to prison, numerous enhancements for personal use of a dangerous weapon, as well as a myriad of other convictions. Sources tell FOX 11 Avila has also previously threatened to kill a judge. FOX 11 has obtained an audio recording of a voicemail Avila recently left at the downtown LA DA’s office, where he notifies them that the state is planning to transfer him to Lancaster state prison in LA County within a month, and when he gets there, he plans to assault a prison guard to get back into LA County’s court system under Gascón, who has refused to prosecute strikes or enhancements as part of his reforms and has announced he plans to resentence 20,000 inmates.

Police Say Child Abducted By Father Returned, Parent Arrested
Police Monday said a 3-year-old girl with an unspecified medical condition, who was taken from her legal guardian by her father, was found safe Thursday and is now in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services. The child’s father, Freddie Lee Wisner Jr., has been arrested on suspicion of child abduction and two warrants, the LAPD reported. Wisner had been allowed only monitored visits with the child. Police said Wisner Jr., 40, went to the guardian’s home on Jan. 22 and took Nevaeh Wisner without the guardian’s consent. Wisner and Nevaeh had last been seen in the 10500 block of Antwerp Street in Watts, police said. The county’s child services department was granted custody of Nevaeh on Feb. 1, and “a protective custody warrant was issued for Nevaeh Wisner and an arrest warrant was issued for Freddie Lee Wisner Jr.,” police said.

2 Men Sought After 2 Bulldog Puppies Stolen From North Hollywood Breeder’s Home
Two men are being sought and a woman was arrested following the theft of two bulldog puppies from a home in North Hollywood, police said Monday. Officers responded to a disturbance call around 11:30 a.m. last Friday in the 11300 block of Miranda Street, where they were told by a resident that the dogs had been stolen, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The Vasquez family — Ana, Osvaldo and their daughter Sophia— breed the puppies at their home. The dogs can sell for thousands of dollars because of their special coloring and pedigree that they advertise on the American Kennel Club website and also on Craigslist, according to the family. They often welcome prospective buyers at their home to look at the canines, though the family said after the recent incident, they won’t be doing that any longer. The ordeal unfolded after a woman contacted them about the dogs, claiming she was going to come alone one morning while Osvaldo was at work. But she showed up with two men, who grabbed two of the five puppies on the premises, the video showed. One of the assailants had to bust through a screen window because the victims had managed to lock the front door. Ana and Sophia tried to stop the dognapping, which was captured on a surveillance video. But the two men got away in a dark-colored vehicle and, three days later, are still at large.

Inmate Who Walked Away From Los Angeles Reentry Program Facility Sought
A 36-year-old convicted auto thief who walked away from a Male Community Reentry Program facility in Los Angeles was being sought by authorities this morning. At 9:15 p.m. Friday, officials determined Richard Ledesma had left without authorization and agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Office of Correctional Safety were dispatched to locate and apprehend him. Ledesma is Hispanic, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and multiple tattoos on his face and neck. Ledesma was received by CDCR from Los Angeles County on March 16, 2020 to serve a two-year, eight month sentence for grand theft, his second strike. He was transferred to the MCRP on Nov. 30 and was scheduled to be released from custody Nov. 25, 2021. The Male Community Reentry Program allows eligible offenders committed to state prison to serve the end of their sentences in the reentry center and provides them with programs and tools necessary to transition from custody to freedom. It is a voluntary program for male offenders who have about one year left to serve. Anyone seeing Ledesma or with any knowledge of his whereabouts should immediately contact law enforcement or call 911. 

Dallas Police Officer Struck, Killed By Intoxicated Driver
A suspected intoxicated driver has been arrested after he struck and killed a Dallas police officer who was blocking the scene of an accident early Saturday, police said. Officer Mitchell Penton was standing next to his patrol car with the emergency lights activated when the suspect slammed into Penton's vehicle, causing it to strike the officer, police said in a statement. Witnesses said the driver, 32-year-old Phillip Mabry, was driving very fast, police Sgt. Warren Mitchell said in the statement. Police have not said Mabry was speeding. Penton was taken to Baylor Hospital, where he died. Police said Mabry was arrested on warrants for intoxication manslaughter on a police officer and intoxication assault. Jail records do not list an attorney who could speak on Mabry's behalf and police did not immediately return messages seeking comment. 

Public Safety News

Firefighters Knock Down Blaze At Vermont Knolls Apartment Complex
Firefighters knocked down a greater alarm fire that erupted at a two-story apartment complex in the Vermont Knolls neighborhood in South Los Angeles on Monday morning. The Los Angeles Fire Department assigned 78 firefighters to fight the flames at the complex located at 1100 West 85th Street just before 5:30 a.m. Their efforts were "quick and aggressive" and the fire was extinguished in 24 minutes, LAFD said. Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to the other units. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

L.A. County Reports Sharp Drop In New COVID-19 Hospitalizations
Los Angeles County reported 1,869 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 additional deaths Monday, but officials said the relatively low number of cases and deaths may reflect reporting delays over the holiday weekend. The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continues to fall, dropping from 3,270 Sunday to 3,092, with 30% of those people in intensive care. The county’s hospitalization rate has dropped sharply since peaking at more than 8,000 in early January, and has declined 60% since Jan. 15, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The countywide unadjusted adult ICU bed occupancy was 86%. The seven-day average for the county’s daily test positivity rate, which has also been steadily declining, dropped from 5.3% Sunday to 5.2%, down 64% in one month. Meanwhile, with vaccine supplies still limited, the city and county of Los Angeles will reserve the majority of its available vaccinations this week to provide second doses for those ready to receive them, with county-operated large-scale sites exclusively administering second doses, health officials announced. 

L.A. City Coronavirus Vaccination Sites To Prioritize 2nd Doses This Week
After shutting down late last week due to scarce supply of COVID-19 vaccine shots, Los Angeles city vaccination sites will prioritize people getting second doses this week, officials announced Monday. The city is expected to receive 54,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and 4,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, and officials “will prioritize individuals whose second doses are due in the days ahead,” according to a news release. L.A. County health officials had previously announced that more than half of the doses expected in the region this week would go toward those getting their second shot. More first dose appointments will become available here if the city receives additional vaccine supply, officials said. This week’s second dose appointments were automatically scheduled for those who received their first shot last month at a city-run site — Hansen Dam, San Fernando Park, Crenshaw Christian Center, Lincoln Park and Dodger Stadium. Patients should have received a text or email from the city’s online portal confirming their second appointment and giving details to receive the shot.

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: