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 25, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Gascón Under Scrutiny After Hiring Public Defender To High-Ranking Prosecutor Position
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is under scrutiny after he hired a public defender who helped with his campaign to a high-ranking prosecutor position in his administration. That public defender has in the past posted anti-police comments on social media and now, the police and prosecutor unions are crying foul. Last summer, FOX 11 reported on a series of controversial social media posts from Tiffiny Blacknell. During the George Floyd unrest across Los Angeles, Blacknell called LAPD barbarians in a tweet and described them as an occupying army with the hashtag #DefundPolice. She also posted that prison is obsolete and called for prisons to be abolished. The former public defender posted on Facebook during the series of looting that took place in May 2020 that she herself was a looter during the 1992 Rodney King riots. Blacknell shared a message for anyone complaining about the looting of West Hollywood or Santa Monica to "cry me a river." Blacknell posted a selfie wearing a shirt that says "The Police Are Trained to Kill Us." "It's unconscionable, but not surprising, that George Gascón would appoint someone as a top prosecutor who just a few months ago was involved in a secret deal to get her criminal defendant client a sweetheart deal on a murder charge. Once again, Gascón is thumbing his nose at crime victims by hiring someone who wants to abolish prisons, defund public safety, and who has expressed outright hatred toward police officers. With murders and shootings at a 10-year high, do we really need criminal defense attorneys on both sides of the aisle?"
FOX 11

Black Lives Matter movement launches campaign against LA police officers union
Several dozen protesters gathered on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the first of what is being promised as a weekly campaign put on by the local chapter of the Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles aimed at challenging the union status of the LAPPL. LAPPL President Craig Lally released a statement Wednesday describing the aims of the weekly campaign as “divisive.” “Yet another dangerous idea from the anti-public safety fringes that's akin to their previous ideas to defund the LAPD budget by 93% or to end incarceration for dangerous convicts,” Lally said. “It's an outright lie to suggest that this group has any ability to strip the union representation rights of our members or any member of a union. That's an anti-democratic tactic usually promoted by authoritarian regimes, not organizations that purport to be rooted in respecting workers' rights and democracy.”
Los Angeles Daily News

LAPD Motorcycle Officer Struck By SUV, Rushed To Hospital
A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer was struck by an SUV and had to be rushed to the hospital following the crash in Jefferson Park Wednesday evening. The collision happened at about 9:15 p.m. near Crenshaw and Adams boulevards during a felony stop. LAPD said the motorcycle officer was responding to a backup call. Video captured by a bystander shows a silver SUV plowing into the officer and a cruiser parked next to the motorcycle. Police said the driver of the SUV was detained. Following the crash, the officer was rushed by paramedics to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The officer's condition is unknown. The driver of the vehicle initially stopped was also taken into custody, but police did not disclose further details on that incident.

3 Sought In South L.A. Hit-and-Run That Left Pedestrian Dead
Investigators are searching for at least three people who fled the scene after a pickup involved a crash fatally struck a pedestrian Wednesday in South Los Angeles, officials said. The truck, headed west, collided with a Toyota Camry going north at the intersection of 88th Place and Main Street just after noon in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood, L.A. police Capt. Aaron Ponce said. The truck continued west through the intersection, and shortly after struck a pedestrian who was “either on the sidewalk or in the vicinity,” Ponce said. The pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, died at the scene. Video from the scene showed the pickup, which appeared to be an older model Ford Ranger, and the Toyota with smashed up front ends. At least three people were in the truck and all of them fled, including the driver. Police are looking to arrest the driver, and want to track down the passengers as witnesses, the captain said. Anyone with information can contact LAPD at 877-527-3247.

Man Shot While Walking Dogs In Hollywood, 2 French Bulldogs Stolen
A man was shot and wounded while walking dogs on a Hollywood street Wednesday night, and two French bulldogs were then stolen. The shooting occurred at 9:40 p.m. in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue, just off Sunset Boulevard. A 30-year-old man was walking several dogs when two suspects got out of a car and approached him, Los Angeles police said. After an altercation, the suspects opened fire on him. They then stole two French bulldogs and fled in a car. The man was rushed to a local hospital, police said. His condition Thursday morning was unknown. “We haven't been able to confirm whether the victim owned the dogs or whether he was walking the dogs on behalf of somebody,” LAPD Sgt. Thomas Willers said. The suspects are believed to have sped away northbound on Sierra Bonita, towards Hollywood Boulevard.

Double Murder Suspect's Case Being Handled In Juvenile Court
A family is outraged after a case involving a man accused of killing their daughters is being handled by the juvenile court because the suspect committed the crime just weeks before his 18th birthday. The relatives of the slain Westchester sisters say Los Angeles County DA George Gascón is responsible for allowing the case to stay in juvenile court. "You're hurting families," said Kevin Brown, father of Sierra Brown, said of Gascón. "You're hurting this community. You're tearing LA apart. Your policies are garbage." Felicia Andrews, the grieving mother of the slain sisters, said Gascón's decision left her feeling angry and hurt. Back in November 2018, 16-year-old Sierra Brown and 27-year-old Uniek Souvinette Akins were both found dead in their apartment with multiple gunshot wounds. Investigators say, Sierra's ex-boyfriend Donato Cruikshank set the apartment on fire after killing the sisters. Cruikshank was arrested and was about a month shy of turning 18 at the time of the crime. Kathy Cady is a former deputy DA turned Marsy's Law attorney. Cady says Gascón ordered this case to stay in juvenile court, which means the most Cruikshank would get, if convicted, would be about seven years in the murder of the two young women. "Given the premeditation that was involved," Cady said. "The cruelty, the callousness, the coverup… all of those factors... that is just not justice for this family."
FOX 11

Attack On Asian American Air Force Veteran In Koreatown Investigated As Hate Crime
Knocked to the ground and berated with racial slurs and anti-Asian threats, a U.S. Air Force veteran spoke out about his attack in Los Angeles' Koreatown, which police are now investigating as a hate crime. Denny Kim said he's still shaken up about what happen on the sidewalk on Kenmore Avenue a week ago. "I was terrified for my life, as you can see the physical injuries on my face," Kim said. The 27-year-old still wore a black eye and was breathing through a fractured nose a week after, he says, two men threatened to kill him and called him racial slurs, before knocking him to the ground in an unprovoked attack. Said Kim, "Started calling me 'ching chong' ... 'Chinese virus' ... All sorts of nasty stuff. They eventually struck me on my face. I fell down to the ground." Kim says he has his friend to thank for chasing off the attackers and saving his life. The description of the men, unfortunately, is too vague to be of much use. LAPD detectives are searching for security video in the area and are investigating the attack as a hate crime with criminal threats.

Streets Closed In Reseda Neighborhood For Police Investigation
Streets were closed Wednesday for a police investigation in a Reseda neighborhood. Officers responded late Wednesday morning to a report of a man armed with a shotgun in a Reseda neighborhood. Officers could not immediately confirm whether the man, who was in the yard of a home, is armed. The standoff continued into Wednesday afternoon. At one point, the man appeared to sticks his head out a garage window and shout at officers. Streets near the 7500 block of Tampa Avenue are closed for the police response. Residents were asked to stay indoors. 

Calls To LA County Domestic Violence Hotline Saw Significant Increase In 2020
The deadly coronavirus has taken the lives of over half a million Americans. And there is another crisis, a silent killer, that has also worsened over the last year: domestic violence. "Given the circumstances of COVID, it has greatly exacerbated the fear, the danger, for domestic violence victims and survivors," Symone Fairchild said. She is the founder of Eye on DV, a movement based in Los Angeles to eradicate domestic violence. Fairchild is a survivor herself, having experienced physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of her child's father. "Having Christmas trees thrown at me, being pinned up against the wall by my neck. It's interesting how the body and the brain will hold memories from you if you're not able to handle them at the time," she sighed. Survival, some could argue, is even harder for women and men experiencing abuse during this pandemic as Americans are asked to stay home and avoid other households. At the same time, women's shelters that previously could offer reprieve are now operating in limited capacity. According to the Los Angeles Police Department domestic violence calls for service spiked in April 2020, one month into the county's safer at home order. Police responded to about 16% more calls than in April of 2019.

New Federal Initiative Tackles Opioid Scourge In LA, Riverside Counties
The Los Angeles-area office of the Drug Enforcement Administration will sharpen its focus on the opioid epidemic in Southern California under a new initiative announced Wednesday, Feb. 24. Operation Engage allows field divisions to devote their resources to what officials there decide is the most pressing drug threat in their areas. In the case of the LA office, which covers Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, that's the painkillers, especially the man-made and powerful drug fentanyl. Fentanyl is playing a role in 49% of the drug-caused deaths in Los Angeles County and 42% in Riverside County, officials said at a news conference in LA. “Fentanyl is cheap, potent, and deadly. The demand for it and other opioids remains high and, as a result, Southern California faces an ever-increasing number of overdose deaths,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison. Dealers of illegal drugs are known to lace painkillers such as oxycodone with fentanyl, which can be prescribed legally but which authorities say is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, and sell them to unsuspecting customers. In 2017, the DEA's Los Angeles office seized about 120,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills that were actually fentanyl pills. In 2020, that number increased to 1.2 million pills.
Los Angeles Daily News

Public Safety News

Fire Destroys Commercial Building, Damages Second Structure In South LA
A massive fire destroyed a commercial building in Historic South-Central Los Angeles early Thursday morning and spread to a second building, officials said. Firefighters responded about 12:50 a.m. to the 3700 block of South Grand Avenue, near 38th Street, and found heavy fire coming from a one-story 100-foot-by-200-foot building, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. At about 1:15 a.m., Stewart said the fire had gone through the roof and, due to the "possible loss of structural integrity, this is transitioning to a defensive operation.'' The flames spread to a nearby two-story, 50-foot-by-100-foot commercial building and caused significant damage, but a "closely coordinated operation'' allowed crews to extinguish that fire and save a large portion of the building, Stewart said. The first building was declared a total loss, she said. A total of 99 firefighters were assigned to the greater-alarm incident, and a knock down was called at about 3:30 a.m. No injuries were reported. ABC 7

LA County Reports 18 Confirmed Cases Of UK COVID-19 Variant
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday there are now 18 confirmed cases in the county of the COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. According to Ferrer, officials from county health and USC are investigating a university outbreak of four cases, two of which have been confirmed to be the UK variant, and the other two are suspected of being that variant. “The individuals are doing well and they are in isolation,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Close contacts have been identified, notified and they're quarantining.” To date, there are still no confirmed cases of a South African variant, but she says there does appear to be a large presence of a California variant. Los Angeles County also reported an additional 136 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday and another 2,157 newly confirmed cases.

California Tops 50,000 Coronavirus Deaths, Including 806 More In L.A. Traced Back To Winter Surge
Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported another 806 deaths from coronavirus during the winter surge, pushing California's toll above 50,000, or about one-tenth of the U.S. total from the pandemic. The county, which has a quarter of the state's 40 million residents, said the deaths mainly occurred between Dec. 3 and Feb. 3. The Department of Public Health identified them after going through death records that were backlogged by the sheer volume of the surge's toll. “It is heartbreaking to report on this large number of additional deaths associated with COVID-19 and a devastating reminder of the terrible toll the winter surge has taken on so many families across the county,” Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County's health director, said in a statement. Johns Hopkins University put California's overall COVID-19 death toll at 50,890. The grim figure comes just days after the U.S. recorded a half-million deaths. While the nation's most populous state has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., it is ranked 25th in the number of cases per capita because of its large population.

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: