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

March 1, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Officer In Critical Condition After Being Hit By Car In South Los Angeles
A Los Angeles police officer is fighting for their life at the hospital after being hit by a car in South Los Angeles Friday night. Emergency crews responded to a call of a crash in the 200 block of East King Boulevard around 7:30 p.m. Two people, one of them being an LAPD officer, were taken to the hospital. The officer was on foot when they got hit by the car. LAPD told FOX 11 the crash is believed to be an accident, not something that was done with criminal intentions. The officer's injuries are believed to be critical, LAPD told FOX 11. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
FOX 11

2 LAPD Officers Injured When Mini Cooper Plows Into Parked Police Cruiser In Toluca Lake
A crash in Toluca Lake late Saturday night sent two Los Angeles Police Department officers to hospitals, officials said. One of the officers was sitting in the driver's seat of his patrol car while another was standing outside the passenger side door on the eastbound side of Camarillo Street near Sancola Avenue at around 6:30 p.m., police at the scene said. An LAPD spokesman said the officers were responding to an earlier crash. That's when a Mini Cooper headed west on Camarillo swerved over to the eastside and plowed into the patrol vehicle. The officer standing outside was thrown when the force of the crash shoved the patrol car into him. Both officers were taken to hospitals, an LAPD spokesman said, and remained there on Sunday. According to ABC7, one of the officers may have suffered a broken arm. Sgt. Tiffany Ljubetic at the scene said both officers were “banged up pretty good.” No one else was injured in that crash.
Los Angeles Daily News

Man Fatally Wounded During Drive-By Shooting In Wilmington A man was fatally wounded during a drive-by shooting in Wilmington, police said Saturday. The shooting occurred a little before 4 p.m. Friday in the area of Lakme Avenue and Anaheim Street, said Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section. The victim was walking in the area when a vehicle drove up and two suspects inside fired shots at the man. The vehicle then drove away, Cervantes said. Paramedics rushed the victim to an area hospital, where he later died from his injuries, she said. Police had no motive for the shooting or descriptions of the vehicle and suspects. Anyone with any information regarding the homicide was urged to call the LAPD's Harbor station at 310-726-7700.

Man Killed In Drive-By Shooting In Fairfax District, LAPD Says
A man was killed in a drive-by shooting in the Fairfax District Friday evening, police said. Los Angeles police said the shooting occurred at around 6:40 p.m. in the area of Rosewood Avenue and Gardner Street. The man was walking in the area when a vehicle drove by and opened fire. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. LAPD said it is unknown if the shooting is gang-related. The suspect or suspects remain on the loose.
Man Shot To Death Near Downtown Los Angeles
A man was shot to death Saturday on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. The shooting in the area of Wall and Sixth streets occurred around 2:50 a.m., said Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and police had no suspect information. The victim's name will be released pending notification of next of kin, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Fear Grows About Spike In Violent Crime Around Melrose Avenue
Fear is growing in and around Melrose Avenue as a spike in violent crime is scaring neighbors. “I've been a resident here since 1965 and the neighborhood has drastically changed lately,” said Shelby Blecker, a concerned homeowner. At least seven armed robberies and three murders have happened in the area in the last few months. “That's just so bizarre to think I could walk down to Melrose or walk down to Beverly or walk down to the Grove and I have to look in front of me, behind me, and worry about someone driving up behind me and shooting me,” said Blecker. Multiple neighbors said police were increasing patrols in the area and using undercover officers to curb crime. Tuesday night, the Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch will host a Zoom meeting with the LAPD to let Fairfax District neighbors ask officers about the increase in crime. 

33-Year-Old Man Struck, Killed In Hit-and-Run While Walking In South L.A.; LAPD Seeking 3 Men
Police are searching for three men in connection with a hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles that left a man 33-year-old man dead earlier this week, authorities said Friday. Surveillance footage released by the LAPD shows a green pickup truck run a red light just before the fatal collision Wednesday in the Broadway-Manchester neighborhood. Around noon, the truck was speeding westbound along East 88th place when it ran the light and then hit another vehicle driving northbound on South Main Street, according to LAPD. The impact from that crash caused the truck to then collide with a pedestrian who was crossing northbound along Main Street and walking within a marked crosswalk, police said. The victim has been identified by his brother as Ronal Merdio Villatoro. The three men inside the truck ran from the scene, leaving the victim to die from his wounds, according to police. LAPD has released photos of the three men identified as suspects. Anyone with information can reach Detective Daniel Ramirez or Detective Ryan Moreno of South Traffic Division at 323-421-2500.

Students, LAPD Officers Join March In Effort To Strengthen Relationship With Law Enforcement
When students in Los Angeles county return to campus, school police officers will be gone and will instead be replaced by staff trained in de-escalation and conflict resolution. On Saturday, LAPD officers joined students and members of the community for a symbolic march across the First Street Bridge in Boyle Heights. The group dubbed the joint march "Good Trouble," marking the arrest of the late Congressman John Lewis 61 years ago as he fought for civil rights. "Good Trouble for us today is all about reimagining public safety at our schools, in our communities, and for a lot of young people who are going to be here today to be a part of the process," said Daphne Bradford, the founder of Building Blue Bridges. That organization works to build relationships between law enforcement and the youth, like Princess Adkins, for positive change. "Since my grandpa is a retired LAPD officer, I just want people to understand that not all cops are bad. There are good ones out there," said the Hamilton High School student.

Lady Gaga's Dogs Recovered, But Mystery Only Deepens About The Violent Theft
A woman returned Lady Gaga's stolen dogs to the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday, but the mystery over their kidnapping and the shooting of their dog walker only intensified. The dogs were stolen in a brazen, violent attack in Hollywood. At 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, two men leapt out of a white sedan in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue and demanded that Gaga's dog walker, Ryan Fischer, hand over the musician's three French bulldogs. As Fischer struggled with the robbers, one of them shot him once in the chest. The assailants grabbed two of the three dogs and sped off in the sedan, described by the police as a Nissan Altima. Police say they have no suspects in the attack. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, believe kidnapping the dogs was the motive but are not sure if the assailants knew the dogs belonged to the pop star. They are reviewing license plates of cars in the area at the time to see if they can come up with clues, the sources said. They are also looking for security video.
Los Angeles Times

Police Searching For 2 Young Boys Who Ran Away From Foster Home In Watts
Authorities are searching for two at-risk boys on Saturday who ran away together from a foster home and were last seen in Watts. Tyler Hernandez, 10, and Richard Benitez, 11, were last seen Wednesday in the 1100 block of East 113th Street, near Imperial Highway, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Hernandez is Hispanic. He stands about 5-feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, basketball shorts, and shoes as well as a gray cap, police said. Hernandez also takes medication for schizophrenia, according to LAPD. Benitez is also Hispanic. He stands about 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, jeans, black shoes and a black cap, according to police. LAPD asked anyone with information on the boys' whereabouts to call Southeast Juvenile Detective Delosh at 213-972-7849 or 911.
FOX 11

Arson, Hate Crime Investigation After Windows Smashed And Fire Set At Buddhist Temple In Little Tokyo
Police are searching for the suspect who set a fire and smashed a window at a downtown Los Angeles Buddhist temple, which is also home to a preschool. The facility has been closed to religious services due to the pandemic, but there was someone inside who heard the attack and extinguished the fire. The incident, which happened at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in the 500 block of East Third Street, is being investigated as a hate crime and arson. Officer Mike Lopez with the Los Angeles Police Department said the male suspect jumped the gate to the temple, lit a fire and damaged several metal lanterns, among other property. A minister who heard the attack and came out to investigate put out the fire that had been set to the wooden lantern stands, according to temple officials. The suspect was described as a male wearing a black baseball hat, a gold or yellow shirt and black shorts, fled the scene on foot, Lopez said. No other descriptive information was immediately available.

LAPD Reports Doubling Of Anti-Asian Hate Incidents In 2020
New hate crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department shows the number of anti-Asian crime reports rose 114% in 2020, though the overall number of incidents remained relatively low. An analysis from the Department's Hate Crime Coordinator showed 15 anti-Asian incidents in 2020, compared with seven in 2019. The Department's oversight board, the Los Angeles Police Commission, was set to discuss the nationwide increase in reports of anti-Asian bias crimes at its meeting next week. The data showed there was a 35.7% increase in the number of anti-Hispanic incidents and a 5.5% increase in the number of anti-Black incidents in 2020 compared with 2019, and a 40% decrease in the number of anti-Semitic hate incidents. The LAPD said there was a near-30% increase in the number of anti-gay reports, and a 26% increase in the number of incidents that targeted people who identified as transgender. The department also said the types of crimes had changed with more hate incidents categorized as violent crime. In 2020 the data showed 93 of the overall number of incidents were aggravated assaults, meaning they produced a serious injury. That was a 72% increase over 2019. Assaults that produced less-severe injuries increased by 18%. The LAPD's newly published data does not include incidents in 2021. NBCLA examined this year's crime data and found a single anti-Asian hate incident on Feb. 16, which occurred in West Los Angeles and was reported as a "vandalism."

Alleged Ghost Gun Maker Arrested In Van Nuys, Weapons Seized In Hollywood
Detectives in Van Nuys tracked a man suspected of making and selling ghost guns to gang members and arrested him on Friday, serving a search warrant that yielded a cache of weapons and weapon manufacturing equipment. Los Angeles Police Department officials said they arrested 30-year-old Dalton Costahaude on Feb. 26, accusing him of one count of possessing an assault weapon and other weapons violations. According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department booking records, Costahaude was arrested and booked in Van Nuys around the same time that LAPD raided a residence in the 1200 block of N. Sycamore Avenue, where they reported finding 13 illegal guns. Among the haul, detectives said they also found “several high-capacity rifle drum magazines” and “machines used for manufacturing ghost gun parts and ammunition,” as well as “numerous gun making materials that included several unregistered fully automatic rifles, automatic pistols, short barrel rifles, several semi-automatic handguns, semi-automatic rifles, several silencers, a large amount of black powder, numerous gun parts and ammunition,” according to an LAPD statement.
Los Angeles Daily News

California Driver Busted For Using Realistic Dummy In Carpool Lane
Drivers getting creative when sneaking into carpool lanes is nothing new, and a California Highway Patrol officer thought he'd seen it all until last week, when an official said he pulled a driver over with the “most realistic dummy” sitting shotgun in a Toyota Tacoma. The mannequin looked like an older man with gray hair and wrinkles on his face, wearing eyeglasses and a facemask, sitting in the passenger seat of the driver's Toyota, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said in an interview Friday, Feb. 26. The dummy also had donned a Cleveland Indians baseball cap and had sunglasses tucked in the shirt's front pocket. Officer S. Sullinger was the one who found the realistic mannequin while patrolling the eastbound 210 freeway in Glendora, near the Grand Avenue exit, looking for potential carpool violators on Feb. 19, Jimenez said. The officer noticed the front passenger in the Toyota looked a bit suspicious and that the vehicle had tinted windows on the front passenger side, which is illegal, Jimenez said. When the driver rolled his window down to talk to the officer, Sullinger realized the passenger was a fake.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Offenders Of Newly Proposed CA Sexploitation Law Would Face Hundreds Of Thousands In Penalties
A tough, new California law has been introduced that would give victims of sexual exploitation a powerful tool to take down online images. It takes aim not just at websites, but also sharing of non-consensual images on smartphones. Victims complain that it is difficult if not impossible to get sexually explicit images of non-consensual activity taken down from online sites. A new bill, authored by State Senator Dave Cortese of San Jose, would impose hefty penalties when a victim notifies a site to remove them. "A distributor has two hours to take down that content," said Cortese. "After that, an offender must pay damages of $100,000 for every two hours of online exposure." The penalty is double, or $200,000, if the victim is a minor. The bill is believed to be the first of its kind nationally to curb exploitation. "It's about every victim being able to have the images removed in a timely manner so they can get peace of mind," said Sheila Pott. Her daughter, Audrie, was such a victim in 2012 after being sexually assaulted. Images were shared online by school classmates. Audrie died by suicide a week later. Sen. Cortese says his bill will be a deterrent for that kind of activity.

Authorities: Oklahoma Man Released Early From Prison Cuts Neighbor's Heart Out, Serves To Relatives In Triple Murder
An Oklahoma man who was released early from prison in January as part of a mass commutation effort is now accused of killing three people in a gruesome case. Authorities say Lawrence Paul Anderson this month killed a neighbor in Chickasha, cut out her heart and then cooked the heart to serve to his relatives. The Oklahoman reports he cooked the heart with potatoes and allegedly fed it to his family to “release the demons.” Anderson is also accused of killing his uncle, wounding his aunt and killing the pair's 4-year-old granddaughter. Anderson had been serving a 20-year prison sentence for probation violations on a drug case. He was released after serving a little more than three years. Anderson sobbed in court on Tuesday, saying he didn't want bail. The Oklahoman reports a vial of PCP was found on Anderson when he was arrested. It's not clear yet if he was on drugs when the murders occurred.

Public Safety News

Firefighter Injured In Blaze That Spread To 3 Buildings In Westlake
A Los Angeles firefighter was injured while battling a blaze in Westlake that damaged a Craftsman-style home, a fourplex and another structure. The fire was reported about 3:50 p.m. at 1521 W. 8th St. as an outdoor blaze that was "lapping up to the eaves'' of the house, said Margaret Stewart with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Flames made way into the attic of the home and caused "significant damage,'' she said. A two-story fourplex to the west side of the home was also damaged, as the fire spread to its attic and eaves, but firefighters keep flames from reaching any of the units, according to Stewart. A third, small commercial building that was an add-on living space to the original home was also significantly damaged, she said. The injured firefighter suffered burns to his arm that were not life-threatening, according to Stewart. He was taken to a hospital in fair condition. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
FOX 11

LA County Reports 1,730 New COVID-19 Cases, 94 Deaths
Los Angeles County reported 1,730 new cases of COVID-19 and 94 additional deaths on Saturday, Feb. 27, while the number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued to trend downward. According to state figures — which are typically a day ahead of county numbers — there were 1,661 COVID-19 patients in L.A. County hospitals, down from 1,733 on Friday. That's well below the peak of more than 8,000 patients in early January and the lowest level recorded since Nov. 22. Officials cautioned the public to remain vigilant and follow recommended health protocols to keep the momentum going. “We have been in this position before, on the downside of a surge in cases. We must not have a false confidence and must stay committed to the very safety measures that are helping to decrease our cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said Friday that the appearance of various variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 is not surprising and should not spark panic.
Los Angeles Daily News

Nearly 1.2 Million More Residents Eligible For COVID Vaccine Monday, As LA County Expands Effort
Officials were taking appointments Sunday for added groups of people who will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at sites run by Los Angeles County Monday, when a massive expansion of the pool of people eligible to receive the doses goes into effect. Beginning Monday, doses will be offered to essential workers in education and child care, food and agriculture, and law enforcement and emergency services -- but health officials said those workers will have to be patient as vaccine supplies remain limited and staff are being trained to ensure only eligible people receive shots. The newly eligible groups include an estimated 1.2 million people. “Therefore, it will take considerable time to vaccinate these groups, unless vaccine supply significantly increases,” said Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the county Department of Public Health. “We urge the public's patience as we work through this process as quickly as possible.” Los Angeles County residents can visit  to book appointments, or for eligibility questions.

Local Government News

L.A. Is Cutting Back On Street Sweeping. That Could Mean Fewer Parking Tickets
It's one of the most reviled aspects of Los Angeles government: the $73 ticket placed on cars illegally parked during street-sweeping days. Angelenos received a respite from those tickets for seven months last year, after the beginning of the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders that followed. They could receive another break starting Monday, when the city is set to cut its street-sweeping schedule in half, holding the cleanings every other week instead of weekly. That could mean a big reduction in parking citations in the coming months — but only if car owners know which weeks are the right ones to safely park. To help residents make the transition, the Bureau of Street Services is directing them to , where they can sign up for email notifications for days their streets will be cleaned. The city is also directing residents to an online map and to its 311 hotline. “We're going to be very sensitive to the community, to their needs, on how we make sure that no tickets are issued to people who are parked on the days that we are not sweeping,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the bureau's director and general manager.
Los Angeles Times

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: