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

April 7, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Homeless Man Accused Of Ramming Vehicle Into 2 Other Transients, Killing One In West LA
Criminal charges were filed Tuesday against a homeless man accused of deliberately ramming a vehicle into two other transients, killing one and injuring the other, within the federal enclave in West Los Angeles. Pedro Saade-Flores -- also known as Pedro Flores -- is charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder, along with an allegation that he personally used a motor vehicle as a deadly and dangerous weapon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $4 million bail while awaiting his next court appearance May 19. LAPD officers sent about 12:05 a.m. Sunday to the 11600 block of San Vicente Boulevard found two men who had been struck by the vehicle -- one of whom had been dragged more than 200 feet. The 51-year-old man died at the scene. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin. The second man, 36 years old, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said. LAPD officers then initiated a search for the vehicle and located it a few blocks away. A short pursuit ensued, with the 34-year-old suspect eventually taken into custody.

Knife-Wielding Man Arrested After Mid-Wilshire Standoff A man brandishing a knife was taken into custody following a standoff early Wednesday morning in the Mid-Wilshire area that forced evacuations. The standoff began sometime before 3:30 a.m. in the 300 block of South Manhattan Place, according to Los Angeles police. Sometime before 4:30 a.m., the suspect was arrested. Another person was seen being taken to a hospital by ambulance. It's unclear if the person was seriously hurt. An apartment complex was also temporarily evacuated during the incident.

LAPD Says Nearly 6K Employees Have Received Their First COVID Vaccine Dose
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday nearly 6,000 members of the department have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 3,711 have received a second dose. “Since our last meeting, we have vaccinated an additional 582 individuals,” Moore said. “And now have just under 6,000 members of the organization that have had the first dose of the vaccine. The second dose has now been given to 3,711 personnel, which is an increase of nearly a thousand additional members of the organization.” Moore said the department is also now administering the Johnson Johnson vaccine “through the cooperation with the fire department.” “If there's some aversion to the particular vaccination, members of the public, as well as the department, are all reminded that these vaccines are all very effective,” he said. “Our efforts are ongoing to educate the remaining members of the organization and encourage them to take advantage of this vaccine.” As of Tuesday, 81 LAPD employees remained quarantined and were recovering from COVID. “That number of our last meeting was 95,” Moore said. To date, 2,634 employees have fully recovered from the virus and have returned to work. According to Moore, one member of the organization was in “very grave condition.”

As LAPD Assesses Echo Park Response, Chief Moore Says City Needs Better Plan For Park Closures
The Los Angeles Police Department will conduct an internal review of its handling of protests that erupted over the closure of Echo Park Lake and the clearing of a homeless encampment there last month, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. In the meantime, he said, city officials should be clearer with the public about what they should expect if another park needs to be cleared. He specifically called on Jose "Che" Ramirez, L.A.'s deputy mayor for homelessness initiatives, to take the lead in forming a more "consistent policy" for when and how public parks may be closed for safety and sanitation concerns related to homeless encampments in the future. Moore said his intent was not to criticize Ramirez or other city officials involved in the Echo Park operation, which he thought was largely successful in connecting unhoused residents to city services, but to "stress the importance of moving forward as other communities are asking about their park and instances in which homeless individuals are encamped there." 
Yahoo! News

Fatal Hollywood Collision Determined Not To Be A Hit-and-Run
Authorities Tuesday announced they are no longer investigating the death of a man who was struck and killed in Hollywood last week as a hit-and-run. The victim was struck by two vehicles as he was crossing outside of a crosswalk in the area of Wilton Place and Santa Monica Boulevard at about 9:45 p.m. on Friday. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died. Police initially believed the man was struck by three vehicles, including a white SUV that fled the scene. Authorities sought the public's help to find the suspected hit-and-run driver. However, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday afternoon that further investigation revealed there were only two vehicles involved in the collision, and both drivers remained at the scene and cooperated with police. The deceased man's name was withheld, pending notification of his next of kin. Investigation into the collision was still ongoing, according to an LAPD statement.

Hearing Postponed For Suspected DUI Driver Who Hit 2 FOX 11 Crew Members, 4 Others
The preliminary hearing for the suspected DUI driver who hit a total of six pedestrians, including two FOX 11 crew members, last month in Hollywood has been postponed Tuesday. In addition to the hearing being pushed back, a new video of the crash had surfaced, seemingly from one of the traffic cameras on the busy Hollywood street. On March 19, FOX 11 reporter Hal Eisner and photojournalist Joab Perez were in the middle of their assignment on the reopening of El Capitan Theatre, which was welcoming back limited crowds after a year of pandemic-related closures. Along with FOX 11's crew members, the street was also packed with tourists and other media members. "I barely saw a flash of the truck," said a limping Perez, who was just released from the hospital but is still being treated for serious injuries. "Next thing I knew, I was inside the store, under the door – I am happy to be alive!" No word on what is in the video, but neither the DA or public defenders on the case have seen it. The man who was driving the vehicle, 55-year-old Carlos Alan Gale, was in court. He has pled not guilty to felony DUI charges that may carry enhancements in this case.
FOX 11

Missing Woman Found Dead In Huntington Park Dumpster ID'd; Son Arrested On Suspicion Of Homicide
A missing woman later found dead in a Huntington Park dumpster was the victim of a homicide and her son has been arrested in connection with the crime, officials said Tuesday. Teresa Casillas Iniguez, 66, was reported missing by a family member who called authorities Sunday night regarding a stolen vehicle, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Deputies found the vehicle being driven by the victim's son in Rosemead the following morning. Because evidence of foul play had been discovered at the Huntington Park home, the son was taken into custody for questioning, officials said without elaborating. Iniguez was found dead about 6:30 a.m. Monday, “within a close proximity” to where the vehicle was first reported stolen in Huntington Park. While her exact cause of death has not been determined, her son was eventually arrested on suspicion of homicide, Deputy Trina Schrader told KTLA. He has not been identified. It is unclear where Iniguez was killed or how long she had been in the Dumpster. 

Featured Social Media Post

Hollywood Actor Arrested In Alleged $227-Million Ponzi Scheme
Zachary J. Horwitz, a small-time actor, was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles on a federal charge that he ran a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $227 million by touting fictitious film licensing deals with HBO, Netflix and other platforms. Horwitz, 34, who has appeared in minor films under the stage name Zach Avery, was accused of fabricating emails from HBO and Netflix executives about nonexistent film distribution agreements in an attempt to stave off demands for payment from investors. In a sworn statement filed in Los Angeles federal court, FBI agent John Verrastro laid out a brazen scheme by Horwitz to persuade investors to pour huge sums of money into his film distribution company, 1inMM Capital LLC. Horwitz sent investors bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch with the company's 2015 annual report that highlighted a “library” of 52 films his company was supposedly distributing in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America, according to Verrastro.
Los Angeles Times

Man Pleads No Contest In Skid Row Voter Fraud Case
A man who was indicted along with eight other people in connection with a scheme in which homeless people on Skid Row were offered money and cigarettes in exchange for false and forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms was sentenced today to a year in county jail and three years probation. Kirkland Washington, 40, was immediately sentenced following his no contest plea to three criminal charges, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He is set to surrender April 30 to begin serving his jail term. Washington was among nine people indicted in June 2019. According to prosecutors, the defendants engaged in the solicitation of hundreds of false and/or forged signatures on state ballot petitions and voter registration forms by offering homeless people $1 and/or cigarettes for their participation during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles. Co-defendants Richard Howard, 65, Louis Thomas Wise, 38, Christopher Joseph Williams, 41, Nickey Demelvin Huntley, 46, Norman Hall, 63, Harold Bennett, 55, and Rose Sweeney, 45, pleaded no contest or guilty at earlier court hearings.
Venice Current

SoCal Siblings Charged In $6M Real Estate Scheme
A brother and sister from Southern California have been charged with running a $6 million scheme in which they sold homes to buyers without the owners' consent. Adolfo Schoneke, 43, of Torrance, and Bianca Gonzalez, 38, of Walnut, were arrested Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office. The two and others allegedly ran a number of real estate and escrow companies that would offer properties for sale at below-market prices “even though many, in fact, were not for sale, and they did not have authority to list them,” the statement said. Schoneke and Gonzalez used other people's brokerage licenses to list the homes on real estate websites and accepted multiple offers for the same home, prosecutors contend. “The co-conspirators allegedly were able to string along the victims – sometimes for years – by telling them closings were being delayed because lenders needed to approve the purported short sales,” the U.S. attorney's office said. Several hundred buyers were conned out of more than $6 million, authorities allege.

Deputy Stabbed To Death At Georgia Jail; Another Deputy Hurt
A Bibb County sheriff's deputy was stabbed to death early Tuesday by an apparently handcuffed inmate at the county jail who grabbed a knife the deputy was thought to have had in his possession, officials said. It was unclear to investigators whether the knife was taken from a duty belt that the deputy was wearing or if perhaps the knife somehow fell to the floor, possibly in a struggle to restrain the inmate, officials said. The deputy, 30-year-old Christopher Wilson Knight, was stabbed while he and other deputies were moving inmate Albert Dewitt Booze to a cell for "suicide watch" about 2:30 a.m. after Booze made threats about harming himself, Sheriff David Davis said. Charges against Booze, 22, who had been in the jail since November on charges of criminal damage, giving a false name and criminal trespassing, were pending.
The Macon Telegraph

Public Safety News

L.A. County Leaders Move To Expand Anti-Racist Initiative To Include Asian Americans
Following several violent attacks against Asian Americans, L.A. County leaders on Tuesday launched an initiative to explore how to better combat hate crimes in the county. The county Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a work group that will make specific recommendations next month. The work group will also determine the feasibility of launching the L.A. County Equity and Diversity Fund, which would finance anti-racist research and art that celebrates communities of color. The goal would be to raise an initial $1 million from county and philanthropic organizations. “The escalation of attacks against AAPI Americans has been a heartbreaking reminder of how far we have to go toward building a society where everyone can feel safe, accepted and equal,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who authored the motion, using an abbreviation for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. L.A. County is home to some of the largest populations in the United States of Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese and Thai Americans, according to the motion.
Los Angeles Times

California Could Fully Reopen Without Tiered Schedule By June 15 If Infections, Hospitalizations Continue To Drop
If COVID-19 trends continue to improve, California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state can do away with the colored tier system by June 15. Discarding the colored tier system will allow restrictions to be lifted from all businesses, gatherings and recreational activities. However, a statewide mask mandate will remain in place. State officials say the full reopening depends on meeting two criteria — hospitalization rates stay low and stable, and there are enough supplies to vaccinate all Californians 16 and older who want one. “Moving past the dimmer switch” was made possible by the state administering 20 million vaccine doses as of Tuesday, according to Newsom. He said California has administered 7 million more doses than any other state. And more importantly, 4 million of those doses were administered to communities in hard-hit areas, Newsom said. “We can confidently say, by June 15, that we can start to open as business as usual,” he said at a news conference in San Francisco.

Local Government News

LA City Council Approves Motion To Improve Homeless Outreach Efforts
With funding for additional homeless outreach workers already approved, the Los Angeles Cit y Council Tuesday approved a motion to improve the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's outreach program. The motion, which was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Curren Price, passed 14-0. It will build on the council's funding to LAHSA for an additional 15 outreach teams to join its existing 200 teams focused on connecting unhoused Angelenos with housing and services. "It is imperative that all interactions performed by LAHSA, service providers, county and city staff be integrated and coordinated with the new outreach engagement teams, as we work to place individuals into the 6,700 new beds coming online throughout the city, so that we create a more seamless transition process for homeless individuals and ensure that they have their best chance of success," the motion stated.
FOX 11

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: