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

May 19, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Amid Calls To ‘Defund The Police,' Most Portland Residents Want Police Presence Maintained Or Increased, Poll Finds
Nearly a year after “defund the police” became a racial justice rallying cry in Portland and across the U.S., a vast majority of Portlanders and those living in the metro area reject the call to diminish police presence in the city. Three-fourths of Portland-area residents say they do not want to see policing in the city dip below its current levels, with a plurality supporting an increase in cops, according to a recent poll commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Meanwhile, fewer than a quarter of survey participants in Portland — and even less among suburban residents — believe there should be fewer police officers. The findings come as activists and some civic leaders in Portland continue to demand further reductions to policing and as the mayor and the city council work to re-imagine the city's public safety system. People age 34 and younger were more likely than their elders to favor a decreased police presence, but most still favored maintaining or expanding their ranks, the poll conducted by DHM Research found. Survey participant Brandon Lane, 61, said it made sense to beef up the city's police force amid a dramatic surge in shootings, a homelessness and addiction crisis and a downtown battered by a pandemic and months of destructive protests. “I'm not sure that it needs to be drastically higher,” the Northeast Portland resident told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “But if we defund or reduce the headcount any further, we're likely to be inviting bigger problems.” At the same time, Lane said he believes officers too often respond to situations they are ill-equipped to handle, such as a person in crisis, and favors increases in social services to help those is need. “That's the compassionate thing to try and do,” he said. “That would also free the police to do the things they're supposed to do.”

LAPD Searching For Suspect In Stabbing At El Pollo Loco In Hollywood
A suspect remains on the loose after a fight led to a violent stabbing at an El Pollo Loco restaurant in Hollywood Tuesday night. The incident was reported just before 7 p.m. at Fountain Avenue and Vine Street. Police say two men got into a fight in the restaurant's parking lot. One stabbed the other multiple times and ran off. The victim stumbled inside the El Pollo Loco and collapsed. Restaurant workers called 911. The victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The suspect remains on the loose.

Drunk Driver Who Crashed Into Building, Killing Woman, Sentenced To Prison
A motorist who was drunk when she crashed her vehicle into a South Los Angeles apartment building, killing a sleeping woman, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in state prison. Connie Jo Howard, now 61, pleaded no contest last October to one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury and driving with a 0.08% blood-alcohol content causing injury, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Howard's vehicle crashed into a bedroom of an apartment building near Main Street and 87th Place on July 3, 2019, killing Nicole Marks as the 44-year-old woman slept next to her toddler daughter, who was not seriously injured. Howard's passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash, according to the District Attorney's Office. She was also taken to a hospital for treatment that day. Howard was arrested six days later by the Los Angeles Police Department's South Traffic Division and has remained behind bars since then, jail records show.

Bonin Pushes Back On Identity Of Man Charged In Palisades Fire As "Homeless"
Councilmember Mike Bonin is pushing back when it comes to identifying the person said to have started a 1,158-acre brush fire in Pacific Palisades as "homeless". According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, was charged Tuesday with one felony count each of arson of a structure or forest and arson during a state of emergency. Rodriguez was identified as being homeless by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a press release. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor in 2022, said the arrest shows the danger of the city's ongoing homelessness crisis. "Our homelessness crisis is destroying neighborhoods and endangering the lives of the housed and unhoused," Buscaino said. "Over sixty percent of the fires that the LAFD has responded to this year have been related to homelessness. Allowing unregulated sprawling encampments is not compassionate; it's reckless." Buscaino went on to say: "We must act now on passing regulations that will return the rights of every Angeleno to enjoy our public spaces, and prohibit encampments whenever people are offered shelter. We must support safe and clean sidewalks, parks, and beaches. We must support a livable city where we can raise our children without being subjected to rampant crime on our streets."
Venice Current
Police Investigate Possible Jewish Hate Crime Attack At Beverly Grove Restaurant
Authorities are investigating whether an attack on diners that occurred outside a Beverly Grove restaurant late Tuesday night was a Jewish hate crime. The brawl occurred a little before 10 p.m. outside Sushi Fumi in the 300 block of North La Cienega Boulevard. Witnesses said a mob of pro-Palestinians attacked a group of Jewish men who were dining at the restaurant. Cell phone video showed a group of men get out of the car and start to attack them while yelling racial slurs. One of the diners, who is not Jewish, told CBSLA a caravan waving pro-Palestinian flags approached and then began throwing bottles at him and the group he was dining with. The man said he is a photographer and the group was meeting at the restaurant to plan a wedding. The man said he was physically attacked when he tried to defend the group. He said the men used anti-Jewish profanity. He said he was pepper sprayed during the attack and had to go to the hospital. Los Angeles police told CBSLA that there were no major injuries reported, and there were no immediate arrests.

50-Year-Old Woodland Hills Man Arrested In Alleged Ponzi Scheme
A 50-year-old Woodland Hills man suspected of stealing millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme, mainly from senior citizens, was arrested Tuesday. Shehzad Peermahomed allegedly misled at least nine victims into believing they were investing in real estate from which they would receive monthly interest payments, police said. The victims used their retirement savings to invest in the scheme with a reported loss of $2.852 million, police said. Los Angeles Police Department Commercial Crimes detectives arrested Peermahomed at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday for suspicion of felony grand theft, police said. Peermahomed was booked into the Van Nuys Community Police Station's jail with bail set at $810,000. Investigators believe there may be additional victims and asked anyone with information to contact Commercial Crimes Division Detective Tyrone Jones at 213-486-6630 or by email at .

Authorities Search For 5-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Abducted By Mother In East LA
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sought the public's help Tuesday to locate a 5-year-old boy whose mother allegedly abducted him from a business in East Los Angeles. Kamilo Sanders' 29-year-old mother, Alicia Fuentes, does not have custody of her son, according to the sheriff's department. The boy was taken from a business located at 635 S. Atlantic Ave. about 8 p.m. on May 4, according to an LASD statement. Fuentes left the location traveling in an unknown direction in a 2005 Infiniti FX35, California license plate 5SGY139, and is known to travel to Mexico, investigators said. The boy is Hispanic, 3 feet tall and weighs 40 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. His mother is described as Hispanic, 5-feet-2 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds, with black hair and green eyes, according to the sheriff's department. Anyone with information on their whereabouts was asked to call East Los Angeles Detective Rojas at 323-981-5006 or Detective Mendoza at 323-981-5044. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at .
FOX 11

Los Angeles County Supervisors Double Reward To $20K In Case Of Missing Palmdale Woman
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors doubled the reward money -- to a total of $20,000 -- for information about a woman reported missing in Palmdale last summer and believed to be the victim of foul play. The board also renewed a $25,000 reward in the case of a 4-year-old killed by an errant bullet in a 2016 gang shooting in Altadena. Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended increasing the Palmdale reward, saying investigators thought it might draw out witnesses with valuable information about 27-year-old Gloria Huerta, also known as Jessica. The original $10,000 reward had expired on Dec. 27. On Aug. 3, Huerta was reported to sheriff's deputies as missing. She was last seen in the 14700 block of East Avenue Q-14, where she was staying in her 15- to 20-foot white trailer. Sheriff's investigators believe an altercation occurred there. The trailer, which is unmarked and has a rear door, is also missing. The sheriff's department described Huerta as a small Hispanic woman, 4-feet-11 inches tall and weighing about 100 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. She is known to frequent Palmdale and Littlerock. Barger also asked her colleagues to renew a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the gunman who shot and killed 4-year-old Salvador Esparza on July 5, 2016, in Altadena. The boy was found lying on his front porch on the 300 block of West Figueroa Drive about 10:40 that evening. He had been shot once in the head. A 27-year-old gunshot victim was also found on the porch and taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital. Anyone with additional information about Huerta's whereabouts or Salvador's killing was urged to call 323-890-5500.
FOX 11

Freeway Shootings Across Southern California Prompt CHP Investigation
California Highway Patrol was investigating after a string of shootings have been reported on freeways across Southern California. "What we're asking from the public is victims of this immediately call 911 and give us their exact location and time and description -- even if it's just a description of the vehicles around them," CHP Officer Florentin Olivera said. "We are looking at the traffic cameras for leads, but need people to help us" he adds. Some drivers actually report being hit after they get off the freeway, so investigators are not sure if those are related to the on-freeway series, which extends mostly along the 91 freeway. A CHP unit got hit while the officer was writing a ticket to someone else, authorities said. No one has been injured, but if a startled driver reacts poorly and hits other vehicles, things could get very ugly, very quickly. Many victims have waited to call authorities, so it is much more difficult to use cameras on the freeways to narrow in on potential suspect vehicles, Olivera said. "If we keep seeing the same vehicle around the same location we'll narrow it down," he said. If a vehicle window is shattered, drivers are advised to pull over where it is safe or go to the nearest exit and pull over to call 911, Olivera said. 
FOX 11

Congress OKs Hate Crime Bill Propelled By Anti-Asian Attacks
The House voted Tuesday to approve a bill aimed at addressing hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, responding to a massive uptick in attacks against Asian Americans since the pandemic began. The bill, which passed on a bipartisan 364-62 vote, establishes a point person at the Justice Department who would review hate crime incidents reported to law enforcement agencies and provide more guidance to state and local entities to make it easier to report hate crimes. The bill would also expand public education campaigns designed to increase awareness and allow the attorney general to provide grants to states for training on hate crimes data collection, reporting and response. It does not authorize any new money for the grants. “This epidemic of anti-AAPI bigotry is a challenge to the conscience of our country, which demands bold, effective action,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference Tuesday. “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will strengthen our defenses to prevent, report and combat anti-AAPI violence.” The bill, introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., passed the Senate 94-1 last month and goes to the White House for President Joe Biden's signature next. He supports the bill, and could sign it as early as this week.
Los Angeles Times

Public Safety News

LA County To Expand Naloxone Distribution Among Homeless In Bid To Reduce Overdoses
Citing overdoses as the number one cause of death among homeless individuals, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to expand the distribution of naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses and targets this population. At the recommendation of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the board also agreed to expand other "harm reduction programs," such as medication-assisted treatment and syringe programs for people experiencing homelessness. "For years, the county has operated similar life-saving, harm reduction services, but we have never targeted people experiencing homelessness," Kuehl said. A recent report by the county's Department of Public Health found an 84% increase in overdoses among people experiencing homelessness in recent years. "The DPH report made clear that drug overdoses are having a devastating impact on one of our most vulnerable communities," Kuehl said. "This motion will expand proven programs and make sure that our unhoused residents can access them. It represents another step forward as we build a 'care first' system for all of our residents."

It's California Wildfire Season. But Firefighters Say Federal Hotshot Crews Are Understaffed
As another wildfire season looms over California, the U.S. Forest Service is running short of the most experienced and elite firefighters in the country — the forestry crews known as hotshots, who travel the nation putting out wildfires, according to interviews with union officials and agency employees. A combination of low pay, competition from state and local fire departments and exhaustion from fire seasons that are longer and more devastating than in the past has eroded the federal government's ability to hire new firefighters and retain the most skilled. Nowhere is this more true than in California, where entry-level Forest Service firefighters in certain parts of the state earn less than the minimum wage of $14 an hour, and staffing levels have plummeted ahead of a fire season that scientists say could be especially active. Roughly 30% of the federal hotshot crews that work on the front lines of wildfires in California are understaffed, according to the union that represents most Forest Service employees.
Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA County Approves Pilot Program For Guaranteed Basic Income
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve proposals for a pilot guaranteed income program, one of which calls for $1,000 per month to be paid to 1,000 residents for at least three years. Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the dissenting vote, expressing concerns about lack of research into the plans and the potential for fraud. Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl co-authored a motion declaring that poverty and economic opportunity are public health issues and calling for a broad strategic plan to address a growing wealth gap. "As we endeavor to create a more resilient economy... we must explore guaranteed income and other measures of poverty alleviation as permanent county policy, not just as an emergency measure," the motion read in part. "The coronavirus crisis has heightened and made more vivid what was already clear to many: The inequities in our economy have been a matter of life and death for many of our most vulnerable county residents." Pointing to racial discrimination as the cause of higher unemployment rates and limited access to good housing, good schools and good jobs, the motion called for a new approach.

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: