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

July 26, 2021
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Sergeant: 'Brazen' Thefts Send Message That Criminals Are Winning
LAPD Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz blames a rise in crime and 'brazen' store thefts on the city's Democratic leaders. 
FOX News

LAPD Hold Memorial Bike Ride In San Fernando Valley To Honor Life Of Officer Who Died From COVID-19 Complications
Los Angeles authorities and officials held a memorial bike ride around the San Fernando Valley Saturday to honor the life of a fellow police officer who died of COVID-19 complications a year ago. Valentin “Val” Martinez, who worked as a patrol officer in the Mission division area of the San Fernando Valley, was the Los Angeles Police Department's first sworn officer to die after contracting the virus in 2020. Martinez was an expectant father of twins before he died last July after battling the coronavirus for just over two months. Officers and participants rode 20 or 40 miles around the San Fernando Valley as they remember Martinez's life. Funds raised during Saturday's memorial bike event will be donated to the officer's family.

Police Officers Save Woman Dangling From Vincent Thomas Bridge In San Pedro Officers from multiple agencies sprang into action to save the life of a woman dangling off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro last month, newly released bodycam video shows. On the morning of June 26, the woman climbed over the railing, slid down some fencing and was clinging on for dear life when officers responded to the scene. Upon arrival, Los Angeles Police Department officers observed officers from the California Highway Patrol officers Los Angeles Port Police "working to pull her back to safety," the LAPD said in video tweet Friday. The footage shows nearly a dozen officers participating in the rescue. "Great teamwork resulted in her receiving the help she needed," the LAPD said. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text "hello" to 741741.

Skeletal Remains Found In Ballona Wetlands Identified As 32-Year-Old Woman Who Vanished In 2020: LAPD
Police on Friday confirmed that skeletal remains found last week at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and Ballona Creek belong to a missing 32-year-old woman who disappeared in 2020. Kolby Story was on her way to Venice Beach when she went missing in December last year, her brother said in a Facebook post. The Los Angeles Police Department said she was last seen in the 12300 block of Pacific Avenue in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles. On July 16, after months of searching for the woman to no avail, police were prompted to look in the Ballona Wetlands when a good Samaritan found some of Story's personal belongings and turned them in to police, according to LAPD Officer Jader Chaves. Last Friday, her family members and friends joined in the search of 600 acres of wetlands. The search turned up skeletal remains, though police were still not sure if they belonged to Story. On Tuesday, months after her disappearance, the L.A. County coroner's office confirmed the remains belong to the missing woman. It remained unclear what happened to Story. Anyone with information about the missing woman is urged to contact the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6890.

Man Transported To Hospital After Getting Shot In South Los Angeles
A South Los Angeles shooting Saturday in the Broadway-Manchester area left one man wounded. The incident was reported around 2:20 p.m. in the 10800 block of South Main Street, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Cervantes. Paramedics transported the shooting victim to an area hospital. It is unclear what condition he is in. So far, there are no details on a possible motive, nor any information about the shooter.

Woman Wounded In Florence Shooting
A woman was wounded Monday morning when she was shot in the Florence neighborhood of Los Angeles. The shooting was reported at 12:12 a.m. at Grand Avenue and 89th Street, according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department's Operations Center. The woman, believed homeless and between the ages of 35 and 40, was taken by paramedics to a hospital, where her condition was stable, the officer said. Suspect information was not immediately available, he said.

West Hollywood Suspect Out On Bond 1 Day After Allegedly Carrying Unconscious Woman To Van
An alleged kidnapper is back out on the streets just one day after he was allegedly spotted in West Hollywood carrying an unconscious woman to his van and speeding away. Sheriff's deputies arrested Fernando Adrian Diaz, 50, early Friday morning. Investigators say he was a predator on the prowl, carrying an unconscious woman in West Hollywood's bar/nightclub area to his van and driving away. Witnesses called 911 and deputies were able to track him down, taking him into custody around 3 a.m. Friday. He was being held on $100,000 bail but just after 2 a.m. Saturday Diaz was released on bond. Investigators are concerned there may be other alleged victims and are asking the public to come forward with information. Diaz was driving a distinctive 1997 Dodge Ram van, which is white with a black top and a light bar. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Cynthia Mejia at the Los Angeles County West Hollywood sheriff's station at (310)358-4028.

Overdose Deaths From Meth, Other Drugs Up In LA County During Pandemic
Fueled by the pandemic, Los Angeles County is seeing a marked increase in deaths linked to accidental drug overdoses, according to a new report. The data show COVID-19 exacerbated an already difficult methamphetamine addiction problem. Crystal Sanders battled methamphetamine addiction for 25 years. "I found myself homeless and I was in and out of jail," she said. Sanders recovered three years ago. Now as an addiction counselor, she saw how lockdown drove those trying to recover into despair. "We had a high increase in relapse because our meetings were shut down," she said. During the height of the pandemic, the report documented nearly 1,400 accidental overdose deaths caused by methamphetamines. "That means an average of just about four people died every single day from an overdose of meth," said Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County's Department of Public Health. "White and Latinx populations are the two most common groups involved in meth overdose deaths," said Dr. Gary Tsai, division director of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Control with LA County Department of Public Health. All ethnic groups saw spikes.

Sheriff's Detectives Investigate Whether Missing Man Is Victim Of Foul Play
Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives are investigating whether a man reported missing by his family this week was the victim of foul play. The wife of Miguel Angel King, 51, walked into the Sheriff's Department's Century Station in Lynwood and reported her husband missing at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Det. Ray Lugo said. King, who works as a caretaker for people with disabilities and also at a relative's burger stand on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, was last seen leaving his home in South Los Angeles shortly after midnight Tuesday, Lugo said. Two days later, Inglewood police found King's white Toyota hatchback parked outside an apartment building in the 100 block of West Queen Street about 1 p.m. and alerted the Sheriff's Department. Deputies cordoned off the block with crime scene tape, and detectives examined the car Thursday night. King was last seen wearing a black shirt with white lettering, black shorts and white Nike shoes. He has a tattoo of a snake and a tiger on his right arm and a tattoo of a tree on his chest. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to call detectives at (323) 890-5500.
Los Angeles Times

Authorities Searching For 26-Year-Old Inmate Edgar Benitez Who Walked Away From Minimum-Security Fire Camp
An LA County inmate walked away from a minimum-security camp near Sacramento Saturday, and officials said Sunday that they are still searching for the man. Staff discovered 25-year-old Edgar Benitez missing from his assigned housing at the Growlersberg Conservation Camp in El Dorado County Saturday night around 11 p.m., according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Authorities immediately conducted a search of the grounds. CDCR, CAL FIRE and local law enforcement agencies are all assisting in the continued manhunt. Benitez, who was received from LA County on December 26, 2017, was sentenced to nine years for driving under the influence causing bodily injury or death. He is described as 5-feet-7 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds with black hair. Benitez was last seen at 10 p.m. during a routine head count. Officials are urging anyone who sees Benitez to call 911 or local enforcement authorities immediately.

East Los Angeles Man With Mental Illness Missing
Sheriff's detectives continued their search Sunday for a 23-year-old man who suffers from depression, bipolar disorder and went missing in East Los Angeles. Bryan Alberto Martinez was last seen at 6 a.m. Saturday around the 1000 block of Ditman Avenue, said Deputy Miguel Meza of the Sheriff's Information Bureau. His family is concerned because Martinez has made suicidal statements and may be armed with a firearm, Meza said. Martinez is Hispanic. He stands 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs about 340 pounds. He has short, straight black hair, brown eyes, a black beard and a mole on the left side of his nose. He was wearing a black T-shirt and black denim pants. He was last seen driving a 2011 light-colored BMW with California license plate 7SBY133. Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at 323-890-5500 or 911.

Suspect In Killing Of Washington Deputy Arrested In Oregon After Manhunt
Detectives from the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force and the Salem Police Department have arrested the prime suspect in the fatal shooting Friday of Clark County sheriff's Detective Jeremy Brown. The arrest was announced late Sunday afternoon by the Vancouver Police Department, which is investigating the shooting. Details about the arrest of Guillermo Raya Leon, 26, of Salem, Ore., were not released, but documents related to a warrant for his arrest describe him as a methamphetamine user who was paranoid that law enforcement was following him and confronted Brown as he sat in an unmarked SUV at an east Vancouver apartment complex. Court documents filed Saturday evening in Clark County Superior Court reveal new details about what led up to the shooting at The Pointe Apartments, in the 3500 block of Northeast 109th Avenue just east of Interstate 205 in Vancouver. Prosecutors have filed charges of first-degree aggravated murder while armed with a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm against him. An arrest warrant was issued Saturday.
The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.

Soros Hands $1 Million To Group Attempting To Defund Police As Violent Crime Skyrockets Nationwide
Liberal mega-donor George Soros has directed $1 million to an activist group attempting to defund the police as violent crime surges in major urban centers across the nation. Soros sent the million dollars via his Color Of Change PAC on May 14, according to Federal Election Commission files obtained by the  Washington Free Beacon . The organization describes itself as "the nation's largest online racial justice organization" and actively engages in efforts to defund police departments such as spreading an online petition calling for "divesting from and dismantling the systems that unjustly harm Black people." The group also backed a push by the Milwaukee City Council to defund the police. "Policing is a violent institution that must end," the group's president wrote in a statement supporting the move. "We imagine a country where there is enough money to educate our children, care for our sick and feed those who are financially unstable. Defunding the police allows for this vision." Violent crime has surged dramatically in many large cities across the United States this year, including in areas where Soros has spent large sums of money electing Democratic candidates who have promised to ease sentencing requirements and implement relaxed bail reform laws. In 2018, Soros spent millions of dollars to help elect current Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon who promised to implement sentencing reforms and decriminalize certain illegal activities.
FOX News

Public Safety News

Man, Woman Critically Burned In LA Commercial Building Fire
A man and a woman suffered critical burns Sunday in a greater alarm fire inside a commercial building in the Vermont Square area of Los Angeles. The blaze inside a two-story commercial building at 4220 S. Western Ave. was reported at 2:17 p.m., said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. The department dispatched 100 firefighters to battle the blaze, Stewart said. The bulk of the fire was knocked down in about 34 minutes. However, the fire resulted in the collapse of the roof and one wall and firefighters were still knocking down small pockets of flames, she continued. The injured man and woman, both believed to be in their 30s, were taken to a hospital. Another person declined transport to a hospital for treatment. Firefighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading to another building that was under construction. The LAFD's arson unit was also dispatched to the scene. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Search Continues For Woman In Water Near Santa Monica Pier
The U.S. Coast Guard continued a search today in the water near the Santa Monica Pier for a woman originally reported clinging to pilings. A passerby informed lifeguards about 8:45 p.m. Sunday about a woman in the water, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Michael Pittman told City News Service. As of about 11:30 p.m., divers from the Los Angeles County Lifeguards and Harbor Patrol and a helicopter were called off the search and the Coast Guard took over with its own helicopter, the 87-foot patrol boat Halibut and a 25-foot boat, said Petty Officer Richard Brahm. The Coast Guard asked that anyone with information call 310-521-3815.
Venice Current

LAFD Contains Sepulveda Basin Grass Fire And Works On Smaller Blaze Nearby
Firefighters contained a less than 2-acre, light grass fire that had been burning in the Sepulveda Basin, and they were working on a second, smaller fire nearby. Firefighters were dispatched at 12:12 p.m. to the 6400 block of Balboa Boulevard, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. “A smaller fire, located just south, is being extinguished with the assistance of park rangers,” Stewart said. “An additional fire engine was added to provide a water supply to this second location.” No injuries were reported, and no structures were threatened.
Los Angeles Daily News

LA County Reports More Than 2,500 New COVID Cases For 4th Consecutive Day
Los Angeles County Public Health officials reported 2,600 new COVID-19 infections -- the fourth consecutive day above 2,500 cases -- and 10 additional deaths Saturday. Health officials have repeatedly blamed the current surge in cases on the highly infectious “Delta” variant of the virus. The variant was first discovered in India and is blamed for rampant infections in that country, along with outbreaks in the United Kingdom. It is now spreading across the United States, contributing to rising case numbers and hospitalizations. The rate of increase in cases in the county between July 3 and 16 was 135%. There are 688 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized in L.A. County and 21% of those are in the intensive care unit. Testing results are available for more than 7,241,000 people, with 16% of people testing positive. Saturday's daily test positivity rate was 4.9%. The total number of cases during the pandemic is now 1,281,760, while the county's death toll rose to 24,624 fatalities on Saturday.

Local Government News

LA County Eyeing Guaranteed Income Pilot Program For 150 Youths
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a three-year pilot program to provide $1,204 per month to 150 county residents aged 18-24. The money would go to youth who are currently receiving general relief benefits and participating in the Departments of Public Social Services' TAYportunity program. The vote comes more than two months after the Supervisors voted to approve proposals for a pilot guaranteed income program and directed staff to report back on implementation. "We have the blueprint to launch a guaranteed basic income program among a sample population that has not only been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but has historically faced economic and social inequities,'' Board Chair Hilda Solis said Saturday. "For transition-aged youth, this pilot program will not only provide financial assistance, but a support network that when combined with financial stability helps ensure the successful transition of youth into the community. I look forward to seeing this pilot program developed and implemented to serve as a model for how the county can continue to serve the immediate needs of our most vulnerable residents.”
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: