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

August 24, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Teenager Dies From Suspected Drug Overdose On Venice Boardwalk (Update)
A teenager has died from a suspected drug overdose on the Venice Boardwalk, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The deceased teenager was one of two who were hospitalized after the Los Angeles Fire Department said they became suddenly ill around 3:00 p.m.. Firefighters say the teens, who were from a youth group, were taken to a Santa Monica Hospital by LAFD Paramedics. The LAPD says the kids bought what they thought was Percocet in McFarland (near Bakersfield). The surviving teenager remains in serious condition with an altered level of consciousness, according to the LAFD. The teens genders and the group with which they are affiliated are not available. Police say this incident is not related to an earlier overdose at the Rose Avenue and Ocean Front Walk bathroom around 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning.  Westside Current

Mental Health Online: Police Posts Of Crises May Traumatize
The videos are difficult to watch. In one, a man dangles over the edge of an Oklahoma City overpass, his legs swinging in midair as police grab his arms and pull him from the brink. In another, a woman hangs high above the Los Angeles Harbor as a half-dozen officers drag her, head-first, up the side of the bridge. The panicked voices of cops cry out, “We got you, we got you!” just before they pin her to the ground and pull out handcuffs. The short clips were posted on official law enforcement social media accounts, part of a longstanding practice by police agencies to showcase their lifesaving efforts online — especially in 2021 as desperation grows for positive press amid accusations of excessive force and racism following George Floyd's murder, and rising gun violence and killings. But with renewed attention on officer interactions with people who are suffering from mental health issues, experts and advocates are taking another look at these posts with an eye toward whether they exploit the very victims law enforcement just saved. SF Gate

Rapper Drakeo The Ruler Arrested On Gun Charge By LAPD After He Said On Instagram That His Uber Was Pulled Over For Tinted Windows
A rapper was arrested on Sunday after he documented his Uber being pulled over in an Instagram Live broadcast. As Complex and other outlets reported, Darrell Caldwell, the Los Angeles-based rapper known as Drakeo the Ruler, shared an Instagram Live video that is no longer available as of Monday afternoon but was reposted across other platforms. A 2-minute 20-second clip from the Instagram Live appears to show Caldwell being forced by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers to exit the vehicle he was riding in, which he later said was an Uber, with his young son. According to the LAPD, Caldwell was arrested at 12 p.m. on Sunday on a charge of "excon with a gun," with bail set at $35,000. Caldwell, who's had several smash hits on YouTube that have brought in millions of views, appeared to post bail as he shared several Instagram stories to his 509,000 followers on Monday. During most of the Instagram Live filmed before his arrest, Caldwell, who did not respond to a request for comment, sat in the vehicle while the policemen could be heard speaking to him from outside of the car.  Yahoo! News

LAPD Arrests Vandal Accused Of Slashing Tires In Venice
The Los Angeles Police Department arrested a person they say vandalized at least 14 vehicles on or near Rose Avenue. Police say at least 14 victims had their tires slashed or had rocks thrown through their windows. Police say they were able to identify the suspect through surveillance video and arrested him at the Golden Star Hotel on Rose Avenue without incident. If anyone from the public has additional information or was a victim call LAPD at or (310) 482-6334. Or, Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at . Westside Current

Burbank Man, 19, Pleads Not Guilty In Alleged Street-Racing Crash That Killed 3 A 19-year-old man appeared in court and pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and reckless driving charges stemming from an alleged street-racing crash in Burbank that killed three people earlier this month. Hamlet Arseni Aghajanyan of Burbank is charged with three counts of murder and one count of reckless driving, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Aghajanyan was arrested last Thursday, along with a 17-year-old suspect whose name has not been released. Both teenagers are accused of being the drivers of two racing cars that crashed with a Volkswagen Aug. 3 on Glenoaks Boulevard at Andover Drive. The crash killed Jaiden Kishon Johnson, 20, Natalee Asal Moghaddam, 19, and Cerain Baker, 21, the son of accomplished comedian Tony Baker. A fourth person was critically injured in the collision. The L.A. County District Attorney's office charged Aghajanyan for being the driver of a gray Kia that raced alongside a black Mercedes-Benz that ultimately collided with a Volkswagen taking a left. Police say the victims who died were passengers of the Volkswagen and were not involved in the alleged street race. ABC 7

Man Hospitalized After Culver City Shooting
A man underwent surgery after being shot in the leg in Culver City early Tuesday, police said. Officers responded about 2:30 a.m. to a “shots fired” call near Culver Boulevard and Keystone Avenue, said Sgt. Robert Casey of the Culver City Police Department. There was no immediate suspect description, and Casey said the shooting was under investigation. No further details were available. Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call the Culver City Police Department at 310-837-1221.

Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Items Stolen From Glendale Storage Unit
One couple lost thousands of dollars worth of items after their storage unit was targeted during a break-in at a Glendale Public Storage facility. “I would say between $75,000 and $100,000, potentially higher,” said Joseph Achekian. “It's taken me years and time to collect everything and to be taken away in 24 hours; it's disheartening.” Achekian kept prized possessions — including sports memorabilia, about two thousand comic books and at least 120 pairs of shoes — inside the storage unit. Some of the sports memorabilia were from legends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The thieves targeted the storage unit twice, but police are hopeful they'll be able to track the suspects down due to the records that the victims kept of their items. Glendale Police told CBS LA that the first burglary happened on Sunday morning and the second break-in happened later that day. The Achekians say they had a chance to see surveillance video from nearby businesses and that they could see the suspects walk out of the gate and start loading up vehicles. So far, no suspect information has been publicly released. CBS 2

L.A. County Prosecutors Obtain New Indictment Against Harvey Weinstein In Hopes Of Reviving Dismissed Charge
Los Angeles County prosecutors have obtained a new indictment against Harvey Weinstein in the hopes of reviving a charge that a judge threw out earlier this month, attorneys said. Weinstein will appear in a downtown courtroom Monday to answer the indictment, which was handed down last week, according to his attorney, Mark Werksman. The disgraced mogul was indicted on 11 counts of rape and forced oral copulation and other charges in April, but L.A. County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench threw out one count of sexual battery against Weinstein last week, agreeing with a defense motion that the statute of limitations on the charge had run out. The charge, which alleges Weinstein attacked a woman in 2010, was initially filed in October 2020, within the statute of limitations. But Lench granted the defense motion that the indictment created a new criminal proceeding and broke the statute. KTLA 5

Guilty Pleas In L.A. Dumpling House Tax Case A brother and sister who once owned multiple Chinese restaurants in Monterey Park pleaded guilty on Friday, Aug. 20, to under-reporting millions of dollars in sales and evading sales taxes, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. Yan and William Lu pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court to tax evasion charges and face sentencing. “For 10 years, the defendants in this case chose to disregard the law and put their bottom line ahead of the interests of California taxpayers,” Bonta said. “Prosecution of this case led to the end of this scheme and brought to account a duo who chose to rip off Californians.” In 2018, investigators with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration began a sales-tax-evasion probe on Mama's Lu Dumpling House Corp., HY Gourmet Inc., Mama Lu Dumpling House Monterey Park Inc., and Mama Lu Dumpling House Inc. The investigation revealed a scheme starting in 2008 in which the siblings under-reported more than $11 million in sales and evaded more than $1 million in state sales tax by falsifying monthly sales reports for their restaurants, authorities said. Los Angeles Daily News

Homeland Security Says Human Smuggling Incidents Have Increased On The LA, Orange County Coasts
Maritime human smuggling in Orange and Los Angeles Counties has increased significantly this summer, with a dozen separate incidents occurring in July, the Department of Homeland Security reported Monday. The 12 smuggling attempts — which occurred along the coastlines of Palos Verdes, Long Beach, San Pedro, Malibu, Newport Beach and Santa Catalina Island — resulted in 90 people entering the country illegally being apprehended last month, according to Jaime Ruiz of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Most of the apprehended were men “of diverse nationalities,” though they included some women and teenagers. Although smuggling activity along the coastline is not new, it was usually seen near the country's southwest border, according to Ruiz. Criminal organizations have expanded their area of operations further north due to increased enforcement operations at the border. Smuggling efforts often use pleasure crafts and panga boats to transport migrants and narcotics into the area, and can charge $15,000 or more per person trafficked, Ruiz said. “Smuggling along the California coastline is inherently dangerous and criminal organizations are not concerned with public safety,” Ruiz said. “They see migrants and narcotics as simply cargo.” Los Angeles Daily News

Armed Man Robs 4 SoCal Convenience Stores In One Night
Investigators need the public's help finding an armed man who robbed a series of Southern California convenience stores late Sunday. Authorities say four stores were robbed by a man matching the same description within a short span of time Sunday night: 7-Eleven stores in Buena Park, Anaheim and La Palma and an ARCO gas station store in Whittier. Surveillance video from the ARCO ampm store in Whittier shows the suspect, wearing a gray hoodie and mask, holding a gun to the store clerk. He then stole an unknown amount of cash from the register. At the La Palma 7-Eleven on Orangethorpe Avenue, authorities say the robber went behind the counter around 11 p.m. Sunday and pointed a gun at the clerk, demanding cash. The clerk fainted and fell backwards. The robber tried to get into the cash register, but could not open it. The robber then confronted a customer, demanding their wallet. The customer gave up the wallet and the suspect rifled through it, then threw it on the ground before fleeing the store on foot. ABC 7

California Man Broke Into Thousands Of iCloud Accounts To Steal Nude Images, Feds Say
A Southern California man broke into thousands of Apple iCloud accounts and collected more than 620,000 private photos and videos in an effort to steal images of nude young women, federal authorities said. Hao Kuo Chi, 40, of La Puente, has agreed to plead guilty to four felonies, including conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a computer, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Chi admitted that he impersonated Apple customer support staff in emails that tricked unsuspecting victims into providing him with their Apple IDs and passwords, according to court records cited by the Times. He gained unauthorized access to photos and videos of at least 306 victims across the U.S., most of them young women, he acknowledged in his plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Tampa, Fla. Chi said he hacked into the accounts of about 200 of the victims at the request of people he met online. Using the moniker "icloudripper4you," Chi marketed himself as capable of breaking into digital accounts, he admitted in court papers. He faces up to five years in prison for each of the four crimes. FOX 11

California Police Find More Than 300 Recall Ballots In Suspect's Car, Along With Gun, Drugs
Officers responding to a call Aug. 16 about a man who was passed out in a vehicle found more than 300 ballots for the upcoming gubernatorial recall election, a loaded gun, drugs and other illicit materials, Torrance police said Monday. Officers were called about 10:45 p.m. to a 7-Eleven parking lot at 3735 Emerald St. for a report of a man passed out in a vehicle, said Sgt. Mark Ponegalek, a spokesman for the Torrance Police Department. When officers searched the vehicle, they found a 9-millimeter handgun and stolen mail, including more than 300 ballots, Ponegalek said. In addition, the man had methamphetamine, Xanax pills, a scale, multiple California driver's licenses and credit cards in other people's names, police said. Torrance police are working with other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, to determine how the man got the ballots and what he planned to do with them, Ponegalek said. Police are working with officials to ensure that all voters affected by the thefts get new ballots, he said. Ballots are mailed with unique barcodes assigned to each voter. The suspect, whose name wasn't released, was arrested on suspicion of “numerous weapons, narcotics and forgery charges,” police said. Los Angeles Times

Analysis Of Catalytic Converter Theft Reports Reveals A Stunning Increase In California
Have you been startled by that alarming tell-tale start-up roar of a vehicle that's had its catalytic converter stolen? If the answer is yes, you're not alone. More than 8,000 Californians have reported having their catalytic converter stolen in the first five months of 2021, according to police and auto insurance data analyzed by BeenVerified. That's a 33-percent increase for 2020 and a whopping 380-percent increase over 2019, when only 1,254 thefts were reported. The data also shows thieves appear to target models by Toyota, Lexus and Honda more frequently. In February, the NBC4 I-Team reported on the unfortunate experience of Ari Ruiz, who had his Toyota Prius' catalytic converter stolen in December. He replaced it, only to have that one stolen a few weeks later. “It's like low hanging fruit for thieves just to go after and, literally in seconds, steal something that might be able to score them several hundred dollars,” said BeenVerified spokesperson Kerry Sherin. The devices help regulate a car's emissions. Their value is in the precious metals they contain. “Anything from like platinum, rhodium and palladium, all of which we've seen huge increases as far as their unit price over the last year,” Sherin said. The metals can be redeemed for dollars at a scrap yard. NBC 4

2 California Officers In Critical Condition After Deadly Crash
Coroner's officials have identified the man killed in a Sunday morning crash on Highway 99 that also seriously injured two Galt police officers. The deceased victim was 25-year-old Manjot Singh Thind of Manteca, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office. The Galt Police Department said in a Monday afternoon Facebook post that the officers — identified as Harminder Grewal and Kapri Herrera — remain hospitalized in intensive care. "Doctors and hospital staff have worked tirelessly to stabilize Officer Herrera and Officer Grewal," the department said. "As of this morning, Officer Herrera remains in ICU and is listed in critical, but stable condition. Officer Grewal remains in critical condition in the ICU. "Once again, on behalf of the Grewal and Herrera families and the Galt Police Department, we'd like to thank everyone for the prayers, positive thoughts, and support you've shown us." Thind and the two officers were involved in a head-on collision around 4:30 a.m. Sunday near Dillard Road. Sacramento Bee

Public Safety News

Masks To Be Required — Even During Play — For Many Youth Sports In L.A. County
Young athletes could be required to wear masks, even during practices and games, according to guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. According to the document that was released Friday, youth sports teams — including school teams — must adhere to indoor masking requirements, regardless of vaccination status. “Youth sports participants must wear a face mask even while engaging in physical activity in any indoor setting,” the document said. Exceptions will be made for indoor water sports like diving, water polo and swimming, but only for athletes while they are in the water. “Face masks must be worn when participants are not in the water,” the document said. For outdoor sports, masks are “recommended in crowded spaces,” which includes spectators when social distancing is not possible, the document said. Masks are also required for all spectators at large-scale sporting events of more than 10,000 people, county officials announced Thursday. KTLA 5

More West Nile Virus Activity Confirmed Throughout LA County
Ten new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Los Angeles County, officials announced Friday. According to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District samples collected from Downey, downtown Los Angeles, Mission Hills, Norwalk, Woodland Hills and Valley Glen tested positive for the virus. The additional positive samples bring this year's total to 19 cases within its service area. To date this year, there have been 15 West Nile virus human cases reported in California, one of which was identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. GLACVCD encourage residents to take an active role in reducing the WNV threat in their neighborhoods by: eliminating standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week; ensuring that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained; changing the water in pet dishes, bird baths and other small containers weekly; requesting mosquitofish from the local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds; wearing EPA-approved and CDC-recommended insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present; reporting neglected (green) swimming pools to the vector control district; and sharing this information with others to decrease mosquito populations. CBS 2

LA County COVID Hospitalizations Appear To Level Off Following Sharp Rise
After weeks of steady increases, the number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County due to COVID-19 appeared to be leveling off Monday, with an increase of only two patients following four days of declines. According to state figures, there were 1,724 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Monday, up from 1,722 on Sunday. The number of patients being treated in intensive care units, however, continued climbing, reaching 454 on Monday. That's up from 439 on Sunday. The county reported seven new COVID deaths on Monday along with 2,331 cases. Statistics released on Monday tend to be artificially low due to delays in reporting from the weekend. The new fatalities lifted the county's overall death toll due to COVID to 25,078. Since the pandemic began, the county has confirmed 1,385,505 infections. The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 2.8% as of Monday, down from 3.4% a week ago. Over the weekend, county health officials released statistics aimed at encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID. CBS 2

Breakthrough Infections Rise In L.A. County; Young Adults Most Infected With Coronavirus
As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread, breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated people are ticking up in Los Angeles County, but inoculated people remain generally well-protected against hospitalizations and death. Cumulatively, among 5.1 million L.A. County residents who are fully vaccinated, 0.53% have tested positive, 0.014% have been hospitalized and 0.0013% — or 68 people — have died. “Most of these deaths have happened, unfortunately, among people who were seriously ill with comorbidities and/or had immune compromised systems,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a recent briefing. The latest data “reflect the reality that the vaccines do not provide 100% protection, and that with these high rates of community transmission, more fully vaccinated people are getting post-vaccination infections,” Ferrer said. “However, this very same information also makes it clear how much protection vaccinated people still have. Most of us that are fully vaccinated ... don't get infected.” By far, the age group now most likely to get infected with the coronavirus in Los Angeles County is younger adults — those 18 to 49. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

L.A.'s Mayoral Election Is Months Away. But Some Are Already Unhappy With The Choices
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas took much of City Hall by surprise last week, revealing that after months of speculation, he had closed the door on a bid for mayor. The announcement served as a potent reminder that the candidate pool in the June 2022 election remains remarkably thin. With the primary about nine months away, City Atty. Mike Feuer and Councilman Joe Buscaino are still the only major political figures currently running to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti. Now, some in the city have begun voicing their dissatisfaction with those choices, saying they want more female candidates, more racial and ethnic diversity and more excitement. In some instances, they're seeking a candidate who is further to the left. In others, they want someone with fewer ties to City Hall. “We need more fresh faces,” said Erick Huerta, a community activist who lives in Boyle Heights. Huerta, who is in his mid-30s, said he's hoping for a candidate who's closer to his age and doesn't have the same “policy narrative” as a career politician. 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: