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

September 21, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Video Captures Brutal Attack Along Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Shocking cell phone video captures a brutal attack along the Hollywood Walk of Fame over the weekend. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call of an attack around 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 18. According to LAPD, about five Black males and a Black female were involved in the attack. LAPD was told the victim was a tourist and approached another person that he was preaching the wrong thing, prompting a heated argument between the victim and the person who was allegedly preaching in public. Following the argument, several people jumped in and started attacking the victim, who was Caucasian. The attack is being investigated as an assault with deadly weapon hate crime, LAPD told FOX 11. The suspected attackers ran off from the scene. As of Monday night, no arrests have been announced in the incident.  FOX 11

Gage Roth, Intruder Found Nude In Van Nuys Apartment, Free After Serving Less Than A Third Of 270-Day Sentence
A man who was captured on video trying to break into one home and found nude in the home of another family is free Monday after serving a fraction of his jail sentence. Gage Roth, 31, was released from jail on Sept. 14, serving just 77 days of a 270-day sentence, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's jail records. Roth was arrested on June 30, after he was found nude in an apartment where 12-year-old twins were sleeping and struggling with their father. He was captured on security video trying to break into another home a mile away just hours earlier. Roth previously served time in prison and had been arrested for burglary five times since 2019. Despite that criminal history, LAPD officers did not arrest Roth and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to file any criminal charges against him. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office stepped in and charged Roth with vandalism for damaging an air conditioning unit, battery for struggling with the father of the twins, and aggravated trespassing into a home with inhabitants present. Roth agreed to a plea deal, which put him in jail for 90 days and a consecutive sentence for trespassing and possession of methamphetamine, for a total of 270 days in jail. Roth may have been released after serving less than a third of his sentence due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The state has been expediting the release of inmates in order to keep COVID-19 from circulating widely within jail populations. Inmates who are eligible for an expedited release must not be serving time for a violent crime, a sex offender, and have 180 days or less to serve on their sentences. CBS 2

Assault Charge Filed In Attack On Filmmaker At Wi Spa Protest
Prosecutors have charged a suspect with assault in an attack on a member of the media during a transgender rights protest outside a Los Angeles spa this summer, according to court records. Aaron Kareem Simmons, 30, was charged last week with one count of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, court records show. The charge is related to the July 3 assault outside the Wi Spa in Westlake, in which independent filmmaker Rocky Romano was struck in the head from behind with a heavy baton-like weapon. Romano was wearing a helmet at the time and had the word “PRESS” in bold lettering across his back. He said “everything went gray for a minute” after he was struck, and he believes he suffered a minor concussion. On Monday, Romano said he was grateful that the Los Angeles Police Department had pursued the case and that prosecutors had filed the assault charge. “It seems that the only way to try to get control of the violence that's happening out on the streets is by having some consequences,” Romano said. “I just want to be able to go out there and do my job without worrying about getting hit in the back of the head.” Simmons could not be reached for comment. Los Angeles Times

LAPD Enacts COVID-19 Overtime Policies For Officers
The Los Angeles Police Department is changing its policies on overtime and off-duty security jobs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new policy comes as L.A. County is seeing an encouraging downward trend in coronavirus hospitalizations. On Friday, the LAPD announced that officers will be not be allowed to work overtime at major events or off-duty security at large venues unless they get the COVID-19 vaccine or, if a venue allows it, provide proof of a negative test, the Los Angeles Times reported. The move came in response to a new L.A. County health order that will require all attendees and workers at outdoor mega events with crowds of more than 10,000 to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test, as well as policies imposed by AEG, the operator of iconic venues in Southern California, including L.A. Live and Staples Center, among other sites. The L.A. County Department of Public Health on Saturday reported 2,130 new infections and 29 new deaths related to COVID-19 complications, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 1,442,808 cases and 25,828 fatalities since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in the county continued to fall Saturday, dropping from 1,125 on Friday to 1,070, according to the latest state figures. KTLA 5

Bonin Anti-Recall Campaign Says Video With Opponent's Address Was Error
The anti-recall campaign for Councilman Mike Bonin said today that it did not intend to display the addresses of the recalls' organizers in a campaign video meant to show ties between the recall campaign and right wing operatives. On Sept. 10, the anti-recall committee's Twitter account “Stop the Right-Wing Recalls'' published a video that displayed a publicly available document that included the addresses of Chad Morgan, the recall campaign's authorized representative, and Katrina Schmitt, one of the campaign's proponents. The committee's spokesperson Jesse Zwick said the address was shown at the bottom of the screen for three seconds, and the video was taken down when the campaign realized the error on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a vandalism that allegedly occurred at Schmitt's house on Thursday about 8:30 p.m., when her glass door shattered, according to the Los Angeles Times, which added that the LAPD did not say whether the home was targeted or if the vandalism was connected to the recall. Schmitt alleged to the Times that the anti-recall campaign was “intentionally reckless'' in posting her personal information. KFI AM 640

Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Charges In New Indictment
Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty Monday in downtown Los Angeles to sex-related criminal counts involving five women, including a restored charge that had been dismissed by a judge. Weinstein is due back in court Oct. 25. The latest grand jury indictment, handed up Aug. 18, charges Weinstein again with the challenged count of sexual battery by restraint against a woman in May 2010. It marked the third time the prosecution has asked the grand jury to amend the indictment against the 69-year-old Weinstein, who was initially indicted in March on 11 counts involving five women. The challenged count is the only charge involving one of the five alleged victims. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench initially sustained the defense's challenge to that count at a July 29 hearing, but agreed to allow the prosecution the opportunity to seek a grand jury indictment to amend the indictment. The latest indictment alleges that Weinstein was "continually charged" with that crime since April 2020 and through Aug. 12, when the judge again sustained the defense's challenge to that count, which was dismissed that day. NBC 4

Inglewood Police Looking For Missing Boy, 13
Inglewood police asked for the public's help Sunday to find a 13-year-old boy who may have run away from home because of family issues. Nathan Daniel Briceno was last seen Saturday at a skate park located at 549 W. Cesar Chavez Ave., near downtown Los Angeles, according to Inglewood police. Briceno apparently told one of his friends that he was going to run away because of problems at home, police said. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 125 pounds, police said. He was last seen wearing a red sweater, blue jeans and black Nike tennis shoes with a red Nike swoosh. He was carrying a checkered backpack. Anyone with information on his whereabouts was asked to call Inglewood police at 310-412-8771 or 911.

Compton Man Stabbed To Death By Sister: LASD
A 69-year-old man was stabbed to death in Compton early Friday morning, and the victim's sister was arrested for the assault, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The stabbing was reported at 12:19 a.m. in a house in the 14000 block of South Harris Avenue, where deputies from the Compton Sheriff's Station found the man, who was not identified, unresponsive and suffering from apparent stab wounds, according to the LASD. The man was taken to a local hospital, but he died from his injuries. The man's sister, who also was not named, was arrested Friday and taken to the Century Regional Detention Center. The 59-year-old woman faces murder charges. Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477) or by using the website KTLA 5

Public safety advocates Ben Coleman, Jake Lee hang up volunteer hats, blame city politics
Two of WeHo's most visible advocates for public safety turned down an offer by the city to continue their volunteer efforts this week, accusing city leaders of “playing politics” over prioritizing safety. “The city refuses to publish meaningful descriptions of criminal suspects,” they wrote. “City Council members openly welcome criminals and have called for defunding law enforcement programs. Some City Council members even support policies and political candidates (including George Gascon) who take the side of criminals over victims and squash effective policing that keeps residents safe.” WEHOville

Video Appears To Show Man Force Woman Into Car In Bell Gardens
The Bell Gardens Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying two people after video showed a man bear hug a woman and appear to force her back into a car before driving away. Police say video showed the woman exit a vehicle stopped on a residential street and then run, while the man wearing a hooded sweatshirt pursues her after also leaving the same car. He grabs her around the waist and then carries her back into a silver-colored, two-door car and drives off. "The male placed the female back into the vehicle and closed the door. The male walked around the rear of the vehicle and you see his driver's door open slightly then close indicating another person in the vehicle, or, the female opened the door for him," a news release from the police department stated. "The unknown male then entered the vehicle's driver's side and traveled southbound in reverse out of sight," the statement said. Prior to the man grabbing the woman, it appeared she was attempting to get away. The incident occurred Saturday shortly before 11 p.m. in the 6500 block of Toler Avenue and the home surveillance footage came from a neighbor, according to police. Police said the vehicle involved was possibly a Honda S2000. ABC 7

Pilot Charged With Series Of Sex Assaults On Orange County Running Trails
An airline pilot has been arrested and charged in connection with a series of attacks on women along running trails in Aliso Viejo, authorities said Monday. Robert Daniel Yucas, 51, of Cathedral City was arrested last week in connection with several attacks that began in January 2020 after DNA from an arrest in San Diego was matched to the Orange County assaults, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said. Yucas is accused of attacking one woman who was running on the Aliso Viejo trails, another who was skateboarding and a third who was walking. He choked his victims unconscious before trying to sexually assault two of them, and one of the women was raped, prosecutors said. Authorities say they suspect Yucas, a U.S. Army reservist and pilot who now lives in Riverside County, may have attacked other women because he lived in the Aliso Viejo area from 2017 to 2019. “We believe there are additional victims because of the pattern and practice of his predatory behavior,” Barnes said in announcing the arrest, which followed a 20-month investigation involving more than 100 deputies and investigators. “What happened to these women will change their lives forever.” Barnes said investigators received an anonymous tip on Sept. 9 about an incident in San Diego that led them to Yucas. He had had his DNA taken Sept. 4 after being identified as a suspect in another crime. Los Angeles Times

Houston Officer Dead, Another Hurt While Serving Warrant
A Houston police officer was killed and another was wounded Monday morning during a shooting that also killed a 31-year-old man who the officers were attempting to arrest on drug charges, authorities said. The veteran officers were each shot multiple times while attempting to serve an arrest warrant at an apartment complex on the city's northeast side, Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a news conference. "This has been a tragic day today,” Turner said. “It is another reminder that police work is inherently dangerous.” Officer William Jeffrey, who joined the police department in 1990, was pronounced dead at a Houston hospital following the shooting, authorities said. Sgt. Charles Vance, who joined the department in 1997, was hospitalized in stable condition, according to Police Chief Troy Finner. The officers arrived at the apartment around 7:30 a.m., knocked on the door and spoke with a woman who answered it, Finner said. He said the man then came out and began shooting at the officers. “You've got a suspect with a female girlfriend with small kids in that apartment complex and he still fired upon our officers,” Finner said. He said police returned fire and that the man died on the scene. Authorities didn't identify the man the officers were attempting to arrest. The shooting is being investigated by the Harris County Sheriff's office. Associated Press

‘Fighting For His Life': Indiana Deputy Shot During Welfare Check
A Posey County deputy is in critical condition after he was shot in the head Saturday, according to Courier & Press. The deputy was identified as Bryan Hicks. Indiana State Police said deputies were responding to a welfare check when a man opened fire. Deputies returned fire, wounding the suspect. After Hicks was shot, police officials said he was “basically fighting for his life,” according to WFIE. On Sunday, police said Hicks was stable but still critical, the Courier & Press reported.  PoliceOne

The Search For Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito's Fiancé, Resumes Today In The Carlton Reserve. Here's Why It's Been So Hard To Find Him
Police in Florida will resume their search Tuesday for Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabby Petito, who has been missing for almost a week. Laundrie's disappearance comes after he and Petito embarked on a cross-country trip in June, only for him to return alone in September. The search for Petito has made national headlines with daily developments, and Laundrie's disappearance has only added to the confusion. North Port Police said Tuesday that they will search for Laundrie on the Venice side of the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre nature reserve. Laundrie has not been charged and is not suspected of a crime at this point, authorities said. He had refused to speak with police, leaving authorities stumped and powerless in their investigation. Here's why the search for Laundrie has been so difficult for authorities: Laundrie had a multiple-day head start - Laundrie's family told police Friday night they have not seen the 23-year-old since Tuesday. His family told police he left home with his backpack and told them he was going to the Carlton Reserve. Police in North Port, Florida, tweeted Saturday that authorities were searching the reserve, an effort that included the use of drones and bloodhounds who had used articles of Laundrie's clothing taken from his home to get his scent, said police spokesperson Josh Taylor. CNN

Coronavirus Leading Cause Of Law Enforcement Deaths In Early 2021
Coronavirus was the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for law enforcement officers in the United States during the first half of 2021, a report released by a nonprofit organization shows. The report, issued by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, revealed that 71 officers died from coronavirus from the beginning of the year until June 30. That total, which is more than the next two leading causes (traffic-related, 38, and firearms-related, 28) combined, is a part of a 10 percent increase in total line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers during the first part of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020. Coronavirus deaths among officers, however, decreased by seven percent from the first half of 2020, when 76 officers died from the virus. The 155 deaths of law enforcement officers while in the line-of-duty puts 2021 on pace to surpass the record 295 deaths in 2020, the report states. "The first six months of this year have demonstrated that America's law enforcement officers are still battling the deadly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some 71 officers dying as a result of contracting the disease while executing official duties," the report reads. While it is unclear how many individuals are vaccinated in many police departments across the country, departments in New York and Los Angeles are reported to have lower vaccination rates than the general public. According to a report from the Associated Press, just 51 percent of the Los Angeles Police Department has been vaccinated, while an estimated 47 percent of New York City's department have taken the vaccine. Yahoo! News

Public Safety News

LAFD Responds To Single Family Home Fire In Venice
The Los Angeles Fire Department put out a fire located at 1212 S. Sixth Ave. in Venice. Firefighters say the fire started at a one story single family dwelling that was boarded up. It took 26 firefighters about 31 minutes to put out the fire. No one was injured. No further details are available at this time.  WestSide Current

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Fall Again In LA County; Businesses Complying With Tighter Rules
COVID-19 hospitalizations continued declining on Monday, Sept. 20, in Los Angeles County, while health officials again reported generally high compliance with safety restrictions at businesses, despite some lapses in enforcement of mask-wearing requirements. According to state figures, there were 1,034 COVID-positive patients hospitalized in the county as of Monday, a drop from 1,053 on Sunday. There were 315 people being treated in intensive care, up from 310 a day earlier. The county also reported six more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, raising the overall death toll from the virus to 25,838. Another 996 new cases were also reported, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 1,445,121. The numbers of new deaths and infections tend to be artificially low on Mondays due to delays in reporting by labs over the weekend. The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 1.2% as of Monday. County health officials have said repeatedly that businesses have been in good compliance with virus-control orders. Los Angeles Daily News

Firefighters Work Toward Containment On 12 California Wildfires
Over 9,900 firefighters continue to work towards containment on 12 major wildfires and two extended attack wildfires burning in the state, Cal Fire said Saturday morning. Firefighters also responded to 22 new wildfires Friday, according to Cal Fire. The Dixie Fire in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta and Tehama counties has been declared the largest fire in California's history. It is currently 88 percent contained, having burned 960,641 acres, Cal Fire said. The Caldor Fire, which affects El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties, is 71 percent contained, and has burned 218,876 acres. The French Fire in Kern County is 98 percent contained, and has burned 26,535 acres. The Windy Fire in Tulare County has burned 12,370 acres and is zero percent contained. KRON 4

LA County Prepared To Administer Large Numbers Of COVID Booster Shots, If Approved
Los Angeles County has the network in place to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people eligible for them, the county's health director said Friday, adding she was not surprised by a federal recommendation to limit the boosters to older residents and those at high risk of severe illness from the virus. During an online briefing, Barbara Ferrer said the county has 1,300 fixed vaccinated sites in its network, with the overall capacity to administer 130,000 shots a day -- and quickly able to expand if needed to 200,000 per day. But access to booster shots is reliant on approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An FDA committee on Friday recommended that booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine be limited to people 65 and older and people who are at particularly high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. “The FDA has indicated for the last couple of weeks that they're looking for more information and more data, particularly information from the experiences in this country and not relying so heavily on the experiences and the data that's coming from other countries,” Ferrer said. NBC 4

Local Government News

City Atty. Mike Feuer Wants To Double The Size Of The City Council — And Slash Its Pay
Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said Monday that if elected mayor, he would pursue a ballot measure to double the number of City Council districts — while also slashing the salaries of each council member. Feuer, running in the June election to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti, said those two changes would make city government more accountable, causing each council member to represent half as many people, allowing them to know the neighborhoods in their districts more intimately. “The closer you can get to the people you serve, the more likely it is that you're going to be responsive to their needs and get the job done,” he said. Feuer said that as mayor, he would work to put the measure on the 2024 election ballot, using the power of the position to gather signatures and “galvanize the public.” The city attorney disclosed his proposal just as a 21-member citizen committee is beginning to draw new boundaries for each of the 15 council districts, relying on last year's U.S. census data. Because L.A. is home to nearly 3.9 million people, each district needs to have a population of roughly 260,000. Feuer said his proposal would take the annual salary of council members to about $112,000, down from $224,000, while also cutting their office budgets in half. The proposal also would reduce the number of four-year terms a council member is permitted to serve, from three to two. Feuer announced this month that he wants to increase the size of the Los Angeles Police Department to 10,000. Last month, the LAPD reported it had 9,442 officers. 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: