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 30, 2021
Law Enforcement News

‘I'm Just Angry': Family Of North Hollywood Father Fatally Struck In Hit-and-Run Demands Justice
A 55-year-old North Hollywood man that was fatally struck by a van Saturday has been identified by family members as Roberto “Beto” Vigil, a father of two and a hardworking husband. At about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, the 20-year resident of North Hollywood was crossing Oxford Street to go to Rose Market — something he'd done dozens of times before — when he was hit by a dark van, according to the LAPD. The driver of the van continued westward down Oxnard Street without stopping to help the pedestrian or identifying themselves, police said. Vigil was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The 55-year-old leaves behind his wife, Maria Eduwiges, and two daughters, Yunuen, 19, a sophomore at UC Irvine, and Itzel, 17, a senior at North Hollywood High School, according to a GoFundMe page created by his family for funeral expenses. A reward of up to $50,000 is available for information that leads to the driver's identification, capture and criminal conviction or resolution through a civil compromise. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Davis at 818-644-8032. KTLA 5

LA Police Protective League Responds to Police Commissioner Briggs Verbal Attack On LA Police Officers
"Mr. Briggs condemnation of police officers who have indicated they may seek a religious exemption is unjustified, bigoted and reckless. His blanket labeling of religious exemption applications as being 'dubious' when they have not even been submitted, let alone evaluated, will have a chilling effect on police officers exercising and expressing their long-held religious beliefs. Mr. Briggs should apologize to all those he has accused of lying without any evidence to back it up and focus his time on reducing what is far from ‘dubious'; the huge increase in homicides, shootings and street-level robberies plaguing our city." KTLA Video

26-Year-Old Los Angeles Clippers Employee Killed In Car Crash On 10 Freeway
The family, friends, and colleagues of 26-year-old Assane Dramè are devastated after learning he was killed in a car crash after he was reported missing Monday night. He is remembered as being a "gentle soul." Dramè, who worked as a video producer in the digital media department for the Los Angeles Clippers, was last seen picking up equipment from the team's administrative office in downtown Los Angeles near the intersection of 12th and Flower streets. According to his sister, Fatou Dramè, his family became concerned after they received a call from the Clippers' human resources department that he did not show up for work. His friends and family shared a missing person's flyer that began circulating on social media. By Wednesday evening, his sister confirmed Assane was found and that he was killed in a crash. According to officials, Dramè pulled over on the 10 Freeway near the La Brea Avenue exit because his car, a 2012 Honda Accord, was not operable. A short time later, another car hit his vehicle, striking Dramè. He did not survive the injuries sustained in the crash.  FOX 11

Woman Struck And Killed By Metro Train In Koreatown
Police were investigating the death of a woman who was struck by a Metro train Wednesday in the Koreatown area. The Los Angeles Police Department received a report at about 1:05 p.m. of a woman who had possibly jumped in front of a Red Line train in the area of the Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station, according to Officer Tony Im. Paramedics were called to the scene and pronounced the woman dead, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. LAPD units established a crime scene at the area and were investigating the woman's death, Im said. No further details were immediately released.

Taco Stand Worker Shot In Leg During North Hollywood Robbery Police are searching for a suspect who shot and wounded a taco stand worker during a robbery early Thursday morning in North Hollywood. The robbery and shooting occurred at around 12:15 a.m. at a taco stand located at Archwood Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard. According to Los Angeles police, several people were working at the time that a male suspect approached the taco stand and demanded cash. He received an unknown amount. However, at some point during the robbery, he opened fire on an adult female employee, wounding her in the leg. The suspect then ran to a black truck and sped away, police said. He left a trail of cash on the ground as he escaped. The injured woman was rushed to a hospital, police said. She is expected to survive. It's unclear exactly what led up to the shooting. The suspect was described only as a Hispanic man. CBS 2

Black Lives Matter Leader Targeted In Third ‘Swatting' Incident, The Second Since Last Week
Melina Abdullah, a prominent protest leader and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, was the target of a third “swatting” incident at her home Wednesday evening — the second one in the last week. Abdullah was not home at the time but said multiple neighbors alerted her to a large police presence on her block. One FaceTimed her, she said, and she could see police vehicles and officers with their guns drawn outside her home. Capt. Stacy Spell, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, confirmed the response and said it followed a 911 call about 5:45 p.m. from a person who falsely claimed he had kidnapped Abdullah at gunpoint. Because of the “serious nature” of the call and threats the caller made to “do harm” to Abdullah, the department dispatched six police units and a supervisor to the scene — all left “shortly after it was determined that no one's safety was in danger,” Spell said. “It is the department's obligation to treat every radio call, especially those threatening violence, seriously until we can determine otherwise,” Spell said. The incident will be investigated as a swatting, Spell said. Los Angeles Times

Guilty Pleas In Robbery Of $500,000 Watch At Beverly Hills Eatery
Two men pleaded guilty Wednesday to participating in an armed robbery at a Beverly Hills restaurant of a diner's $500,000 watch during which a woman was shot. Malik Lamont Powell, 21, and 18-year-old Khai McGhee, who is also known as Cameron Smith, admitted during a hearing in federal court to being part of a group of five men who carried out the holdup in March on the patio of Il Pastaio on Canon Drive. They each pleaded guilty to three felony robbery and weapons charges. A third member of the group, Marquise Anthony Gardon, 41, pleaded guilty last week in the case. Authorities identified the three men in court papers as members of a South Los Angeles gang, the Rollin' 30s Crips. The two remaining suspects have not been publicly identified and are still being sought by authorities. The exorbitantly priced watch, made by Richard Mille, has yet to be recovered despite a $50,000 reward offered by the owner, according to investigators. Los Angeles Times

Mother Charged With Murder In Deaths Of 2 Children Found Decapitated In Lancaster
The mother of two children who were found decapitated in their Lancaster home late last year has been arrested in Arizona and charged with murder, authorities announced Wednesday. Natalie Brothwell, 44, was apprehended at her Tucson home on Tuesday, a day after prosecutors filed charges against her, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. She faces two counts each of murder and felony child endangerment. Brothwell has been jailed in Pima County, Arizona, pending extradition to California, a sheriff's news release stated. Her bail was set at $1 million. Investigators did not disclose any further details about the woman's role in the double homicide. Brothwell's arrest is the second tied to the gruesome killings of the 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, whose bodies were discovered in the 45000 block of Century Circle in Lancaster on the morning of Dec. 4, 2020. The children's father, 35-year-old Maurice Taylor Sr., is suspected of fatally stabbing the two children on Nov. 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. KTLA 5

Former USC, Olympic Swimmer Klete Keller Pleads Guilty For Role in Jan. 6 Insurrection
Former Olympic gold medalist and University of Southern California swimmer Klete Keller plead guilty to a felony charge for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Keller, who was charged for storming the U.S. capitol and faces 21 to 27 months in prison, admitted to obstructing an official proceeding, and has agreed to cooperate with authorities. Keller's plea agreement came after prosecutors dismissed six other criminal charges brought against him. He was charged after a  video showed him during the insurrection wearing a Team USA jacket. Keller acknowledged in court records that he tried to obstruct Congress' certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, brushed away officers who tried to remove him from the Capitol Rotunda and yelled profane comments about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as he stood near officers wearing riot gear. The two-time Olympic gold medalist also admitted he threw away the Team USA jacket he wore on Jan. 6, as well as destroying his phone and memory card containing photos and videos he took inside the Capitol. CBS 2

California Man To Be Sentenced For Fatal Synagogue Attack
A 22-year-old former nursing student will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. An agreement with prosecutors that spares John T. Earnest the death penalty leaves little suspense about the outcome, but the hearing will give victims and families their first opportunity to address the killer directly. About 15 to 20 people were expected to deliver victim-impact statements in San Diego Superior Court. Minutes after the shooting, Earnest called a 911 dispatcher to say he shot up the synagogue to save white people. “I'm defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people,” he said. The San Diego man admired the gunman who killed dozens of worshippers at two New Zealand mosques shortly before he attacked Chabad of Poway, a synagogue near San Diego, on April 27, 2019. Associated Press

Watch: California Rookie Officer Saves Man Trapped In Burning Car
Dramatic video shows the moment a San Jose cop jumped into action to save a man's life. In the video, rookie officer Pedro Garcia is seen tugging a man from a burning car. "I just believe I was in the right place at the right time," Garcia told ABC 7. "I know any other of my partners or anyone in the department would've done the same exact thing. Speaking to the fire department, they said if I would not have done that, it could've been life-threatening for him." Garcia says he was just driving by when saw the car on fire. "It's happened out of nowhere and I just knew his life was at risk and the first thing that was going through my mind was, 'get him out of the vehicle' before it was just covered in flames," Garcia said. The driver was taken to a hospital, but Garcia wasn't injured. San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata praised the young officer, who had been on the job only eight months. "His dedication, not only to his work, but to his community is amazing," Mata told ABC 7. "He's from San Jose, born and raised here. He is the ultimate of what we expect of our officers to give back to our community and that's what he did." PoliceOne

New FBI Data Is In: Murder Rates in U.S. Cities, Ranked
The U.S. murder rate is often regarded as one of our country's vital signs: Are Americans more or less safe than last year, when it comes to their odds of meeting a violent end? But misinformation abounds. Is the murder rate really “the highest it's been in 45 years,” as claimed by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump? (No.) Is Chicago America's murder capital? (Also no.) Because the vast majority of American homicides are committed with guns, both the national murder rate and the more relevant citywide and neighborhood murder rates — about which, more below — frequently figure into our reporting at The Trace. In this guide, we've collected the most up-to-date statistics on murders in America, as well as the critical context that often gets missed. The long-term trend is clear: America is a much less murderous place than it once was. But it didn't seem that way in 2020, when a wave of gun violence began in tandem with the coronavirus pandemic. Cities across the United States reported a rise in murders last year, and newly released FBI data has clarified the national picture: the murder rate rose by 29 percent in 2020, the largest relative increase since national data collection began in 1960. It now stands at 6.4 murders per 100,000 people, the highest rate since 1998. The Trace

Public Safety News

Health Officials Urge COVID-19 Vaccines For Pregnant Women, New Mothers
Following the lead of federal officials, Los Angeles County health officials on Wednesday, Sept. 29 urged pregnant women and new mothers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid severe illness from the virus or adverse outcomes to their pregnancies. The county Department of Public Health called on health-care providers to convey the risks of COVID-19 to women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or who might become pregnant in the future to get vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a similar call Wednesday for pregnant women to get vaccinated. The agency reported that only 31% of pregnant women nationwide are fully vaccinated. Health officials have denounced suggestions that COVID vaccines are potentially harmful to pregnant women or could cause infertility. Los Angeles Daily News

How Worried Should You Be About The R.1 Coronavirus Variant? ‘It Died Out Already'
The worst of California's months-old coronavirus surge now appears to be in the rearview mirror, but worrisome headlines are cropping up about the presence of a potentially dangerous new strain. Still, officials and experts say the latest variant to enter the public consciousness, dubbed R.1, likely doesn't present nearly the same threat as previous strains — in part because, despite all the recent attention, it appears to have already petered out. “This is a variant that, because of its properties, people are worried about it. But it died out already,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday. “This variant no longer appears to be in circulation in the United States,” she added. So far, 70 cases of the R.1 variant have been identified throughout California, according to the state Department of Public Health. “Based on the low counts of the R.1 variant in the available California data, it likely has had low-level circulation statewide,” officials wrote in response to an inquiry from The Times. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA City Council Delays Vote On Vaccine Mandates
Vaccine mandates could soon be required to enter most indoor businesses across the city of Los Angeles. That's if the LA City Council passes an ordinance next week after delaying the vote Wednesday. Under the proposed ordinance businesses would have to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test at restaurant, bars, malls, gyms, movie theaters, and personal care businesses. If businesses choose not to comply, they could face anywhere from a warning on the first offense to up to a $5,000 fine. LA's City Council was expected to vote on it Wednesday, but after more than an hour of deliberation, councilman Joe Buscaino withheld his vote. “It's not clear. It's confusing and its sunset date is not even tied to any health outcomes, which is another concern,” said Buscaino. “The agency that's charged with enforcement of this ordinance, the Department of Building Safety, testified today that don't even have enough staff to carry out this additional responsibility. The the city council will now vote on it next Wednesday. City Council President Nury Martinez predicts that it will pass. CBS 2

In LA, Gov. Newsom Signs Bills Aiming To Bolster Mental Health Care, Ease Homelessness
On the eve of the end of the state's pandemic-spurred ban on evictions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, Sept. 29, signed a multi-billion-dollar package of bills aimed at what officials called a “historic” rebuilding of mental health services and housing in a larger push to ease the homeless crisis. The legislation, which included four bills authored by a trio of Southern California state assemblymembers, will invest billions in building up an infrastructure of more than 44,000 new housing units and treatment beds for people exiting homelessness, officials said, including $5.8 billion to add more than 35,000 new housing units through the state's Project Homekey program. In particular, $3 billion will be allotted to house people with acute behavioral and physical health needs while creating 22,000 new beds and treatment slots. Newsom, flanked by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and state lawmakers including Assembly members Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, and Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills, said the bills, part of a larger $22 billion in investment, forged a new “paradigm” in rebuilding a statewide system of care dismantled in the late 1960s. Los Angeles Daily News

LA Councilwoman Raman Urges Code Changes To Aid Street Vendors
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nithya Raman on Tuesday, Sept. 28, called on the state to change the California Retail Food Code to be more inclusive to sidewalk vendors and to create a more practical system to regulate their operations. “The number of food vendors in Los Angeles that have been issued permits — a mere 165 out of the estimated 10,000 in our city — speaks volumes as to the prohibitive nature of the current state and county food regulations,” said Raman, who introduced a resolution Tuesday calling on the state to change the rules. “As a result, our vendors are forced to operate informally and face the threat of citations, fines, and the confiscation of the carts and wares that constitute their livelihood. We are calling on the state to enact structural solutions that can empower street food vendors to fully and formally participate in the economy.”  Los Angeles Daily News

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: