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

October 6, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Car Thefts In Los Angeles Are Up 48% In 2021 Compared To Two Years Ago, LAPD Chief Says
Amid an "alarming" rise in auto thefts in Los Angeles that began when the COVID-19 pandemic started, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore Tuesday urged people to take precautions to protect their vehicles. Auto thefts in Los Angeles have risen 48% in 2021 compared to two years ago, with an additional 5,613 vehicles stolen this year versus 2019, Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission. The increase follows a decade of year-over-year auto theft reduction. "Currently we're studying instances in which auto theft, which is typically a zero-bail booking process, of how many individuals are being re-arrested for new auto theft occasions and whether or not this bail and court operations, which are deferring arraignments and trials for months toward the future, is somehow facilitating or allowing this increase in auto thefts," Moore said. The Los Angeles Police Department's arrests of auto theft suspects have increased by 30% over a two-year period, which is almost 700 additional arrests, according to Moore. The "vast majority" of vehicles stolen are recovered within three to five days, sometimes in the same area they're stolen from and sometimes from areas outside the city, Moore said. He urged motorists to make sure they remove their keys from their vehicle when they park. He also told people who park inside a garage to not store their keys on a hook inside that same garage. FOX 11

Armed Murder Suspect Fatally Shot By CHP Officers During Standoff On 105 Freeway Transition Road In Paramount
A man with a gun was fatally shot by California Highway Patrol officers Monday following a chase and a standoff on the westbound 105 Freeway in Paramount. A Sigalert was issued at about 9:30 a.m. for the westbound 105 transition road to the 710 Freeway in Paramount for an unknown duration due to the officer-involved shooting. A man in a black shirt and gray pants appeared agitated and was holding a gun as he talked to CHP officers. He stood in freeway lanes near a van with its hood up and its passenger door ajar. Sky 2 was over the scene when the man was seen raising his weapon at the officers, who returned fire. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, which is assisting in the investigation. The LAPD later confirmed that the man killed by CHP officers Tuesday was Jesse Medrano, 35, who they had identified as a suspect in a murder in the 400 block of East 92nd Street. The CHP said he was wanted on suspicion of shooting three of his own relatives Sunday in Green Meadows. CBS 2

Dispute Ends With Deadly Shootout In Lobby Of East Hollywood Hotel
One man was killed and another was wounded during an early morning dispute that ended in a shootout at the Avenue Hotel in East Hollywood Tuesday. Police responded to a shots fired call at the hotel located in the 600 block of North Vermont Avenue shortly after midnight. Responding officers found one man dead on a sidewalk in front of the hotel, Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Ryan Rabbett said. Authorities have not identified the man, but later described him as the suspect in the incident. A second man, described by investigators as the victim, was found with a gunshot wound inside the hotel and was taken to a local hospital. His condition is unknown. The shooting was apparently prompted by some type of dispute involving the two men, Rabbett said. The suspect is believed to have confronted the victim in the hotel when both men pulled out firearms and began shooting, police said. The suspect was killed in the gunfight. It was unclear if the two men, who were both staying at the hotel, knew each other prior to the altercation. KTLA 5

Woman Fatally Shot In Leimert Park Area, Suspect Arrested
A woman in her 20s was fatally shot in the Leimert Park area and her alleged killer was in custody Tuesday. The woman was shot at about 7:35 p.m. Monday in a parking lot in the 3800 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, near Coliseum Street, and died at a hospital, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. According to the preliminary investigation, a woman about 20 years old approached the victim on foot, shot her once, and fled in a vehicle, police said. The name of the suspect, who was later arrested, was not available. The victim's name was withheld, pending notification of her relatives.

Police Searching For Two Men Who Ran Red Light In North Hills, Causing Fatal Crash
The search is on for two men involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash in North Hills Tuesday morning. The driver, in a stolen Range Rover, is accused of blowing through a red light, killing one woman and sending several other people to the hospital. One witness to the crash says he stopped just in time to avoid getting hit himself. "Just thanking God that my life was spared, and my freind's," said Brian Macklin. Macklin and his friend were driving to work around 5:30 a.m. when he saw the black Range Rover traveling southbound on Hayvenhurst Avenue run a red light at Nordhoff Street. It collided with three other cars as a result. Macklin said he rushed to the silver Honda Civic, which took the worst of the blow. All the air bags were deployed, the windows were shattered, and the driver and passenger were stuck inside. Meanwhile, Macklin said, the man driving the Range Rover ditched the car and ran off. "I seen the guy getting out of the range rover and I thought maybe he was injured," he said. "And they were like he's going for it, he's running." Police confirmed that another man, driving with him, also took off. The driver of the Honda Civic died, and at least two others are in the hospital. Police say they have DNA evidence to locate the wanted men, and are looking at home video footage. NBC 4

LASD Sgt. Steve Owen, Slain In Line Of Duty In 2016, Remembered With Vigil In Lancaster
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is honoring Sgt. Steve Owen, a decorated 29-year veteran of the department, five years after he was shot and killed in the line of duty. Deputies and family members, including Owen's wife Tania, will be standing vigil at the spot where the 53-year-old was killed throughout the day Monday as a special tribute for 24 hours. Sgt. Own was shot five times outside an apartment complex on Oct. 5, 2016, after responding to a burglary call in Lancaster. He was answering a report of a break-in when he confronted the suspect, Trenton Lovell, at gunpoint. Lovell shot the veteran sergeant once in the head before standing over him and firing additional fatal shots. A second deputy who arrived on the scene shot and wounded Lovell, who attempted to steal the officer's car before fleeing on foot. Lovell then broke into a nearby home and held two teenagers hostage for an hour. The teens were not physically injured, and Lovell was captured after leaving the home. Lovell had two prior convictions and was on parole at the time of the slaying of Sgt. Owen. ABC 7

Chiefs DE Frank Clark Pleads Not Guilty To Gun Charges From Off-Season Arrest In LA County
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark pleads not guilty to gun charges stemming from an arrest in March. Clark entered the plea Monday in a Compton courtroom. Prosecutors filed charges in the case in July. Police said Clark and another man were pulled over in Los Angeles for not displaying a front license plate. Officers said that during the stop they noticed a firearm in a bag in the backseat and found two loaded guns. Clark was arrested and later posted a $35,000 bail. He will be back in court on January 17, 2022, for another hearing in this case. Clark was also arrested on June 20 in Los Angeles — his second arrest this offseason — after police said he was illegally in possession of a weapon. This time a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said officers pulled the Chiefs defensive end over for a vehicle code violation when they noticed a gun in his bag. The 28-year-old was arrested on suspicion of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, Los Angeles police told FOX4. At the time of the charges, Clark's attorney Alex Spiro said the firearm belonged to a bodyguard. FOX 2 Now

DJ Diplo Could Face Criminal Charges Over Sexual Misconduct Accusations
Celebrity DJ Diplo may face criminal charges following an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations detailed in a complaint to Los Angeles police last year, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday. The Los Angeles city attorney's office is considering charges of invasion of privacy and intentionally giving someone a sexually transmitted infection, it told the news outlet. The 42-year-old EDM artist, whose name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, was the subject of a complaint filed with the Los Angeles Police Department in October 2020 in which he's accused by an unidentified 25-year-old woman of recording sexually explicit videos and distributing at least one without her consent. He's also accused of knowingly infecting her with chlamydia. In legal filings, the woman said that Pentz first reached out to her over private messages on Twitter when she was 17 years old and that she first had sexual intercourse with him in 2018, when she was 21. The woman also alleged that Pentz raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room after one of his concerts in 2019, BuzzFeed reported, though no charges have been filed in connection with that accusation. Huffpost

International Fugitive's Possible Last Sighting Was At Dodger Game
John Ruffo has been on the run since 1998. He is on the U.S. Marshals' 15 most wanted list, for a $350 million bank fraud scheme. Investigator Danielle Shimchick from the U.S. Marshal's office says "When someone becomes a top 15 fugitive that is it. That is the highest you can get in the Marshals service." Ruffo was last seen Nov. 9, 1998 at an ATM in Queens, New York as he withdraws money. He was supposed to turn himself in to serve a 17-and-a-half year prison sentence. Officials say instead he drove a rental car into the long-term parking lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport and disappeared. "The last recording we have is an ATM for Ridgeway - takes out about $600 and from then we haven't had any confirmed sightings of Ruffo," says Shimchick. Ruffo was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme in the late 1990s. Approximately $13 million of that money was never recovered. ABC 7

California Will End Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Nonviolent Drug Crimes, Following Years Of Filed Attempts To Reduce These Penalties.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB73 on Tuesday without comment, giving judges discretion to hand down probation instead of jail time for offenses such as possessing a small amount of heroin for sale and manufacturing methamphetamine. It takes effect in January. The bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, was the fourth attempt in as many legislative sessions. Previous versions of the proposal withered in 2018 and 2019 amid opposition from police groups, and another was shelved last year after the coronavirus pandemic forced lawmakers to cut back on their agendas. “The racist, failed War on Drugs has helped build our system of mass incarceration, and we must dismantle and end its vestiges, which are still in place today,” Wiener said in a statement. “War on Drugs policies are ineffective, inhumane and expensive.” State law mandates several years in jail or prison for numerous drug crimes, including selling or transporting PCP and possessing for sale or selling an ounce or more of cocaine, crack cocaine or methamphetamine. Anyone with a prior conviction for a drug felony, such as possession, sale or transportation of a controlled substance or forging a prescription, is also ineligible for probation. San Francisco Chronicle

New California Laws Aim To Combat Fraud In Jobless Benefits
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new laws Tuesday to tighten security in the state's unemployment system after his administration OK'd billions of dollars in fraudulent payments during the pandemic while legitimate claimants languished in a backlog awaiting approval. In its rush to approve unemployment benefits during a pandemic shutdown that put millions of people out of work, state officials approved billions of dollars in the names of people in prison — including some on death row — who were ineligible to receive them. Meanwhile, thousands of legitimate claimants waited months for benefits to be approved, often frustrated they could not reach someone at the Employment Development Department's overwhelmed call centers. An audit earlier this year blamed the Employment Development Department for "significant missteps and inaction" that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Newsom has laid the blame at the federal government for dramatically expanding unemployment benefits in such a way that put them at significant risk for fraud. FOX 11

Exactly How High Are Gun Violence Rates In The U.S., Compared To Other Countries?
How does gun violence in the U.S. compare to gun violence in other countries? A dig through The Trace's archives shows that we examined the issue in 2018, following the publication of a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global research center at the University of Washington. The study created a country-by-country ranking of gun homicides and suicides, and explored possible drivers of the violence in each country. Among the main findings: America's gun homicide rate was more than double the average for all countries, and was at the top of the list for countries with high Socio-demographic Index (SDI) scores, a summary measure of a country's health outcomes. When it came to gun suicides, the U.S. was by far the global leader. Despite accounting for only 4 percent of the global population, America was responsible for more than a third of the world's firearm suicides. The original study used cause-of-death data, supplemented with statistical modeling, to estimate firearm mortality across 195 countries and territories. The estimates showed that the death toll from guns surpassed that from war and terrorism nearly every year since 1990.  For this story, we revisited the data used to create that global ranking, and found that three years later, very little has changed. Americans are still significantly more likely to die by gun: 11.1 out of every 100,000 Americans were killed by firearms in 2019. That's more than triple the global rate of 3.0. The Trace

U.S. Marshal Killed In Car Crash During Mission In Mississippi
A U.S. Marshal based in Baton Rouge died in a car accident while working on a violent felony offender case near Florence, Mississippi, officials said. The U.S. Marshals Service said Jared Keyworth, deputy U.S. Marshal and senior inspector, was injured and transported to a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday, Sept. 28, where he died. Keyworth served in the U.S. Army as part of The Old Guard, during which he escorted the riderless horse during President Ronald Reagan's funeral. He spent 11 years with the service, and he was working in the Investigative Operations Division stationed in Baton Rouge at the time of his death. "The U.S. Marshals Service is deeply saddened by the loss of SI Keyworth. We are a close-knit family and Jared's loss will be felt throughout the entire organization," said USMS Director Ronald L. Davis. "This tragedy is a reminder of the inherent risks our men and women face on a daily basis." The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Public Safety News

L.A. Poised To Enact One Of Nation's Strictest COVID Vaccine Mandates
Los Angeles leaders on Wednesday were poised to enact one of the nation's strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering a bar, restaurant, nail salon, gym or even a Lakers game. The City Council was scheduled to consider the proposal after postponing a vote last week to deal with concerns ranging from who could be fined for violations to whether employees could end up in fist-fights when they have to serve as vaccine door monitors. Some critics charge that a mandate would amount to segregation of those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others call it unenforceable. Business trade groups have said the city mandate will sow confusion because Los Angeles County's own vaccine rules — which apply both in LA and in surrounding communities — are less sweeping. However, council members generally support the ordinance, which is intended to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 surges. The nation's second-most populous city faced a huge rise in infections and hospitalizations last winter and a smaller surge this summer linked to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. KTLA 5

California Is Shaking Off The Worst Of The Delta Variant Surge
COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped by half from the summer peak, as California continues to steadily, if slowly, shake off the worst of the Delta surge. California reached its summer peak in hospitalizations on the last day of August, when 8,353 people with confirmed COVID-19 were in the state's hospitals. As of Monday, there were 4,467 people hospitalized — a number last seen in early August as the Delta surge picked up steam. California is now recording half as many new daily COVID-19 hospital admissions as the nation overall on a per capita basis. Perhaps more promising still is that the wave of COVID-19 patients has started to recede dramatically in areas that were hit hardest during the latest spike. In Fresno County, where hospitals were at times so overwhelmed that officials feared they would be forced to ration healthcare, the daily census of COVID-19 patients was 284 as of Monday — a decline of 31% from the summer peak a month ago. Hospitals in Placer County, which stretches from Sacramento's suburbs to Lake Tahoe, are now caring for 110 COVID-19 patients, half the total seen during the surge's record-setting heights. Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA Mayoral Race: Black Women Leaders Promise To “Provide Cover” For Rep. Karen Bass
Last week, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) announced that she is running to be the first woman mayor of Los Angeles – and the second African American to serve as CEO of California's largest city. A few days later, an influential group of about 45 civic, political, academic and business leaders called the California Black Women Collective joined hands on a Zoom call for what the meeting's host Kellie Todd Griffin called “a party” to support the mayoral candidacy of the sitting, six-term U.S. Congresswoman. Griffin, the Senior Vice President of Communications and External Affairs at the California Health Medical Reserve Corps, is a Los Angeles area-based organizer and entrepreneur known in California's political circles for her outspoken advocacy for African American issues. “It will be a victory. We are claiming it right now,” said Dezie Woods-Jones, talking about Bass's mayoral run. Woods Jones, a Bay Area political strategist is president of Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), the oldest African American political organization in the state. News Observer

LA City Council Seeks Plan To Streamline 100% Affordable Housing Projects
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 5, approved a motion aimed at expanding the city's short supply of affordable housing by coming up with a plan to streamline 100% deed-restricted affordable housing projects in the city. The motion, which passed unanimously, was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman on June 15. Deed-restricted affordable housing requirements are meant to preserve the long-term affordability of a development by attaching the restrictions to the property's deed. “Everyone knows we're in an affordable housing crisis … but we also know we're not building affordable housing units at the rate or scale that matches the need that we have in Los Angeles,” Raman said before the vote. She added that the process for entitling and permitting the developments is “lengthy, unpredictable and places affordable housing developers at a disadvantage in comparison with market rate housing developers.”  Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. City Council Takes Step Toward Launching A City-Owned Bank
After a long hiatus, the movement to establish a public bank in Los Angeles is once again inching forward. The City Council voted Tuesday to begin a process to study the viability of forming a city-owned bank and to create a business plan for doing so. Proponents say a public bank would allow the city to save money on banking fees, increase credit access for small businesses in underserved areas and help finance affordable housing and green energy programs. Critics of the Los Angeles proposal have questioned whether the city can realistically manage a financial institution. A number of cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia, are exploring the creation of public banks, but none have been established yet. KTLA 5

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: