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 14, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Los Angeles Police Officer Wounded By Gunman; Suspect In Custody
A Los Angeles police officer was shot and wounded near the LAPD's Newton station in South L.A. early Thursday, officials said. The circumstances that led to the shooting, which occurred shortly after 5 a.m. near South Central Avenue and 34th Street, were not immediately clear, LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said. The officer was shot while driving to work, Spell said. The male officer, who was not identified, was was able to get to the nearby fire station for medical treatment and then was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was initially described as being in stable condition, authorities said. A 14-year-old was detained in connection with the shooting a few blocks away, at East 29th Street and Naomi Avenue, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told The Times. The source was speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Images from near the police station showed a pickup truck with damage to its windows. Officers have flooded the area and set up a perimeter. Police have found a gun at the scene that authorities suspect was used by the shooter. Los Angeles Times

1 Dead, 1 In Custody In Downtown L.A. Shooting
A person was killed in a shooting in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, officials said. The incident was reported about 11:50 a.m. near the intersection of Georgia and 18th streets, according to the LAPD. The area is at the border with the University Park and Pico-Union neighborhoods. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he or she later died, authorities told KTLA at the scene. A man described as the suspect was taken into custody, along with the gun used in the shooting, police said. They did not identify him. No further details about the incident, including what led to the shooting, have been released. KTLA 5

South LA Man Convicted Of Murder In 4-Year-Old Daughter's Drowning
A South Los Angeles man on trial for his 4-year-old daughter's drowning in a walk-in bathtub was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death. Jurors deliberated about three hours before convicting Charles Richard Lee, now 26, in the Dec. 2, 2018, drowning of his daughter, Zaraellia Thompson. Sentencing was set for Nov. 9, and Lee faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. Deputy District Attorney Colby Cano told the downtown Los Angeles jury that the evidence against Lee was “overwhelming.” The prosecutor questioned whether it was “reasonable to think that Zaraellia died drowned accidentally” and not as a result of Lee's conduct, given a series of fresh injuries and injuries, including scalding injuries, that Cano had described earlier as “days to weeks old.” Lee's attorney, Michael Many, countered that the girl died as the result of a “terrible accident.” The girl — who had been dropped off a few weeks earlier at her father's home and hadn't lived with him for the first years of her life — died at a hospital after paramedics were summoned to the house in the 1500 block of East 42nd Street. The Los Angeles County coroner's office subsequently classified the girl's death as a homicide.

Suspect Arrested After Standoff On 105 Freeway In Watts
A suspect possibly linked to a murder case was taken into custody following a pursuit and standoff that shut down a portion of the 105 Freeway in Watts Wednesday morning. The incident began when Los Angeles police spotted a white SUV at Alameda Street and Washington Boulevard, on the edge of the downtown L.A. Fashion District, that was wanted in a murder investigation. When officers attempted to stop the SUV a chase ensued, which wound its way down into Watts and turned into a standoff on the westbound side of the 105 Freeway near the Wilmington Avenue exit. After a brief standoff, the suspect surrendered was taken into custody a little before 10:30 a.m. The name of the suspect was not confirmed. The details of the murder case and whether the man arrested was a murder suspect were also not immediately known. The westbound 105 Freeway was fully shut down during the standoff, but has since been reopened. CBS 2

1 In Custody For Fire At Wilmington Train Yard A man was taken into custody in connection with a fire at a Wilmington train yard Wednesday that sent thick plumes of black smoke into the air over the South Bay and Long Beach area. The blaze was first reported just after 2:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of North Alameda Street. Aerial footage from AIR7 HD showed an outdoor yard with tires, machinery and commercial rubbish on fire. Black smoke filled the skies. Firefighters say loud noises were heard during the fire so a hazardous materials team was dispatched as a precaution. Firefighters later determined the sounds were tires exploding and not toxic materials. The Los Angeles Fire Department, with help from county fire, deployed 88 firefighters, using ladder pipes and large hand lines to battle the flames. By 3:30 p.m., firefighters appeared to have the flames well under control and down to smoldering debris. A knockdown was declared at 4:11 p.m. The Los Angeles Police Department says officers with the Harbor Division later took a man into custody in connection with the start of the fire. His name and the potential charges he may face have not been released. ABC 7

LAPD Searching For Real Estate Loan Fraud Suspect Accused Of Defrauding Victims Out Of $900,000
The Los Angeles Police Department is searching for an outstanding suspect wanted in connection to a real estate loan fraud scheme that defrauded victims of roughly $900,000. Philip Joseph Hoblin, 54, is wanted for a total of 33 charges including forgery, identity theft, grand theft, fraudulent recorded documents and money laundering for a monetary loss of approximately $900,000. The LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division has been able to locate and arrest three of the four suspects wanted in connection with the real estate loan fraud case. Kevin Antwine McWhorter, 56, Lois Ann Johnson, 68, and Walter Louis Perkins, 76, each face a variety of charges in the case. McWhorter was charged with eight counts, including fraudulent recorded documents, forgery, grand theft and identity theft. His bail was set at $325,000. Johnson was charged with 11 counts, including fraudulent recorded documents, forgery, grand theft and identity theft. Her bail was set at $430,000. Perkins was charged with 19 counts, including fraudulent recorded documents, forgery, grand theft and identity theft. His bail was set at $445,000. FOX 11

Reward Being Offered For Help Catching Vandalizers Of St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church
Two days after St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church was found vandalized, a support group is offering a $10,000 reward. The group named, “Hands off Christopher Columbus,” is staking the reward. The group is looking for any leads in finding who vandalized the church, which is located at 1039 N. Broadway in Downtown LA. St. Peter's was found marred with splotches of red paint and spray paint on Monday with signs representing anti-colonialism. There were messages found spray-painted outside the church and on the front façade, including one that read, “land back.” The vandalism is apparently in protest of Christopher Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas. A banner was also found, it said, “stop colonizing our land.” “This is total desecration to the church of St. Peter's, who has served the Los Angeles community since 1906,” Raul Montes Jr. said. “We are here because this is another hate crime against Christopher Columbus.” LAPD is investigating the vandalism as a hate crime. It remains unclear if anyone took responsibility of the action or if there are any suspects. CBS 2

Robert Durst Faces Sentencing In Murder Of Best Friend
The bitterly fought murder trial of Robert Durst stretched over the better part of two years. His sentencing will be comparatively brief and could lack the fireworks that erupted between the lead prosecutor and defense lawyer. The eccentric New York real estate heir faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole Thursday for the first-degree murder of his best friend, Susan Berman. “Now that the jury has found whodunnit, the punishment is quite clear,” Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson said. “I'm not sure there's a lot more left for (the prosecutor) to say.” Durst, 78, was convicted last month in Los Angeles Superior Court of shooting Berman point-blank in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home just before Christmas 2000. The trial began in March 2020 and was adjourned for 14 months as the coronavirus pandemic swept the U.S. and courts were closed. It resumed in May with the jury that reached its verdict Sept. 17. Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst's longtime confidante who was preparing to tell police she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished in New York in 1982. KTLA 5

Glendale Police Arrest 2 After Alleged Catalytic Converter Theft Attempt
The Glendale Police Department arrested a man and a boy after they were spotted allegedly trying to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle, authorities said. The pair was seen attempting to steal the converter at about 3:40 a.m., and they attempted to flee the scene in the 600 block of West Doran Street, but an officer on patrol spotted the car make an illegal left turn and pulled them over, police said. When police approached the car, they spotted a reciprocating saw in the backseat, police said, as well as two additional saw blades and a flashlight. When speaking with the driver, a male juvenile, and the passenger, 26-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez of Los Angeles, the officers learned “that they did attempt to cut a catalytic converter from a vehicle, but were not successful,” police said in a release. The minor and Gonzalez were arrested and booked for grand theft, police said. No further information was available. KTLA 5

More Than 2 Dozen Untraceable ‘Ghost' Guns, Assault Weapons Seized From San Diego Business, Homes
Three men were arrested after a “significant” number of untraceable ghost guns were seized at three homes and a business in the San Diego area. Police seized 45 firearms, more than half of which were untraceable “ghost” guns, while serving search warrants at a San Diego business and homes in the city's southeastern, northeastern, and mid-city areas, according to San Diego spokesman Lt. Adam Sharki. The search warrants were part of an operation by the department's Ghost Gun Apprehension Team. Among the guns seized, 14 were polymer unserialized handguns and 14 more were unserialized assault weapons. Police also recovered 13 handguns, four assault weapons, body armor, a 3D printer, high capacity and drum-style magazines, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and $90,000 in cash. Some of the ghost guns were assembled using kits sold online, he said. “This is a significant seizure,” Sharki said in an email. The suspects, who were not identified, were charged with several offenses, including illegally manufacturing and selling firearms. One of the suspects was also carrying a loaded firearm at the time of his arrest, according to Sharki. CBS 2

FBI Reward For GirlsDoPorn Fugitive Ratchets Up To $50,000
The reward for information leading to the arrest of Michael James Pratt, the GirlsDoPorn boss at the center of a federal sex trafficking prosecution, has been raised to $50,000, the FBI announced Wednesday. Pratt, 39, fled San Diego in 2019 in the midst of a civil trial in San Diego Superior Court over the pornography business, which used false and misleading claims — and sometimes drugs and alcohol — to coerce young women into performing sex acts on camera in luxury San Diego hotel suites. A judge slapped him with a $12.7 million civil judgement, in absentia. A federal warrant for his arrest was issued in November 2019 on sex-trafficking conspiracy charges. He slipped away from the home he'd been living in, in the Meadow Hills community north of Escondido, but left his cat behind, according to court records. He paid a pet-sitter to care for the cat daily. Pratt, a New Zealand native, “has ties to multiple countries and has the financial means to be anywhere around the world,” the FBI said. The FBI had set an initial reward for his capture at $10,000 last year. San Diego Union Tribune

33rd Candlelight Vigil To Honor 701 Fallen LEOs During National Police Week 2021
This week, 701 new names of fallen law enforcement officers will be formally dedicated during the 33rd Annual Candlelight Vigil. Those names include 434 who died in 2019 and 2020, according to a press release from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). The annual vigil, part of National Police Week, will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. ET. The vigil will also be livestreamed on the NLEOMF website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. “The stories behind each of the 701 new names […] are so special,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “To pay them proper tribute, each of their names will be read as a part of the ceremony and will be forever etched on the walls of the Memorial and in the hearts of an eternally grateful nation. To them and the families that they represent, and to all law enforcement professionals who serve each day to protect us, thank you.” According to the release, 62% of duty deaths in 2020 were related to COVID-19. Last year, in-person ceremonies were canceled due to ongoing pandemic restrictions. Surviving family members, friends, law enforcement officers and supporters are all encouraged to attend.  PoliceOne

Police Chiefs Are Leaving Departments At A Higher Rate Than Previous Years
Police chiefs in the largest cities across the country are leaving at an alarming rate since the beginning of 2020, a trend experts say creates a gap in leadership that serves as a hurdle in implementing criminal justice reform and long-lasting cultural change within their departments. Since January 2020, there have been 39 police chiefs who have departed their roles for various reasons -- retired, resigned or fired -- among the 79 members of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), an organization of police executives representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada, MCCA Executive Director Laura Cooper said last week. "We do expect a couple more by the end of the year. Even more have indicated that they have every intention of retiring in early 2022," Cooper said. "It's definitely an issue that we're seeing because we're talking about nearly half of our membership." A few of the cities that have experienced a change in police leadership include Portland, Oregon, Louisville, Dallas, Miami, Detroit and Boston. In California, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn have announced they are retiring in December, while three police chiefs in Houston, San Jose and Atlanta have retired to lead another MCCA member agency. These chiefs are not included in the 39 who have left their departments. The turnover, according to Cooper, is indicative of natural attrition within departments as well as "borderline retirees" who have decided to leave due to political pressure or high-profile police killings. CNN

Public Safety News

Los Angeles, Long Beach Fire Departments Train Aboard Vessel For Maritime Firefighting
It may be a once in a career situation, but local public safety officials want their firefighters to always be prepared. Los Angeles City and Long Beach fire departments and the United States Coast Guard commandeered a vessel in the Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, Oct. 12, to perform maritime emergency preparedness exercises. The drills were meant to demonstrate to firefighters the skillset required for shipboard firefighting. The simulation occurred aboard one of the Maritime Administration's ships, the SS Cape Isabel, a vehicle and cargo transport ship assigned to the MARAD Ready Reserve Force, a subset of vessels meant for rapid worldwide deployment. A $240,000 grant from the US Coast Guard paid for the training session, allowing the fire departments three days aboard the vessel to practice in around eight different scenarios. Different firefighting teams will participate the next two days. Press Telegram

Red Flag Warning To Take Effect Friday In L.A., Ventura Counties As High Winds Bring Fire Danger
A red flag warning will be in place over much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties beginning Friday morning as strong Santa Ana winds descend on the region, weather officials said Wednesday. The warning will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Saturday, likely bringing critical fire weather conditions amid low humidity and warm temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. “That basically means dry, windy, and warmer,” the weather service's Los Angeles office said in a tweet. The wind event is expected to be moderate, with gusts peaking between 30 and 45 mph across most of the region and winds in some areas gusting around 55 mph. The strongest winds are expected to hit Friday morning and afternoon, forecasters said. Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to climb into the late week, reaching between 80 and 90 degrees across the coast and into the valleys, and humidities are expected to be around 6-12%. KTLA 5

Local Government News

LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas Indicted On Federal Corruption Charges
A Los Angeles City Councilman is being indicted on federal corruption charges. The 20-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges that Mark Ridley-Thomas and the former dean of USC's School of Social Work are both being indicted in connection to a bribery scheme. In the alleged bribery scheme, a relative of Ridley-Thomas received "substantial benefits from the university in exchange for Ridley-Thomas supporting county contracts and lucrative contract amendments with the university while he served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Ridley-Thomas is accused of conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, the ex-dean who agreed to give Ridley-Thomas' relative "with graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship, and a mechanism to funnel Ridley-Thomas campaign funds through the university to a non-profit to be operated by the relative." In exchange, the indictment alleges, Ridley-Thomas supported contracts involving the School of Social Work, including contracts to provide services to the county Department of Children and Family Services and Probation Department, as well as an amendment to a contract with the Department of Mental Health that would bring the school millions of dollars in new revenue. FOX 11

LA Creates Permanent Housing Program For Survivors Of Domestic Abuse, Human Trafficking
Los Angeles officials announced a one-year pilot program Wednesday that will be the first permanent housing program in the city dedicated to survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking. “When one in four women and one in seven men will experience intimate partner violence, we cannot ignore the problem,” said City Council President Nury Martinez, who announced the program outside City Hall. The Survivors First program will fund 10 existing L.A.-based nonprofit agencies that provide shelter and services, as well as provide permanent housing to survivors. The program is funded through $5 million from the Community Development Block Grant through the federal CARES Act, and the program's success will be evaluated before being considered for additional years of funding. The National Housing First program, which prioritizes permanent housing to help people experiencing homelessness, served as a model for Los Angeles' Survivors First program. Los Angeles Daily News

LA City Council Members Seek To Stop Homeless Encampments In These Locations
Six Los Angeles City Council members introduced a resolution Wednesday to enforce the city's ordinance to restrict homeless encampments at four locations in and around the Civic Center. The resolution requests enforcement against sitting, lying, sleeping and storing personal property at: 711 N. Alameda St., outside Union Station, citing its proximity to a designated facility or shelter; 310 N. Main St., outside City Hall, citing its proximity to a designated facility or shelter; 111 E. First St., outside City Hall East, citing its proximity to a day care center; 125 Paseo De La Plaza, near El Pueblo de Los Angeles, citing its proximity to a public park. The resolution was co-introduced by Council President Nury Martinez, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, and Councilmen Kevin de Leon, Paul Krekorian, Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz. It was seconded by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who also introduced a resolution Wednesday to enforce the ordinance at nine underpass locations in his district. The law, which went into effect Sept. 3, prohibits sleeping, sitting, camping and obstructing the public right of way within 500 feet of a "sensitive'' facility including schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries. NBC 4

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: