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

November 15, 2021
Law Enforcement News

Emails Show LA Commissioner Used Influence To Help Win $3 Million COVID-19 Contract, Union Alleges
An embattled Los Angeles fire and police pensions commissioner accused of ethics violations by a law enforcement union over a $3 million contract to test unvaccinated city employees for COVID-19 began lobbying Mayor Eric Garcetti's office nearly a year ago on behalf of his company, raising questions from critics about potential influence peddling, emails obtained by the Southern California News Group reveal. The Los Angeles Police Protective League is suing the city and demanding an investigation, alleging it failed to disclose that testing contractor PPS Health Inc., doing business as Bluestone Safe, is partly owned by Dr. Pedram Salimpour, who was reappointed by Garcetti to the pension commission in 2017. “Did commissioner Salimpour mislead his commissioner-colleagues and the professional staff as to just how involved he was and how much he stood to gain with this taxpayer-funded contract? asked Tom Saggau, a spokesman for the union. “We all deserve answers.” The union lawsuit seeks to block the city from requiring unvaccinated employees to pay for COVID-19 tests through payroll deductions at a cost of $65 per test. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8. “The public deserves to know who was pulling the strings to funnel a $3 million no-bid contract to perform Covid testing to an entity that doesn't own a Covid testing lab, doesn't produce Covid testing kits and has virtually zero experience managing a pandemic related mass public health effort, said Craig Lally, LAPPL President. "Who else in city government, besides the mayor's office, was involved, who else was lobbied to award this contract to the newly formed Bluestone and its city-commissioner owner?” Los Angeles Daily News

Authorities Pursue Suspect From Westlake To South San Jose Hills Following Assault On Officer: LAPD
The Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol pursued an alleged assailant from Westlake to South San Jose Hills on Sunday afternoon, authorities said. The pursuit began at 2:12 p.m. in the 200 block of Silver Lake Boulevard in Westlake, according to Officer Cervantes of the LAPD. The pursuit of a suspect wanted for an alleged assault of LAPD officers with a deadly weapon began at 2:12 p.m. in the 200 block of Silver Lake Boulevard in Westlake, according to Officer Cervantes of the LAPD. As the LAPD pursued the suspect, the chase left LAPD jurisdiction, and the California Highway Patrol got involved at 2:18 p.m., according to Officer Figueroa of the CHP. The CHP took over the pursuit in the Baldwin Park area and followed the suspect until they exited their vehicle in the South San Jose Hills area, Figueroa added. The suspect entered a home near Doverdale Avenue and Hurley Street. The identity of the suspect and any news of a potential arrest have not yet been released. KTLA 5

Police Seek Help In Identifying Killer Of 40-Year-Old Sylmar Man
A man was found dead in a Sylmar parking lot on Friday, and the Los Angeles Police Department is asking the public for assistance in identifying the shooter and anyone else who may have been involved. The victim, 40-year-old Alexander Garcia Aguirre of Sylmar, was found suffering from a gunshot wound at about 10 p.m. in the 13200 block of Maclay Street, police said. Paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department declared Aguirre dead at the scene. During their investigation, detectives from the LAPD have learned that two men and a woman were seen running from the scene immediately following the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at 818-374-9550. During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247. To submit information anonymously, call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit . KTLA 5

Man Fatally Shot In South LA, Shooter At Large
A man was shot to death this evening in South Los Angeles and police were searching for the killer. The shooting happened around 6 p.m. near the intersection of West Florence Avenue and South Hobart Boulevard, according to Los Angeles Police Lt. Perry of 77th Division. The man died at the scene. His name was withheld pending notification of next of kin. A motive for the shooting was unknown.

LAPD Looking For At Least 5 Suspects Involved In Armed Robbery In Fairfax District Near Melrose Ave.
Police are looking for at least five men involved in an armed robbery that left residents in a Fairfax District neighborhood near Melrose Avenue fearing for their safety. It happened early Saturday morning at a home in the 700 block of Gardner Street, and it was all captured on surveillance video. Footage shows the men walking up to the home neighbors say is a short-term rental property. Yelling can be heard as the suspects confront the victims staying in the home. According to Melrose Action - a neighborhood watch group - the suspects demanded valuables during the robbery. The group says the victims hid in other people's yards nearby to stay safe. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a safety bulletin for parts of the city that have experienced an increase in crime, such as Melrose Avenue, the Jewelry District, nightclubs and high-end restaurants. LAPD says investigators have identified 110 crimes that fall under this category. A trend of violent crime was perhaps never as high-profile this year as it was in September, with gunpoint robberies targeting customers and businesses along Melrose. The statistics have fluctuated since then with more officers patrolling the area.  ABC 7

LAPD Targeting Underground Casinos In The Valley — Crime Dens, A Lieutenant Calls Them
The caravan of black-and-whites and undercover police vehicles rolled slowly north on Vesper Avenue in the early evening darkness, then took a right onto busy Vanowen Street in the heart of Van Nuys. They rumbled on toward their target: An unassuming unit in a street-facing strip mall, in the 14500 block of Vanowen, its windows blacked out. Inside, they believed, was an illegal, underground casino. How many people might be in there, they didn't know. The officers, armed with a search warrant, pulled up in front of the building and jumped out. Through a loudspeaker, they ordered everyone out. No response. Using a battering ram, one officer smashed through the front door of the makeshift casino with others following to swarm inside. They pulled people out, detaining about three dozen, leaving them cuffed and lined up against a wall in an alley, mostly men, in their 20s to perhaps 50s. “He fell from the ceiling,” an officer said over police radios, calmly — perhaps not the first time police have witnessed something like this. “You get some guys trying to flee,” said Sgt. R.B. Parsekhian, the investigator coordinating the raid. “That's why we plan to cover all the exits.” Similar scenes have played out across the Valley, especially in the last three years, as Los Angeles police have sought to stem the tide of illegal, makeshift casinos, mostly operated by gangs, they say, offering gambling and drugs. Los Angeles Daily News

Teens Accused In Swatting Cases At Home Of Black Lives Matter LA Activist And 30 Other Cases
Three teens are behind swatting incidents at the Mid-City residence of a leading Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activist and nearly three dozen other bomb threats and swatting cases across the county, the Los Angeles Police Department says. The teens, ages 13 and 16, are suspected in two swatting cases at the home in the 2100 block of Wellington Road in August 2020 and September 2021 when police responded to the block of one of the city's leading Black Lives Matter activists. Swatting is when someone calls law enforcement and falsely reports and emergency in an attempt to draw a SWAT response to a home. The LAPD said the group was operating on the Discord chat platform. About 30 other bomb threats and swatting cases throughout the country were linked to the group, the LAPD said. “Targets from these incidents involve other online persons, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues and memorial parks dating back to July 2020,” the LAPD said in a statement. The statement also noted that the swatting cases appear to have a racial motivation. NBC 4

Olympic Gold Medalist Sunisa Lee Says She Was Pepper Sprayed In Racist Attack In L.A.
Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee said she was pepper sprayed in a racist attack last month in Los Angeles. In a recent interview with PopSugar, the gymnast said she was attacked while she and her girlfriends — all of Asian descent — were waiting for a ride. A group in a car speeding by started yelling racist slurs and a passenger sprayed Lee's arm with pepper spray, she said. “I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” Lee told the magazine. “I didn't do anything to them, and having the reputation, it's so hard because I didn't want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.” As the first Hmong American to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, the 18-year-old Lee astounded the world by winning a gold medal in the women's all-around competition during the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. She is in her freshman year at Auburn University in Alabama and was in Los Angeles for rehearsals for an appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” when the incident occurred.  Los Angeles Times

Monick Garcia: Family Seeks Public's Help Finding Woman Missing From Granada Hills
Family members are asking for the public's help finding a mentally disabled woman who disappeared from a Granada Hills facility 10 days ago. Monick Garcia was living at the Caresource living facility when she walked away on Nov. 4 and has not been seen since. "Please help me find her," said Monick's mother, Gail Zamora. "Please. I'm asking everybody to help me find my daughter." The 36-year-old woman has the mental capacity of a child, her family says, because of a traumatic brain injury suffered about a year ago when she was struck by a train. Her family says she needs multiple medications on a daily basis. Her speech is slurred and she has trouble communicating. She went missing without a cellphone or money. "We're just praying she's alive," said Monick's uncle, Daniel Garcia. "Without the pills, the meds, (we're hoping) that nothing happened to her. Hopefully. We're just praying that we find her alive." Monick Garcia is described as being 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighing about 175 pounds. Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-ASK-LAPD. ABC 7

2 Men In Their 20s Killed In Double Shooting In Compton
Authorities on Sunday were investigating the circumstances surrounding a deadly double-shooting in Compton. The shooting was reported just before 1 a.m. Sunday in the 1900 block of North Bullis Road in Compton. When authorities responded, they located two individuals who had been shot in a car. Both had sustained gunshot wounds to the upper body. Authorities identified one of the victims as 19-year-old Javier Carachure Menchaca. The men, both of whom were initially suspected to be in their early 20s, died at the scene. Prior to the deadly shooting, deputies learned there had been a large illegal street racing event near the location. Deputies believe both incidences are related. Anyone with information about this incident was asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. CBS 2

72 Hate Groups Operated In California Last Year. Here's Where And What They Are
In California last year, 72 hate groups and 51 extreme anti-government groups operated in the state, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which compiles lists of such groups annually. SPLC tracked 838 hate groups and 566 anti-government groups across the U.S. in 2020. Hate groups are collectives that denigrate other groups of people for personal characteristics they cannot change such as race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, according to SPLC. For example, the Ku Klux Klan, originally formed in the wake of the Civil War and then revived in the early 20th century, is the most notorious hate group in the United States. It is known for extreme acts of violence against Black people and is recognizable from its white robes, hoods and cross burning. Hate groups include organizations who have not conducted any criminal activity or other illegal actions based on their beliefs. Awareness around the prevalence of extreme anti-government groups grew in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021 when such groups stormed the Michigan Capitol Building on April 30, 2020, and the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6. Sacramento Bee

Virginia Officer Shot, Killed During Welfare Check
Police in Virginia are mourning the loss of Officer Michael Chandler, who was killed in the line of duty on Saturday. According to WTVR, Chandler was performing a welfare check when he was shot. A deputy found Chandler, 29, lying unconscious in a ditch near the home, according to the report. Chandler was flown to a hospital where he died of his injuries. “Mike's loss will be felt by our town and across all of Wise County,” said Big Stone Gap Police Chief Stephen Hamm on Facebook. “Not only did he serve as an officer with the Town of Big Stone Gap Police Department, but also as a volunteer with the Big Stone Gap Fire Department.” Police said a suspect was arrested in Tennessee after an “extensive search,” according to the report. Charges are pending.  PoliceOne

Report: Man Who Killed Colorado Officer Was “Warped" By Anti-Police Videos
The gunman who ambushed and killed an Arvada police officer in June planned an attack on officers after developing an obsession with law enforcement and police misconduct while watching hours of YouTube videos every day, investigative documents show. Ronald Troyke, 59, shot and killed Officer Gordon Beesley on June 21 in Olde Town Arvada, prompting mid-day chaos in the busy commercial district. Johnny Hurley, a man with a concealed weapon who was shopping nearby, killed Troyke before being shot and killed by a responding Arvada police officer who mistook him for an active shooter. A 1,090-page report outlining the investigation into the shooting provides more details about Troyke and the circumstances that led to the bloodshed in Olde Town Arvada. The report, obtained by The Denver Post through a public records request, was released this week after prosecutors cleared the officer who killed Hurley of wrongdoing. It includes interviews with Troyke's family and details of Troyke's previous law enforcement encounters. Two weeks before he killed Beesley, Troyke screamed at Arvada police officers as they arrested a man on felony warrants, the documents show.  The Denver Post

‘Ghost Guns': Firearm Kits Bought Online Fuel Epidemic of Violence
Max Mendoza's parents awakened just after dawn to the echoing clap-pop of a gunshot, and ran from their bedroom to find their 12-year-old son propped against the couch, eyes wide in pain, terror and surprise. “It's the real one. It's the real one,” Max whispered, clutching his chest, seemingly astounded that a weapon resembling a toy, a cheap-looking brown-and-black pistol, could end his life in an instant. But it did. Investigators in this city just south of San Diego are still trying to determine exactly what happened on that Saturday morning in July — if the seventh-grader accidentally shot himself, or if his 15-year-old friend, who the police say had brought the weapon into the apartment, discharged it while showing it off. What is certain is the kind of weapon that killed Max. It was a “ghost gun.” Ghost guns — untraceable firearms without serial numbers, assembled from components bought online — are increasingly becoming the lethal weapon of easy access for those legally barred from buying or owning guns around the country. The criminal underground has long relied on stolen weapons with sanded-off serial numbers, but ghost guns represent a digital-age upgrade, and they are especially prevalent in coastal blue states with strict firearm laws. Nowhere is that truer than in California, where their proliferation has reached epidemic proportions, according to local and federal law enforcement officials in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco. New York Times

Public Safety News

2 Injured In Shadow Hills Trailer Fire, Exotic Animals Uninjured: LAFD
Los Angeles Fire Department personnel were able to extinguish a trailer and garage fire in the Shadow Hills area of Sun Valley in about 20 minutes on Saturday, but not before two people suffered burn wounds, the LAFD said in an alert. The fire in the 8600 block of La Tuna Canyon Road was extinguished by about 50 firefighters at 4:24 p.m., but a man and a woman, whose ages and identities were not released, were evaluated for burn injuries, the LAFD said. Their condition is unknown. In addition, an unknown number of “exotic” animals were at the scene, but they “were sequestered and are not injured,” the Fire Department said. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section, the department added. KTLA 5

COVID-Related Hospitalizations Drop To 600 In LA County
The number of coronavirus patients in Los Angeles County hospitals has dropped to an even 600, falling from 604 on Saturday, according to the latest state figures released Sunday, Nov. 14. Of those patients, 163 were in intensive care, down from 170 the previous day. County health officials reported 979 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and six additional deaths associated with the virus. The number of cases and deaths likely reflect reporting delays over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The latest numbers brought the county's cumulative total to 1,511,324 cases and 26,862 fatalities since the pandemic began. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that while daily COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations are down dramatically from the same time last year, the numbers remain too high and the daily report of virus-related deaths remains almost identical from last year. “The similar number for deaths is a reminder of the destructive power of this virus, and the relatively high numbers of cases and hospitalizations are a reflection of the dominance of the more infectious Delta variant,” Ferrer said during an online media briefing Friday. Los Angeles Daily News

COVID Surge Concerns Grow As Nation Heads Into The Holidays
Americans are less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, and a year removed from the worst parts of the Coronavirus pandemic that plagued most of 2020. However, for the first time in two months, COVID-19 cases are trending upwards. Doctors warn that the cold-weather season, increased gatherings and necessity for booster shots could be factors in this recent trend. While concerns about the virus may be lower in 2021 than they were at this time last year, those worries still linger. Doctor Michael Daignault, an emergency room physician at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, said that gatherings for many across the Southland should be okay – as long as people are cautious. Daignault reassured that while concerns grow, we have more protection against COVID-19 than we did last year. He also said that the accuracy of rapid testing has increased, which could save many Thanksgivings from being ruined by a spread of the virus. He recommend looking into booster shots before the holiday, especially when visiting with family that may come from areas with a higher transmission rate. CBS 2

Local Government News

LA City Council Approves Changes To COVID Proof-Of-Vaccination Ordinance
The Los Angeles City Council Friday approved enforcement measures and modifications for its new law requiring Angelenos patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. The law went into effect on Monday, but enforcement is not set to begin until Nov. 29. The City Council on Friday tweaked the ordinance, so it will now require proof of vaccinations for only individuals who are 12 years old and over, instead of all eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, which includes people over the age of 5. The council also authorized the Department of Building and Safety to issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance, which will include a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations. Proposed funding for enforcement includes $400,000 for outreach and inspections, $184,207 for salaries and marketing materials and education, and $500,000 for contractual services for the city's VaxUp LA program to provide equitable outreach and awareness about the vaccine. FOX 11

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: