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

February 4, 2022
Law Enforcement News

LAPD Lt. lieutenant and girlfriend of slain officer speak out after funeral
LAPD Lt. Rex Ingram and Angela Mendoza, the girlfriend of fallen LAPD Officer Fernando Arroyos, join 'Fox & Friends.' Fox News Video

2 Officers Hurt During Pursuit Of Marijuana Dispensary Burglars In South LA Two Los Angeles police officers were hurt early Thursday morning when their patrol vehicle crashed while in pursuit of several suspects who were involved in a marijuana dispensary burglary in South L.A. The incident began a little after 5:07 a.m. when the LAPD officers responded to a burglary call at the Flower and Leaf Dispensary located in the 1500 block of Florence Avenue. Security footage obtained by CBSLA from the owner of the dispensary shows at least three suspects breaking in and ransacking the business. The video shows the LAPD officers arriving at the dispensary in their squad SUV. The suspect then scatter. A couple appear to run away on foot, while at least one gets into a car. The officers draw their guns on the car. However, the suspect speeds away, almost running them down in the process. It appears no shots were fired, however. The officers then jump into their squad SUV and give chase, but the pursuit was short-lived. A collision involving their squad SUV occurred at the intersection of Florence and Vermont avenues, about a half-mile from the dispensary. Footage from the crash scene showed one civilian car which had slammed into a fence, while the LAPD squad SUV had significant front-end damage. The two officers in the squad vehicle were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. A civilian occupant of the other vehicle was also hospitalized in unknown condition. CBS 2

Two Men Charged With Fatally Shooting Mother Outside Venice Bike Shop Less than a month after she gave birth to her son, Ky Alicia Thomas was looking forward to spending a day out on the Venice boardwalk with her husband, her sister and her sister's boyfriend. Thomas, 28, had a difficult pregnancy and the outing in December 2020 was an opportunity to enjoy herself. “She had kept saying that she wanted to see the sunset,” said Cortlyn Bridges, Thomas' mother. Thomas rented a scooter on the boardwalk, but around 5:30 p.m. her group was approached by several people outside the rental shop. An argument followed and shots rang out, authorities said. Thomas was struck and later died at a nearby hospital. In addition to her newborn son, Thomas was the mother of an 8-year-old daughter, Bridges said. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced two men were arrested and charged with Thomas' murder. Isiah Eugene Caldwell, 28, and Jonathan Michael Singh, 30, were charged with one count of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Singh faces one count of possession of an assault weapon, a rifle, and Caldwell faces one misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm on his person or in a vehicle, according to authorities. Los Angeles Times

2 Sisters Targeted In Brazen Robbery In Fairfax District Police are investigating a brazen robbery in the Fairfax District. Two sisters were walking on their way to school when they were suddenly attacked and robbed of their cell phones. "She started punching me in the eye, ripping out my hair and punching me like all over my body," says Alexa Meza, a senior at Fairfax High School. Her sister Mia tried to help but was quickly stopped. Two women and two men robbed the girls right in front of the Urban Outfitters in the 7600 block of Melrose Avenue around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. It happened so fast, the sisters didn't know what to do until they noticed an employee inside the store. "I was just asking the guy for help because I felt so helpless and scared, you know," Mia said. The store clerk let the sisters inside. He also called the police and allowed the girls to use the phone to call their mother. "It's the phone call that no parent wants to get," said Yadira Meza. The Los Angeles Police Department confirms they are investigating this robbery. The sisters say the attackers were all inside a car scoping the area when they suddenly jumped out of a black Kia four-door sedan and attacked them.  FOX 11

Help Needed To Identify Shooter In 2020 Murder Of 19-Year-Old Michelle Diaz Investigators asked for help Thursday for information in the murder of a 19-year-old woman in the Westmont area of South Los Angeles. Michelle Diaz was shot and killed at about 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2020 in the 1400 block of West 106th Street. She was in front of the location with her boyfriend when four men drove by and opened fire on them. The gunfire hit Diaz in the head, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The vehicle was described as a bright blue 4-door sedan, possibly a newer model Kia Forte or Kia Optima. Anyone with information about the murder can contact Los Angeles County sheriff's Homicide Detective S. Garcia at (323) 890-4400 or via email at . CBS 2

Arrest Made In Assault Of 49ers Fan At SoFi Stadium One person was arrested late Thursday night in relation to the assault at SoFi Stadium Sunday that left a San Francisco 49ers fan in a medically-induced coma, according to Inglewood police. Daniel Luna, a 49ers fan who traveled by himself to Los Angeles County for the NFC Championship game Sunday has been in a medically-induced coma after being found bleeding on the ground in Parking Lot L at SoFi Stadium Sunday afternoon. On Thursday, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts held a press conference addressing the violent incident. Butts said security footage of the incident had been found. In it, Luna was seen mingling with other football fans in the parking lot before an altercation broke out. According to Butts, Luna shoved a fan in a yellow jersey from behind and the fan in the yellow jersey hit Luna in the mouth area. According to Inglewood Police, a man came forward Thursday night to say he was involved in the incident. That man was later arrested, and is believed to be the person seen in the video hitting Luna, according to FOX 11's Gigi Graciette. Butts said he only learned of the incident on Thursday when he knew a crime was committed and called the press conference.  FOX 11

Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Targeted By Law Enforcement, Advocacy Groups With the Super Bowl just over a week away, law enforcement and advocacy groups stressed Thursday that they will be working diligently to combat sex trafficking and exploitation of young girls, which authorities say has become an unfortunate reality surrounding most major events. Law enforcement agencies both local and federal, including the Los Angeles Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will be out in force in an effort to combat the practice and rescue trafficking victims. Officials with Homeland Security Investigations, a division of ICE, said they have been working for more than a year to develop plans for combating trafficking. That effort includes “educating the public and key industries in Los Angeles — such as hospitality, hotels, and transportation — on how to recognize indicators of human trafficking in their communities and help dispel the myths about who can be a victim of this terrible crime.” Representatives of various anti-trafficking organizations gathered with LAPD representatives Thursday to discuss the work they do to assist victims, and to highlight the dangers they face.

Questions Mount As Apparent Beating Of 49ers Fan Outside SoFi Stadium Kept Secret For Days Ahead Of Super Bowl Officials faced mounting questions Thursday about why they didn't inform the public about the apparent beating of a San Francisco 49ers fan outside SoFi Stadium on Sunday and whether more security measures are needed before the Super Bowl. It took three days and an inquiry from The Times before authorities in Inglewood confirmed the incident, which left 40-year-old restaurant owner Daniel Luna in a medically induced coma. Luna was found bleeding in a stadium parking lot just after 4 p.m. Sunday, about half an hour into the NFC championship showdown against the Rams, yet it remains unclear who made the 911 call that ultimately resulted in his transport to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. It's also not been established why it took hours for authorities to be informed of the incident. Inglewood police launched their investigation around 7 p.m. after being notified by emergency room personnel who noted wounds suggesting Luna had been attacked. KTLA 5

Feds Coordinating Super Bowl Security Say No Known Threats The U.S. Secret Service says there are no known, specific threats to Los Angeles or the upcoming Super Bowl game at SoFi Stadium, and that it's helping to coordinate a huge law enforcement effort to keep the event and its participants safe. Special Agent in Charge Jessie Baker said he's comfortable that federal, state, and local agencies have anticipated -- and planned-for -- virtually any contingency. “All the intelligence components of the federal government, everyone who has an expertise, so to speak, at intelligence collection, and knowing how to evaluate that information is involved in this,” Baker said. The NFL will provide more specific security information for the public next week with details on stadium access routes, parking, and road closures. Baker said the FAA will impose a temporary flight restriction ahead of the game that will be enforced by both Customs and Border Protection helicopters and military fighter jets from the Department of Defense. He said security planners have also focused on potential cyber threats, especially given the digital sophistication of SoFi stadium. “It can be a significant thing if it's not considered, but it absolutely has been considered and prepared for this case by the relevant components,” he said. NBC 4

Man Who Attacked Journalist At Koreatown Protest Gets Probation A 30-year-old man who struck a journalist with a baton during a protest over transgender rights outside a Koreatown spa last year was sentenced to probation Thursday. Aaron Kareem Simmons, 30, pleaded no contest to one count of assault with a deadly weapon at a court hearing in downtown Los Angeles. Under a plea deal Simmons struck with prosecutors, Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell placed Simmons on three years' probation. Simmons must also undergo anger management and stay away from the man he attacked. Video of the July 3 protest outside the Wi Spa showed Simmons walk up behind Rocky Romano — a freelance journalist who was wearing a helmet and had the word “PRESS” in bold lettering across his back — and smash him over the head with a “wooden lead baton,” according to a criminal complaint. Last year, Romano told The Times his vision blurred for about a minute after he was hit and he believed he suffered a minor concussion. Despite the video, Simmons' attorney, R.J. Manuelian, said he did not believe the prosecution's case was “extremely persuasive” and that he would seek to have the case expunged from Simmons' record once he completes the terms of his probation. Los Angeles Times

Former UCLA Lecturer Charged, Held Without Bail Over Alleged Threats To University A former lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, was ordered held without bail Thursday on a charge of threatening violence against the school in online videos and an 800-page document emailed to dozens of people. The email was sent Monday and UCLA canceled classroom instruction Tuesday as a precaution. Later that day Matthew Harris, 31, was taken into custody in Boulder, Colorado, where he has been living. Harris had lectured in the university's philosophy department until being put on “investigatory leave” last March. Harris is charged with transmission of threats in interstate commerce. He did not enter a plea during an appearance in federal court in Denver where his public defender, Mary Butterton, noted Harris does not have a criminal record. Prosecutor Julia Martinez said authorities would like to keep Harris in custody for now, saying he had made threats against a “whole host” of people and institutions. Another court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. KTLA 5

Man Arrested For Series Of Vehicle Burglaries In Burbank: Police A North Hollywood man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a series of vehicle burglaries in Burbank, police said. The incidents date back to Jan. 18, when Burbank police officers took five vehicle burglary reports in the 1800 block of Empire Avenue, the 1900 block of Empire Avenue and the 1600 block of Maria Street. Authorities were able to find surveillance video of the suspect and the vehicle he was driving, and eventually watched the man drive into a parking structure at 2301 West Magnolia Blvd. There, police apparently saw the man smash a window of a vehicle and take property from inside. The man was detained as he tried to leave the structure with the stolen property, police said. Detectives later searched the suspect's North Hollywood home and found stolen items from the thefts that occurred on Jan. 18, as well as property belonging to victims of identity theft. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Michael White, was booked on seven counts of burglary and one count of identity theft, police said. He is being held on $190,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. KTLA 5

Compton Man Believed To Have Posed As Ridesharing App Driver Arrested In Long Beach Sexual Assault A Compton man has been arrested on sexual assault charges, and police in Long Beach believe he has been posing as a ridesharing app driver and may have more victims. Demetrio Estrada, 29, was arrested Tuesday and faces charges of one count of kidnapping to commit rape and one count of assault with intent to commit a felony sex crime, according to Long Beach police. According to Los Angeles County jail records, Estrada is being held on $2.2 million bail and is scheduled to make his first court appearance next Thursday. Long Beach police have been investigating a sexual assault that happened in August of 2021 involving a man driving a silver 2006 Honda Civic and posing as a ridesharing app driver. The driver had picked up a woman near a bus stop in the area of 1st Street and The Promenade, took her to another location and sexually assaulted her, police said. A warrant for Estrada's arrest was issued after the investigation identified him as the suspect, according to police. CBS 2

Trio Accused In Hammer Smash-And-Grab Robberies Of 6 Cell Phone Stores In 1 Day Three men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the hammer robberies of half-a-dozen cell phone stores in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and have been linked to as many as 50 similar robberies across the region. Tony Tyron Lee Stewart, 21, of Highland; Rayford Newsome, 23, of Compton; and Jerome Gregory Belser, 20, of San Bernardino, are in federal custody and are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court on Feb. 10. The trio has been accused of stealing $33,795 worth of merchandise, and have been linked to more than 50 cell phone store robberies throughout Southern California. According to the federal indictment, Newsom drove Stewart and Belser in a blue Kia Optima vehicle on Jan. 15 to rob T-Mobile stores in Long Beach, Carson, Inglewood, Encino, and Camarillo, and an AT&T Wireless store in Woodland Hills. Prosecutors say Stewart and Belser used hammers to smash display cases and phone displays to steal iPhones and other electronics at each of the stores, while Newsome was the getaway driver. According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in this case, GPS location data for Stewart's and Newsome's phones, and the blue Kia Optima, showed that the phones and the vehicle were in the area of the robberies when they occurred. Later that night, investigators used the vehicle's GPS data to track it down to North Hollywood, according to federal prosecutors. CBS 2

Fentanyl Is A Public Health Crisis. Is The City Of San Francisco Treating It Like One? It's May 2020, a Wednesday, and the carnage begins early. Shortly after dawn, two men are found dead — one on the street in the Tenderloin, the other outside an elementary school in Bernal Heights. A few hours later, cleaners crack the door of an Airbnb at Eighth and Market streets and are jolted by the smell of the three decomposing bodies inside. The medical examiner has already logged 14 overdose victims for the week. Six more will succumb by Sunday. And in more than half of the cases, the toxicologist will find fentanyl, a supremely addictive synthetic opioid driving a nationwide record of fatal overdoses. In San Francisco, roughly 1,310 people died from drug overdoses in 2020 and 2021, almost twice the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three-quarters of the victims were found to have fentanyl in their systems. The toll would be higher if not for  Narcan , the antidote now used more than 500 times a month to yank people back from the brink of death. Many of the city's dead have been found within blocks of each other in the Tenderloin and South of Market, which have long shouldered San Francisco's most pressing problems. San Francisco Chronicle

Naked Man Arrested After Allegedly Opening Fire On Greyhound Bus In California A 21-year-old man who was acting erratically opened fire inside a Greyhound bus in Northern California, killing a 43-year-old woman and wounding four others before he was arrested, naked, inside a Walmart after getting into a fight, authorities said. Asaahdi Coleman started shooting at passengers as they exited the Los Angeles-bound bus after it stopped at a convenience store in the city of Oroville on Wednesday night, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Thursday. "This is a horrific tragedy that was visited upon our community," he said. Police received 911 calls shortly after 7:30 p.m. that someone was shooting inside a bus outside a convenience store in the small city of Oroville, about 65 miles north of Sacramento. Officials said they recovered a dozen 9 mm bullet casings on the bus, which had a bullet hole through the windshield. Detectives later recovered the weapon in a nearby construction site, Honea said. Moments before the shooting Coleman, who had boarded the bus in Redding, told passengers that Los Angeles was a dangerous city and showed them a firearm he was carrying in a satchel, Honea said. He also got agitated and accused one of them of being an undercover law enforcement officer, the sheriff said. FOX 11

Florida Deputy Shot To Death By Detective Boyfriend On Vacation Tears rolled down the cheeks of deputies Wednesday afternoon as they saluted a hearse pulling into District 3 of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. Inside was the body of Abigail Bieber, a 30-year-old deputy shot to death by her detective boyfriend Saturday while they vacationed with other deputies in St. Augustine. Bieber's mother, Sarah Bieber, wept when the hearse arrived. She approached a poster photo of her daughter, carrying flowers, and placed them atop a Sheriff's Office truck before pulling the poster tight to her chest. Deputies stood at attention as a bagpipe played. Once given the order to be at ease, many of them wept, too, consoling each other while approaching the photo. The stop at District 3, 7202 Gunn Hwy in Citrus Park, was a brief one for a motorcade carrying Bieber's body from St. Augustine to a funeral home in Clearwater. Joining the procession across the state were her two brothers, both officers from the Clearwater Police Department — Ben and Daniel Bieber. Also present at Wednesday's procession were Bieber's father, Bruce Bieber, and her German shepherd, Louie. Tampa Bay Times

Public Safety News

German Shepherd Rescued After Getting Stuck On Side Of Cliff In Big Tujunga Canyon A family has been reunited with their dog after it got stuck on the side of a cliff in Big Tujunga Canyon this week. According to a tweet posted by the Montrose Search and Rescue Team, a man was out hiking with his dog on Tuesday near the Delta Flats close to Montrose. The dog ended up getting stuck down a cliff overnight. Rescue crews were able to get to the dog - a German Shepherd - and was later reunited with his owner. Photos of the dramatic rescue were posted on Twitter Wednesday. The dog and his owner were not injured and are doing OK. ABC 7

Rubbish Fire Spreads To Strip Mall In Downtown LA Firefighters early Thursday morning made quick work of a rubbish fire which spread to a strip mall in downtown Los Angeles. The fire was first reported a little before 4 a.m. at the two-story building in the 1300 block of South Wall Street. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the blaze started as an outdoor rubbish fire that somehow spread to the strip mall. It took about 80 firefighters just over one hour to bring the blaze under control. The fire was contained to a uniform supply store that occupies a corner unit of the building, LAFD said. The fire damaged the ground floor and mezzanine of the business. The extent of the damage was not confirmed. Crews were expected to remain on scene for several hours to conduct overhaul operations. The exact cause is under investigation. CBS 2

Here's When LA County Will Drop Its Outdoor Mask Requirement Los Angeles County's Public Health Director on Thursday set the criteria the county needs to meet in order to drop its outdoor mask mandate at mega-events and outside on school grounds. Facing questions about when COVID-19 mask-wearing requirements might be dropped, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the county will consider itself out of the current COVID-19 surge when virus-related hospitalizations fall below 2,500 for seven straight days. Once that mark is reached, the county will no longer require masks at outdoor mega-events, such as football games, or in outdoor spaces at schools and child-care facilities. As of Thursday, there are still 3,398 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals. The county's outdoor mask mandate has been under fire this past week after pictures of maskless celebrities and government officials at SoFi Stadium went viral following Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Many people have been calling for Los Angeles County to align with the state's requirements, which states that you don't have to wear masks outdoors. Currently, Los Angeles County still requires masks at outdoor events with more than 500 people. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger wants to end that requirement, and she spoke with us about it on our FOX 11 special report. FOX 11

Local Government News

L.A. Minimum Wage To Rise On July 1, Mayor Garcetti Says The city of Los Angeles will raise its minimum wage beginning July 1, from $15 to $16.04, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday. When the increase formally takes effect, L.A. will again have a higher minimum wage than the state's and one of the most for any city in the U.S. City officials noted the raise is due to the recent increase in inflation, which reached a nearly 40-year high in December after spiking 7% over the previous year, according to the Associated Press. Under L.A. Municipal Code, the city's minimum wage will go up “based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” starting on July 1, 2022, and annually after that, a news release from the mayor's office stated. The L.A. City Council passed an ordinance to raise the hourly wage for the city's lowest-paid workers back in 2015, becoming the nation's first big city to stipulate that the minimum wage hit $15 per hour by 2020. About 600,000 Angelenos will be affected by the change, the release noted. KTLA 5

Councilmen Call For Required Liability Insurance For LA Gun Owners Three Los Angeles City Councilmen introduced a motion Wednesday to explore a potential ordinance to require gun owners in Los Angeles to carry firearm liability insurance. The motion was introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian and Mitch O'Farrell. The ordinance would be modeled after one in San Jose that requires liability insurance through homeowner's or renter's insurance. That ordinance also requires an annual fee that is used for evidence-based initiatives that aim to reduce gun violence. “Not every household has a gun, and while not all communities experience high levels of gun violence, we all bear the economic burden of injuries and deaths caused by firearms,” Koretz said. The councilmen said in the motion that insurance would encourage people who own firearms to take safety courses, make sure firearms are properly stored and secured, install trigger locks and use loaded chamber indicators. The motion highlighted auto insurance's risk-adjusted premiums that reward good driving as an example of how insurance can lead to safer practices.

LA City Council Passes Motion Aimed At Fixing LA's Sidewalk Repair Program The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion Wednesday aimed at improving Los Angeles' system for repairing sidewalks, adopting recommendations from a report by Controller Ron Galperin that found the city's program was broken like many of the sidewalks themselves. The motion — which was introduced by Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin on Dec. 8 — previously passed the Public Works and Personnel, Audits, and Animal Welfare committees. “Everyone who uses our sidewalks in Los Angeles knows there is a lot of work to do before we can say we have the infrastructure our city deserves. We must begin making changes on how things have been done in the past,” Blumenfield said in a statement earlier this month after the Public Works Committee meeting. “You can't fix a problem you can't measure and we can't piecemeal solutions to a problem of this magnitude. We need to build off of what the controller has outlined and start with a thorough audit of every sidewalk in the city, including places where needed sidewalks and curb ramps are missing.”

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: