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 8, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Alleged Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Man In Woodland Hills
A man was killed in a hit-and-run crash, and police were able to locate and arrest a suspect. The crash was reported at 6:03 p.m. Sunday on Ventura Boulevard at Ponce Avenue, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison. The 35-year-old man was walking outside of the crosswalk, Madison said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers were able to locate the address of the registered owner of the vehicle involved in the crash, and a 44-year-old man was taken into custody, the officer said. He could not confirm whether the suspect was the registered owner of the vehicle.  Los Angeles Daily News

Video: Thieves Pull Hair, Rob Girls Walking To School
Two students were assaulted and robbed in the Melrose in the morning as they were walking to school, and the Los Angeles Police Department was looking for help in identifying the assailants. The robbery of the two girls in the 7600 block of Melrose Avenue in Fairfax was captured on camera by a store. The shocking video shows the attackers approach the two Feb. 2 at 7:20 a.m. The robbers grab the girls by their hair in the video, and demand their cellphones and access codes, police said. The assailants hopped into a waiting black sedan with two others inside, police said. NBC 4

Super Bowl Getting A Big Effort From Cops To Feds To Keep It Safe
The Super Bowl requires a super-sized amount of stuff. Most of those things are coming in on trucks and in giant cargo containers — as many as 200 to 350 shipping containers, the kind you might see at local ports, per day, said Carlos Martel, the director of field operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Los Angeles. “Every day from last Sunday to the day of the game,” Martel said. Trucks, each the size of a regular semi, offer a giant X-ray scanner that extends out so three officers can simply drive alongside the cargo and scan for guns and explosives, and even harmful radiation. The scan takes less than two minutes — light-speed compared to agents having to open each container and carefully inspect what's inside. “We're the defensive line at SoFi,” said Jaime Ruiz, another Customs official. In all, hundreds if not thousands of cops of all stripes are on guard throughout Southern California leading up to Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, Feb. 13, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, where the Los Angeles Rams will take on the Cincinnati Bengals — the only place officials want to see any physical attacks. Much of the security effort will be hidden from view, kept secret from the public to ensure effectiveness. But parts of the effort will be out in the open. “We'll have added barriers and vehicle checks, and screening of personnel, in addition to a highly visible presence (of officers),” said Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore about what residents can expect to see around L.A. Live and other parts of the city where there are official National Football League events. The greater police presence is just the most visible result of years-long planning to keep safe the Super Bowl's return to greater Los Angeles, law enforcement officials said. OC Register

Encino Woman Convicted Of COVID-Related Fraud Flees Before Prison Sentence Begins
A third person has fled and is being sought by authorities after being convicted of fraud in a family-based ring in the San Fernando Valley. Tamara Dadyan disappeared from her Encino home one week ago, the same day she was supposed to start serving an 11-year prison sentence, according to the FBI. Dadyan was convicted in December. Ryan Heaton, a special agent with the FBI, said there was “some surprise” when Dadyan did not show up for her sentence. “Other than that, all we can do is attempt to find her,” Heaton said. Authorities aren't sure if she's still in the state, or even in the country. “Certainly having a lot of money at your disposal can make it more difficult for us to locate you,” Heaton said. Dadyan is part of an eight-person fraud ring led by her brother-in-law, Richard Ayvazyan, that stole approximately $18 million in loans for the pandemic emergency by using fake businesses. “That was used to spend on their lifestyle, luxury items, trips and also I think cash withdrawals,” Heaton said. Ayvazyan and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, are believed to have cut off their ankle monitors and run ahead of their sentencing, according to the FBI. KTLA 5

'You Just Show Up': Case Managers Work To Keep Drug Users Healthier, Safer And Free
It was a brisk and gray Friday when Jason Sodenkamp parked his weathered Nissan Altima under a freeway overpass in East Hollywood and headed to meet the man he called Lucifer. Lucifer had been his client for a few years after police officers referred the blue-eyed man with the devilish nickname to a program meant to keep him from heading back to prison. Its name was the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, but Sodenkamp puts it more plainly with new clients: He's going to help them get stuff done that they want to get done. For Lucifer, that was getting an ID, something he hadn't had for nearly two decades. Next he hopes it might be housing. In the meantime, Sodenkamp brings Lucifer clean syringes and boxes of naloxone — medication to reverse an opioid overdose — and asks what else he needs. “He's the only one that gets me positive input,” said Lucifer, who gave only his nickname, holding court outside an encampment draped with tarps. “It's easy to give up out here. It's harder to stick it out.” Under the LEAD program, which was first launched in Seattle and has now been operating five years in Los Angeles, case managers meet regularly with people who have repeatedly tangled with the criminal justice system due to minor drug offenses or sex work — or are at risk of doing so — and try to keep them healthier, safer and free. Yahoo! News

Prius Slams Into Police Car During South LA Chase
A pursuit came to an end early Tuesday morning when a Toyota Prius careened into a Los Angeles police patrol vehicle in South L.A. The crash occurred sometime before 4 a.m. in the area of Vermont Avenue and 78th Street. The driver, who was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, was taken into custody. It's unclear if he was armed. There was no word on whether any officers were hurt. According to police, the pursuit began in the area of Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Street a little before 3 a.m. It eventually made its way onto the 101 and 10 freeways. The exact circumstances that sparked the pursuit were unclear. CBS 2

Mayor Garcetti's Former Top Spokeswoman Wants Him Charged With Perjury
Mayor Eric Garcetti's onetime chief spokeswoman has filed a complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors, demanding that he be prosecuted for perjury for repeatedly denying that he knew about another former aide's alleged sexual misconduct. A nonprofit law firm sent a 31-page letter on behalf of Naomi Seligman to the U.S. Department of Justice, the California attorney general's office and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón last week, accusing Garcetti of lying and conspiring with top staffers to cover up multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Rick Jacobs, the mayor's former deputy chief of staff. Seligman said she hopes felony charges will be filed against the mayor for allegedly lying under oath, in a legal deposition and in testimony to a U.S. Senate committee. She said she hopes that the letter also will have a political impact — causing the U.S. Senate to block Garcetti's confirmation as U.S. ambassador to India. The allegations were forwarded to more than half the members of the Senate, said Seligman's lawyers, who also filed the complaints with the California State Personnel Board, the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and the California State Auditor's Office, under provisions of the state's whistleblower protection law. Yahoo! News

Venice Residents Afraid Fires At Homeless Encampment Create Unsafe Area
Despite some recent progress, Venice Beach residents have concerns about the safety of the area around the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Last January, a homeless encampment caught fire, and the blaze spread to a nearby building. More recently, trash cans and a park bench near the boardwalk have also been set ablaze, prompting fears that the next fire could spread and damage the nearby area. Over the summer, more than 200 campers were moved out, but there are still about 70 people living on the boardwalk, said Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association. “They never finished the job. They never got the last 70. They never got them either in psychiatric care or the meds, the rehab, the housing, whatever it is they still need, they just gave up and declared victory, and it wasn't over,” Ryavec said. KTLA 5

Owner Of West L.A. Pharmacy Sentenced To Prison For Health Care Fraud
A West Los Angeles pharmacy owner was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for running a scheme in which millions of dollars in reimbursements for compounded drugs were generated through illegal kickbacks and fraudulent co-payments. Navid Vahedi, 42, of Brentwood, pleaded guilty a year ago to one federal count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and payment of illegal remunerations, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He also entered a guilty plea to the felony offense on behalf of his business. On Jan. 18, U.S. District Judge Christine Snyder sentenced Fusion Rx Compounding Pharmacy to five years of probation. She has ordered Vahedi and his company to jointly pay $4.4 million in restitution. The pharmacy was a provider of compounded drugs, which are tailor-made products that doctors may prescribe when the FDA-approved alternative does not meet the health needs of a patient.

Man Found Shot To Death In Lynwood Area; Investigation Underway
A man was found shot to death in the Lynwood area Monday. The body was discovered about 10 a.m. near Imperial Highway east of the Long Beach (710) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Information on the man's identity was not immediately available. No arrests were reported. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

2 Juveniles Arrested And Charged In Shooting At Del Amo Mall That Injured 3
Two juveniles have been arrested and charged in connection with the Dec. 14 shooting at Del Amo Mall in Torrance that left three people injured. The two suspects, whose names and ages were not released because they are minors, were arrested Thursday and charged with four counts of attempted murder and two counts of armed robbery for each suspect. The juvenile suspects will remain in custody pending the preliminary hearing. The shooting was reported Dec. 14 around 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the mall near BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. Torrance Police Department officers who were dispatched to the scene didn't locate any victims, but found several shell casings in the area, according to a department spokesperson. Soon after officers were in the area of the shooting, they received a report about a carjacking/robbery near the Dave & Busters, which is at the south end of the mall. Officers discovered that three to four suspects approached the three victims, opened fire and fled southbound across Carson Street to the mall's Dave & Buster's where they carjacked a Chevrolet SUV and fled. The victim of the carjacking was not injured. FOX 11

Torrance Nun Sentenced To Year In Federal Prison For Embezzling $835K From Catholic School
A Torrance nun will be spending the next 12 months behind bars. In July 2021, Mary Margaret Kreuper, who took a vow of poverty, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Kreuper was accused of and later sentenced for embezzling money from St. James Catholic School for personal expenses, including gambling trips to Las Vegas. Kreuper worked as the school's principal and committed the crimes over a ten-year period through September 2018, officials said. The 80-year-old worked at the school for 28 years and was responsible for the school's charitable donations, tuition and fees, controlled accounts at a credit union, which included a savings account, as well as one created to pay the living expenses of the nuns who worked at the school. Court documents reveal Kreuper diverted the school funds into personal accounts. FOX 11

San Diego Prosecutors Seek To Try Teen As Adult In Fatal Drive-By Shooting Of 14-Year-Old Boy
The 17-year-old teen suspected of shooting and killing a 14-year-old boy in southeastern San Diego last week pleaded not guilty to murder charges and gang allegations in Juvenile Court on Monday. The victim, Erick Balanzar Loeza, was walking home from school Jan. 31 when he was shot in his groin. He died later that day. Police said the shot was fired from a moving vehicle. Five young people have been arrested in connection with the death, including the 17-year-old who made his first court appearance in the case Monday. Police and prosecutors say he is suspected of firing the weapon that killed Erick. Although officials have not disclosed a motive for the shooting, the teen has been accused of committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang, court documents show. The San Diego County district attorney's office said Monday that it is requesting that the 17-year-old be charged as an adult. He will remain at Juvenile Hall while the case continues. Three of the other suspects — Ethan Peaslee-Guerrero, 19, Bryan Escobedo, 18, and Omar Morales, 18 — have pleaded not guilty in Superior Court to murder charges and gang allegations. Los Angeles Times

7th NYC Cop Shot This Year Leaves Hospital Hours After He's Hit By Stray Bullet Off Duty
An off-duty NYPD officer struck in the foot outside a Harlem NYCHA development was released from the hospital early Sunday, just hours after he was wounded by the stray bullet, police said. The cop — identified by police sources as Robert Manley, a 15-year veteran assigned to a public housing patrol unit in the Bronx — is the seventh NYPD officer shot this year. Manley was leaving the Manhattanville Houses' community center on Broadway near W. 130th St. when he came across two men armed with a gun about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. The officer was at the community center for a memorial for a beloved community member. One of the men opened fire, and Manley dived for cover, NYPD Housing Bureau Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said. The shooter and accomplice, who police sources said were wearing ski masks, ran off and have not been caught. There was a dispute in the Manhattanville Houses' community center two hours earlier and police believe the shooting is connected to that incident. Manley at first didn't realize he'd been shot. He was describing what he saw to officers responding to the scene when he started feeling pain in his left foot, Maddrey said. New York Daily News

Maryland Officer Saves Student From Being Hit By Car
A Maryland police officer is being credited with saving a middle school student from being hit by a car, officials say. Cpl. Annette Goodyear of the North East Police Department was directing traffic on Friday at a crosswalk when the North East Middle School student entered the intersection. The officer then realized that an approaching car was not going to be able to stop in time and reacted quickly by pushing the student out of the way. The officer herself was struck by the car. The incident was caught on camera,  WUSA  reported. After the officer was struck, the student and the driver were seen attending to her. Cecil County Executive Danielle Hernberger shared the video on her Facebook page. Hernberger said she has spoken with the town's mayor and they are working on commendations for Goodyear. Cpl. John Fakner of the North East Police Department said Goodyear was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and was later released. The driver of the car was cited for several traffic violations including negligent driving, the Cecil County Sheriff's Office said. Associated Press

Watch: Colorado Deputy Rescues Dog From Smoking Car
An animal-loving deputy from Colorado has been hailed a hero for saving the life of a four-legged citizen last week. On Thursday, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office shared dashcam and bodycam video of the frantic rescue. In the video, Deputy Michael Gregorek is called to a vehicle fire where he finds an SUV spewing smoke. As Gregorek approaches, a man yells, “There's a dog in the car, there's a dog in the car.” Gregorek uses his baton to smash the car's rear window and lifts a large dog out of from the trunk. Gregorek then runs the dog over to a snowbank to cool the pooch down. The dog, named Hank, is expected to be OK. Great work, officer! PoliceOne

Public Safety News

California Will End Mask Mandate On Feb. 15, LA County Will Not Align With State's Changes
California will end its statewide indoor mask mandate on Feb. 15, the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday. According to the governor's office, unvaccinated individuals will still be required to wear masks in indoor public settings. Local governments can continue their own indoor masking requirements and last week Los Angeles County's health officials said they intend to keep theirs in place beyond the state deadline. The state will also lift its requirement for guests to test negative for the virus prior to visiting nursing homes and hospitals, effective immediately. Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration brought back the masking mandate in mid-December as the omicron variant gained momentum, and last month extended it through Feb. 15. State health officials said Monday the mandate will end that day. State officials also announced that Indoor "mega events" with more than 1,000 people will have to require vaccinations or negative tests for those attending and those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear masks. For outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, there is no vaccination requirement but masks or negative tests are recommended. FOX 11

Coronavirus: L.A. County Reported 4,360 New Cases And 29 New Deaths, Feb. 7
Los Angeles County public health officials reported 4,360 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 2,7131,409, as of Monday, Feb. 7. The total number of cases represents 27% of Los Angeles County's population. Officials reported 29 more deaths linked to the coronavirus since Sunday, for a total of 29,457 deaths since tracking began. The total number of deaths represents 0.29% of Los Angeles County's population. There were 165 fewer hospitalizations reported since Monday, bringing the total count of people hospitalized with coronavirus to 3,773. According to the California Department of Public Health's vaccines dashboard, 73% of Los Angeles County is fully vaccinated and more than 18,115,151 vaccine doses have been administered.  Los Angeles Daily News

Fire At Historic Watts Church Under Investigation
Los Angeles fire investigators are trying to determine what sparked a blaze at a historic Watts church over the weekend that charred the roof and interior of the nearly 100-year-old sanctuary. The fire at St. John's United Methodist Church in the 1700 block of Santa Ana Boulevard started about 11:20 a.m. Saturday in vegetation outside the church before spreading inside the two-story house of worship, according to preliminary information from the Los Angeles Fire Department. Roughly 80 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly an hour before finally extinguishing the fire, according to LAFD. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Arson investigators responded to the scene, as is protocol for fires at houses of worship, said LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange. No one was reportedly inside the 98-year-old church when the fire started and spread into the sanctuary, according to KCBS-TV. Video from the TV station showed the church's charred interior, roof and a blackened steeple. Los Angeles Times

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: