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 16, 2022
Law Enforcement News

LA's Rising Crime Has Angelenos On Edge
Los Angeles residents have the bleakest view of any region in California about rising crime rates. A record 34% of Californians see violence and street crime in their local community as a “big problem” -- up 10 percentage points from a year ago, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. The survey found that 41% of respondents in LA view crime as a major worry, the highest in any region of the state. The city saw an almost 12% increase in homicides in 2021, while property infractions and overall violent crime both jumped about 4%. In 2022, the city had 39 homicides through Feb. 5, compared with 31 in the same period of 2020, according to Los Angeles Police Department  figures . Candidates in LA's mayoral election this year, including billionaire real estate investor Rick Caruso and Congresswoman Karen Bass, have cited crime as a key priority. Across the state, African-Americans are the most likely among ethnic groups -- at 45% -- to say that street crime is a big issue where they live, according to the survey. Bloomberg

Poll: California voters want to reinstate tougher penalties for some crimes, change Prop. 47
Amid a recent uptick in some criminal activity, the majority of California voters in a new statewide poll reported concern over state crime rates and said they would support reinstating penalties for certain thefts that a 2014 ballot measure reduced. Seventy-eight percent of voters surveyed in a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times said that crime has risen statewide over the last year, and 65% said it has increased locally. Most also said they would support changes to Proposition 47, which reduced some theft and drug felonies to misdemeanors as a way to reduce incarceration rates and save the state money. Los Angeles Times

LAPD, Sheriff's Officials Issue Warning After Recent Assaults In LA And West Hollywood
A pair of frightening assaults involving a homeless man now has Los Angeles police and L.A. County sheriff's investigators asking people to be on alert. The first incident happened around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of North Vista Street in Los Angeles, near Melrose Avenue. Police say that a woman was pushed into a garage, but was able to get away. LAPD said the suspect intended to sexually assault her. About 15 to 20 minutes later, a similar incident happened in the 7600 block of Hampton Avenue in the city of West Hollywood. A woman was pushed into her apartment. In that case, the woman screamed and the man ran off, officials said. The first assault was captured on surveillance camera, authorities said. It shows a woman and a man walking into the driveway of a home, then disappearing from the camera's view. Moments later, the woman is seen running away, back to the street. The suspect later appears in the frame. Detectives describe the transient as a man in his early 30s who was wearing dark clothing at the time and carrying a bag. No arrest has been made. The investigation is ongoing. ABC 7

LAPD Searching For Suspects In Pair Of Follow-Home Robberies; Reward Offered
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's help in finding two men suspected in a pair of follow-home robberies late last year. Investigators believe three men are responsible for the incidents, which occurred Dec. 11 in downtown Los Angeles and Calabasas, police said Tuesday night. One of the suspects was arrested last month. The first robbery occurred around 8 p.m. in a parking structure in the 1200 block of South Flower Street near Arena, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Surveillance cameras showed a black Volkswagen Tiguan following two people who exited a vehicle and walked to an elevator lobby, police said. Two suspects armed with handguns confronted the victims as they waited for an elevator, taking jewelry, keys and a phone, police said. The suspects fled the elevator lobby after the robbery, police said. One went back to the Tiguan and got in the SUV's front passenger seat while the other used one of the victims' keys to enter their vehicle. Suspects left the structure in the Tiguan and the victims' vehicle, which was recovered shortly after along with a victim's phone, police said. Los Angeles Times

179 Prostitution-Related Arrests Made Leading Up To Super Bowl LVI, LAPD Chief Says
Law enforcement arrested 179 people for allegedly soliciting, facilitating and seeking sex services in the Los Angeles area during the 10 days leading up to the Super Bowl, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission Tuesday. Eighty-nine people were arrested for alleged street prostitution and 70 were arrested at hotels and other locations where they had been allegedly been called for sex services, Moore said. An additional 14 people were arrested for allegedly facilitating or orchestrating "sex trafficking" and six people were arrested for attempting to buy sex services, according to Moore. Four people who were identified as being victims of sex trafficking were put in contact with organizations that provide shelter and services to help them transition out of sex trafficking, the police chief said. He told the Police Commission Tuesday that the Los Angeles Police Department worked with the sheriff's department and the Department of Homeland Security on focused enforcement against human trafficking, which he said mega events like the Super Bowl can attract. Law enforcement, LAX, advocacy groups and the California Attorney General worked to spread awareness about sex trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl, including through the "It's A Penalty" campaign, which began in 2014 to harness the attention around sports to spread awareness about human trafficking. FOX 11

DA Won't File Felony Case Against Adrian Peterson
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has opted not to file a felony case against former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson in connection with an alleged incident of domestic violence, instead referring the matter to the City Attorney's Office Tuesday to determine if a misdemeanor case is warranted. “It was referred to our office today and we will review the case,” Rob Wilcox of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office said. Peterson was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after an alleged domestic violence incident on board a jet. The incident prompted a departing flight to return to LAX, according to ABC7. At about 8:30 a.m., Los Angeles Airport police responded to the alleged verbal and physical altercation between a man and a woman, according to a statement released by the airport police. Peterson, 36, was taken into custody and booked at the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division for alleged corporal injury of a spouse. He posted $50,000 bond and was released shortly before 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to jail records.

2 Men, Teen Arrested For Series Of SoCal Robberies: Beverly Hills PD
Two men and a 15-year-old boy have been arrested in connection with a series of armed robberies in Beverly Hills and throughout Southern California, officials said Tuesday. Authorities are still seeking four men in the ongoing investigation. Last week, Beverly Hills detectives and SWAT officers served warrants in Hemet, Banning and Winchester with assistance from several area agencies. “Several pieces of evidence connecting the suspects to the crimes were collected during the search of their homes, including a semi-automatic handgun, which had been illegally converted to full-automatic,” Beverly Hills police said in a news release. Jeremy Hays and Ronald Christopher Mendez-Cantu, Jr., both 19 of Hemet, and the unidentified teen from Banning were arrested. Their bail was set at $100,000 each. Arrest warrants are out for four additional men tied to the investigation. They were identified as: Darrell Skakhan Hollawayne, Jr. 21, of Hemet, Desmond Jay Hines, 20, of Winchester, Mahmoud Fathi Salah, 19 of Hemet, and Dmari Josiah Beed, 20, of Murrieta. The outstanding men were described as armed and dangerous. Police did not release any additional details about the incidents involving the suspects. KTLA 5

Aspiring Actor Gets 20 Years For $650M Netflix And HBO Deal Scam
An aspiring actor was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Monday for running a massive Ponzi scheme that raised at least $650 million from investors in phony Hollywood film licensing deals. Zachary Horwitz, 35, of Los Angeles, also was ordered to repay more than $230.3 million. Prosecutors alleged that from 2014 to 2019, Horwitz secured hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for his film company, 1inMM Capital LLC, by falsely claiming the money would be used to buy distribution rights to movies that would then be licensed for distribution to streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO. Instead, Horwitz used some of the money to repay earlier investors in a classic Ponzi scheme and to support a lifestyle that included buying a $6 million home, prosecutors said. More than 200 investors, including three of Horwitz's closest college friends and their family members, lost about $230 million, authorities said. Horwitz had appeared in a number of movies, usually in small roles, under the name Zach Avery. NBC 4

Nearly 500 Arrested In Statewide Human Trafficking Operation
Authorities on Tuesday announced the results of a statewide crackdown on human trafficking that resulted in nearly 500 arrests and more than 80 sex workers being helped. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva detailed the results of the weeklong campaign, dubbed Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, which involved dozens of agencies around California. Villanueva said 34 people suspected of trafficking or exploiting sex workers were arrested, along with 201 people who were allegedly caught trying to buy sex. He did not account for the remaining arrests. About six dozen adults and eight minors were “rescued,” the sheriff said. “All across the state, law enforcement agencies joined us to send a message to pimps, exploiters and buyers that it is unacceptable to buy another human being for sexual purposes,” Villanueva said. In Pittsburg, a suburb in Contra Costa County, authorities caught a man who was allegedly running a prostitution ring nationwide. A search warrant turned up two handguns, an AR-15, a shotgun, body armor and 100 rounds of ammunition, Villanueva said. In Costa Mesa, he said, officers scheduled a date online with a woman. Police conducted a traffic stop of the man who had been driving her, during which they found an unregistered loaded handgun. Los Angeles Times

California Deputy, 36, Dies After Medical Emergency During Traffic Stop
An Alameda County Sheriff's deputy died after an on-duty medical episode during a weekend traffic-stop arrest, authorities said. In a statement Monday, a sheriff's spokesman said Deputy Aubrey Phillips, a five-year veteran working as a midnight-shift patrol officer in Dublin, was carrying out a traffic stop on a driver just after 1:45 a.m. Saturday. During the arrest, another officer noticed Phillips suffering from what the statement called "a severe and acute medical emergency" and provided immediate care while calling for paramedics, who soon arrived and took her to Stanford ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton. Despite medical staff's efforts, Phillips was later pronounced dead. She was 36. "This tragic event has touched each member of this agency. Aubrey's short life will live on even after her passing," Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern said, noting Phillips was a registered organ donor. "Aubrey will continue to serve her community by giving the gift of life to others in need. She was truly a remarkable person and served this agency and Alameda County with dignity and honor." Phillips is survived by her husband, a fellow deputy, and three young children, as well as her father, a retired deputy. The sheriff's office, which is still mourning last month's loss of sheriff's deputy recruit David Nguyen in a fatal shooting near the Bay Bridge toll plaza. said it would share funeral service information at a later date. East Bay Times

11 Stabbed, Suspect Arrested, In New Mexico Stabbing Spree By BMX Bike Rider
Police in Albuquerque arrested a man suspected of stabbing 11 people as he rode a bicycle around the city over the weekend, leaving two victims critically injured, authorities said. The suspect was identified as Tobias Gutierrez, a 42-year-old man with a criminal history that includes federal felony offenses that range from burglary to battery and possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, police in New Mexico's largest city said in a statement Monday. The stabbings appeared to have been committed at random within hours along Central Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares. One of the crime scenes included a homeless encampment and another was near a smoke shop where the suspect asked a victim for money and yelled obscenities before swinging a knife, according to a criminal complaint. "There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason" to the attacks, said police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos. There was no immediate information on whether Gutierrez had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. New Mexico court records show Gutierrez had been charged over the years with drug possession and driving while intoxicated. Associated Press

2 Deputies Wounded, Suspect Dead After Shootout In Texas
Two Texas sheriff deputies were shot and wounded while exchanging gunfire with a suspect who died at the scene, authorities said. The shootout happened Tuesday night in Katy, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Houston. Both officers were hospitalized with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter. According to Gonzalez, the deputies responded after receiving reports of shots being fired. When deputies arrived, Gonzalez said, the suspect shot at the deputies and the deputies returned fire. The deputies were hit and the suspect was declared dead at the scene. Chief Deputy Edison Toquica said during a news conference Tuesday night that the original call for service, by an occupant of the home, was at 8 p.m. and was regarding a discharge of firearms inside the home. Toquica said one of the deputies was struck in the right leg. The other deputy was struck in the leg and also grazed in the head and left ear. “We're blessed that both of them are in stable condition,” Toquica said. He did not identify the deputies, but said they were 27 and 28 years old and that one had been on the force for one year and the other for two.  Associated Press

Video: Florida Police Officer Rescues 3 Swimmers Caught In Deadly Rip Current
Fort Lauderdale Police Officer John Rose was credited with rescuing three swimmers caught in a rip current earlier this month. Despite his efforts, one of the swimmers sadly died. “The ocean was very choppy, very rough that day,” Rose recalled while speaking with 7News. Urgent bodycam video from a police boat shows Rose helping the swimmers get on board. “Come on, just push on the door, push on the door. Can you get in? Come on, guys,” Rose told the swimmers. One of the swimmers was in serious condition and needed to be pulled onto the boat, Rose said. Just then a Broward County Sheriff's boat arrived with a deputy who immediately began CPR. Realizing the situation was critical, Rose anchored his boat in a sandbar to allow lifeguards and other first responders to help. “What I decided to do was beach the boat, because fire rescue was already right here in front of me, and for me to run all the way inland would have taken another 10 minutes,” he said. One swimmer ultimately died, and the other two have since been released from the hospital, according to 7News.  PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Firefighters Discover Marijuana Grow Operation In Burned Office Building
The Los Angeles Fire Department extinguished a fire in an office building before discovering a marijuana grow operation inside. The fire started inside of a 300-foot-by-50-foot two-story building off 20179 Sherman Way in Winnetka. Crews responded to the scene at about 5:55 p.m. According to LAFD, 33 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire which had spread to both floors of the building in 28 minutes. LAFD reported no injuries were sustained during the fire. Authorities said that there was “clear evidence” that four conjoined units on the second floor was a marijuana grow operation. They are still unsure how the fire started and the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the legality of the grow operation.  CBS 2

L.A. County Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandate
As the number of hospitalized coronavirus-positive patients continues to fall, Los Angeles County relaxed its outdoor masking rules Wednesday. The revised guidance will allow people to go without face coverings outdoors at K-12 (including transitional kindergarten) schools and child-care facilities, and will apply to exterior areas of “mega” events, such as those at the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, SoFi Stadium and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mask rules at these settings were lifted at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Masks continue to be required by the county in indoor public spaces. “With significant improvement in community transmission rates, we're looking forward to realigning our safety measures while continuing as always to ensure protections for our workers and our most vulnerable residents,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. County health officials had said they would drop outdoor masking requirements once coronavirus-positive hospitalizations dropped below 2,500 for seven consecutive days. The county dipped below that threshold last Wednesday, and the hospital census has continued to tumble since. Los Angeles Times

California Ends Mask Mandate, But Not All Counties Are Ditching Masks
California has moved on from its indoor mask mandate. This comes as California Governor Gavin Newsom's office announced earlier in February that the state's indoor mask mandate will expire after Tuesday, February 15. But before you start to consider ditching the masks, a major caveat Californians must take into account is that local governments can continue to continue their own version of the indoor mask mandates. Here are notable counties that announced it will  not  align with the state's decision to ditch the indoor mask mandate: Los Angeles County and Santa Clara County. As for Southern California counties, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties are aligning with the state's decision to part with the indoor mask mandate starting Wednesday, February, 16. In Los Angeles County, all indoor public settings are still required to have everyone mask up, regardless of their vaccination status. Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer explained the county's indoor masking rule will remain in place until the county's virus-transmission rate falls to the "moderate" level, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and stays there for two weeks. Ferrer said on Tuesday that the county's rate is declining, and at the current pace, it should reach the "moderate" level by March 16, meaning the indoor mask requirement could be lifted by March 30. FOX 11

Local Government News

Former L.A. Councilman Herb Wesson Pushed As Fill-In For Suspended Mark Ridley-Thomas Former
Los Angeles Councilman Herb Wesson stepped away from public life in 2020, forced out of office by term limits and soundly defeated in his bid for county supervisor. But with Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the man who succeeded him, still suspended and continuing to fight corruption charges, Wesson could soon be poised for a comeback. In recent days, several community groups have pressed the council to make Wesson, who wielded enormous power during his eight years as council president, a temporary voting member representing Ridley-Thomas' 10th Council District, which stretches from Koreatown to the Crenshaw Corridor in South L.A. The council voted to suspend Ridley-Thomas in October, a week after he was indicted on bribery and other charges in a case involving county contracts. His district has had a nonvoting caretaker since November, leading many residents to say they have been disenfranchised. Council President Nury Martinez declined to say whether she is considering Wesson. But she has promised to appoint a voting representative for the 10th District while Ridley-Thomas receives “the space to be cleared of the charges.” “Through no fault of their own, it's been four months since CD10 residents have had voting representation in the council chambers,” Martinez said in a statement. “We have to do what's right for them. They need a voice — their voice — around this horseshoe. And until the legal matters are resolved concerning Mr. Ridley-Thomas, that's what I intend to give them.” Los Angeles Times

LA City Council Committee Advances Plan To Decrease Speeds On City Streets
The Los Angeles City Council's Transportation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 15, advanced a proposal from the Department of Transportation to reduce speeds by 5 mph on more than 177 miles of city streets. “I am thrilled to be able to restore saner speed limits to 177 miles of city streets,” said Councilman Mike Bonin, who chairs the City Council Transportation Committee. The change, which is aimed at preventing deadly accidents, was made possible following the passage of Assembly Bill 43, which took effect this year, giving cities more control over their speed limits. It was introduced by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale. “Thanks to the new law by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, our neighborhoods will no longer be subject to speed creep inflicted by the most dangerous drivers,” Bonin said. Before the new law went into effect, LADOT was required to increase speeds on 200 miles of the city's streets. According to the department, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle going 20 mph has a 90% change of surviving, but the chance shrinks to only 10% if a vehicle is going 40 mph. The department hopes that lowering speeds will decrease the severity of injuries, as well as give drivers more time to react to a potential collision. Los Angeles Daily News

LA City Council Approves Sweeping Changes To City's Taxi Permitting System
The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved recommendations from the Department of Transportation to update the city's taxi permitting system for the first time since the 1990s. While Los Angeles currently operates under a franchise system, with agreements to nine taxi companies to operate cabs, the changes approved Tuesday switch the system to an open market, allowing anyone with a license, insurance, training, security checks and vehicle inspection to offer taxi service. “Taxis are essential in Los Angeles. They ensure that people have a safe and reliable option to get around and can be a pathway for drivers to earn a decent, living wage,” said LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. “The critical reforms approved today bring us into the 21st century, remove outdated regulations and modernize elements to make taxis competitive in a constantly evolving transportation market.”

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: