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 23, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Prosecutors' Association Overwhelmingly Backs Recall Of LA County District Attorney Gascón
Members of the association representing Los Angeles County prosecutors voted overwhelmingly in support of an effort to recall their boss, District Attorney George Gascón, the organization announced Tuesday. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining group for more than 800 deputy district attorneys in the county, had previously invited Gascón to speak to the organization as it considered whether to back the recall, but he declined. The ADDA contends that Gascón has ``refused'' to speak with his prosecutors since taking office to explain policies that have sparked the recall drive. Roughly 83% of ADDA members took part in the vote, with 97.9% voting in support of the recall. "This vote is by those who are intimately familiar with how Mr. Gascón's policies actually play out on a day-to-day basis,'' ADDA President Michele Hanisee said in a statement announcing the vote. ``We believe the vote of our members will resonate with the voters of Los Angeles as they decide whether to recall Gascón from office and restore public safety as the priority of the District Attorney's Office.'' A new effort to oust Gascón from office began in December, just months after a similar recall campaign fell short. Recall organizers must collect 566,857 signatures from registered voters in Los Angeles County by July 6 to force a recall vote. The city councils of more than 30 cities in the county have issued "no confidence'' votes involving Gascón. NBC 4

Gascón Knew About Trans Child Molester Hannah Tubbs Jail Calls Before Sentencing, Deputy DA Says
Emails purported to show Los Angeles prosecutors discussing the case of transgender child molester Hannah Tubbs last month contradict District Attorney George Gascón's claim he wasn't aware of them until after sentencing, according to a deputy district attorney who said he's seen them. Gascón said in a statement Sunday that he had not been aware of sickening recordings, in which Tubbs gloated about a lenient plea deal and disparaged the child victim in vulgar terms. He also admitted that Tubbs went on after the 2014 attack to commit other offenses – including one in which DNA evidence linked her to the Denny's assault. "If we knew about her disregard for the harm she caused we would have handled this case differently," Gascón said. Jon Hatami, a Los Angeles deputy district attorney and veteran prosecutor of child abuse crimes, disputed his boss's timeline of events on "America Reports" Tuesday afternoon. Alex Bastian, Gascón's special adviser, said on "America's Newsroom" earlier in the day that "the content of these jail calls was something that we did not know about" until Fox News' Bill Melugin asked for comment on the alarming statements Tubbs made in calls with her father between November and January. "That statement that Alex Bastian made is completely untrue," Hatami said. "And it is a slap in the face to the victim in this case." He pointed to a Los Angeles Times report in which Bastian went on the record to state that senior aides in Gascón's office knew about the calls. Hatami said that he has seen emails that show discussion of the calls circulated at the highest levels of Gascón's office – and that they should be available under California's open records laws. FOX 11

Ex-Convict Charged With Stolen Amazon Truck Crash That Left One Dead
An ex-convict was charged Tuesday with vehicular manslaughter and other counts stemming from a crash in which a street vendor was killed when he was struck by a stolen Amazon delivery truck in South Los Angeles. Cristian Jovany Ramos Sanchez allegedly stole the unsecured truck as an Amazon driver was making a delivery in the 4100 block of Woodlawn Avenue, one block east of Main Street, about 2 p.m. last Thursday. “Around 2:10 p.m., Sanchez was driving the stolen truck south on Main Street, passing 47th Place, when he became involved in a crash,” police said. “Sanchez crashed into a parked vehicle which pushed that vehicle south into additional parked vehicles, causing an accordion-style crash,” police said. “The truck drove up onto the sidewalk, struck three male … pedestrians, and came to rest after colliding into a building.” Jose Rangel, 67, died at the scene. Two other pedestrians suffered minor injuries and refused medical treatment, police said. “Sanchez, who had fled on foot, was followed by community members who called 911,” police said. “A Los Angeles Police Department airship responded and located Sanchez in the area of 51st Street and Broadway. Patrol officers were directed to Sanchez, and he was taken into custody.”

'General Hospital' Actress Lindsey Pearlman's Cause Of Death Remains A Mystery
An autopsy has been conducted on the body of actress Lindsey Pearlman, and her cause of death has been listed as "deferred, pending additional investigation," authorities said Tuesday. The body of the 43-year-old actress, whose credits included roles on "General Hospital," "Empire," and "Chicago Justice," was found by Los Angeles police on Friday in a vehicle near Runyon Canyon Park. Pearlman had last been seen at about noon on Feb. 13 in the 1600 block of North Mariposa Avenue in East Hollywood and had been reported missing. Police Friday had asked for the public's help in finding Pearlman before her body was identified. "Lindsey Pearlman was found in vehicle and pronounced dead on 2/18/2022 at 08:35 hours in the 7500 block of Franklin Avenue in Hollywood," Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office, told City News Service on Tuesday. "She was examined by a physician and a cause of death was deferred," Ardalani said. "Deferred means that after an autopsy, a cause of death has not been determined and the medical examiner is requesting more investigation into the death, including additional studies. Once the tests/studies come back, the doctor evaluates the case again and makes the cause of death determination." FOX 11

Homeless Man Charged For Kidnapping With Intent To Rape In Weho, LA Attacks
The Los Angeles Police Department has identified the man accused of assaulting two women in broad daylight near West Hollywood earlier this month. Gabriel Hodges, 27, was taken into custody on Feb. 17. Both attacks happened within an hour of each other on Feb. 15, according to LAPD. The first happened around 1 p.m. on the 800 block of N. Vista Street. Security cameras show the man with his arm around a woman's neck. He leads her onto a property and into an open garage. Seconds later, she was able to escape and run for help. Then half an hour later, police say Hodges tried to assault another woman on Hampton Ave, less than a mile away in West Hollywood. Officials say he pushed the woman into her apartment. She screamed for help then Hodges fled the area. According to LAPD, Hodges was arrested two days later, when a library employee recognized him and called police. On Tuesday, Hodges was charged with kidnappings to commit another crime, assault with intent to commit felony, intent to rape and assault to commit a felony during the commission of a first-degree felony, according to the Superior Court. Hodges is currently being held on $1 million bail. FOX 11

Over 100 Guns Seized In Los Angeles Area From People Barred From Owning Firearms During 5-Day Sweep
State and regional law enforcement seized over 100 guns from people legally barred from owning them during a five-day sweep that spanned 51 cities in the greater Los Angeles area, officials announced Tuesday, Feb. 22. Authorities checked on a total of 439 people listed in California's Armed and Prohibited Persons System during the joint operation, State Attorney General Rob Bonta said during a news conference in Downtown LA Tuesday. A total of 114 guns and 49,148 rounds of ammunition were seized. “When we confiscate an illegal firearm, we aren't just taking a dangerous weapon off the streets in the wrong hands,” Bonta said. “We are preventing the next mass shooting, the next domestic disturbance, the next horrific act of gun violence.” Last year, 278 people were killed and 1,499 were wounded by gunfire in Los Angeles alone. The LAPD wound up seizing 30 percent more guns that year than they did in 2020. Combined efforts over the past several days from the California Department of Justice, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as well as the Azusa, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Pomona police departments resulted in 13 arrests. Eight ghost guns and 17 assault weapons were among the weapons that were seized. The remainder were 55 handguns, 19 rifles and 15 shotguns. In addition, 87 high-capacity magazines, which are illegal to own in California, were also collected. Los Angeles Daily News

Man Arrested For Burglary At Historic Sowden House In Los Feliz
After an hours-long search, the Los Angeles Police Department arrested a man for burglary at the iconic Sowden House in Los Feliz on Monday. Built in the 1920s by Lloyd Wright, son of Franklin Lloyd Wright, the Sowden House attracts lovers of both architectural design and true crime. The home is rumored to be the site of one of the city's most notorious, and grisly murders. Owned by an L.A. doctor in the 1940s, his son later claimed the physician had killed a young woman named Elizabeth Short there in 1947. The case became known as The Black Dahlia murder, and remains unsolved to this day. ABC 7

Man, 55, Reported Missing In Winnetka Area
Police Tuesday sought the public's help to locate a 55-year-old man they say suffers from dementia who was last seen in Winnetka. Lance Anderson was last seen on Sunday in the area of 20702 Kittridge St., near Los Angeles Pierce College, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Anderson is white, 5-feet-5 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark green jacket, black pants, black shoes and a brown hat. Anyone with information on Anderson's whereabouts was asked to contact the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be directed to 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at .

‘Family Reunion' Actress Jaida Benjamin Found Safe In Studio City
A 27-year-old actress who went missing over the weekend was found safe early Tuesday morning. Los Angeles police confirmed that Jaida Benjamin was located in Studio City, in the area of Ventura Boulevard and Colfax Avenue, at around 2:30 a.m. It's unclear how she was found or why she initially disappeared. Benjamin had last been seen on Saturday, a few blocks away from where she was found, at Tujunga Avenue and Ventura Boulevard. Benjamin's television credits include “Family Reunion,” “Insecure” and “Criminal Minds.” CBS 2

DNA Leads To Murder Conviction In 1980 Killing Of 79-Year-Old Anaheim Woman
Viola Hagenkord was 79 and lived alone in her small Anaheim apartment. She was known to prop open her front door with a Campbell's soup can in the evenings, a habit that made some neighbors worry for her. On Feb. 18, 1980, she was found slain in her bed, asphyxiated with a gag made from a torn pillowcase. She had been raped. In one of Anaheim's oldest cold-case murder prosecutions, an Orange County Superior Court jury on Tuesday convicted a former long-haul trucker, Andre Lepere, of her murder. Lepere, 64, had been living in retirement in Alamogordo, N.M., when he was arrested last year, linked to the crime by evolving DNA technology. After a two-week trial, the jury began deliberations Friday and resumed Tuesday morning, announcing midmorning it had reached a verdict. Convicted of murder with the special circumstance of rape, Lepere faces an automatic life term when he is sentenced May 13 by Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett. At the time of the attack, Lepere was 22, a heavy beer drinker who had lasted only a year in the Army before misbehavior — including an alcohol-related car crash — prompted his discharge. He was estranged from his first wife, who had once filed a restraining order against him. Los Angeles Times

Utah Police: Man Told 4-Year-Old To Fire At Officers
Investigators believe a man told his 4-year-old child to fire at officers following a dispute over his order at a McDonald's drive-thru in suburban Salt Lake City on Monday, police said. An officer was able to swipe at the gun as it was fired, directing the bullet away. The unidentified man brandished a gun at the pick-up window at the restaurant in Midvale, demanding that his order be corrected, a spokesperson for the Unified Police Department, Sgt. Melody Cutler, said. After workers asked that he pull to a waiting area while they corrected his order, they called police, she said. The man did not cooperate and had to be pulled him from the car, Cutler said. But, as officers were taking the man into custody, one looked back and saw a gun pointing from a rear window, she said. The officer who swiped the gun to the side as it was fired also yelled “kid” to other officers after seeing how young the shooter was, Cutler said. A witness observed the man tell the 4-year-old, who was in the backseat with a 3-year-old sibling, to shoot the gun, Cutler said. She declined to elaborate. Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said it was a sad day for law enforcement and the community. “To have an adult think it is OK to encourage a four-year-old to pull a firearm and shoot at police illustrates how out of hand the campaign against police has gotten,” she said. Associated Press

Watch: Drunk Driver Smashes Into Police Cruiser Head-On
Police in Wisconsin released dashcam video Monday of a startling crash that left two employees injured. The video shared on Facebook shows a wrong-way driver crashing head-on into a patrol car. In the video, the officer flips on the siren just before the crash -- but it's too late. One of the cruiser's occupants is heard asking, “Are you OK?” and the other occupant says, “Yes.” According to Middleton Police, an 11-year veteran patrol officer and an 8-year veteran dispatcher were treated for minor injuries. The driver was arrested for operating while intoxicated.  PoliceOne

NYC Crackdown On Subway Crime Begins
After 6 Weekend Stabbings New York's latest plan to tackle both crime and homelessness in subways was rolling into action Monday after police logged more than a half-dozen attacks in trains and stations over the holiday weekend. Mayor Eric Adams' plan, announced Friday, involves sending more police, mental health clinicians and social service outreach workers into the subways. Adams spokesperson Fabien Levy said Monday that a “phased-in” implementation was beginning. The plan notes that many people who use the subways for shelter need help, not handcuffs. But it says police will crack down on sleeping, littering, smoking, doing drugs or hanging out in the system. It calls for clearing all passengers out of trains at the ends of their lines, an approach that has waxed and waned over the years. “What happened this weekend cannot be normal" and reflects the need for the new strategy, Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesperson Aaron Donovan said Monday. The state-controlled MTA runs the subways. “People who would prey on New Yorkers riding transit should get the message that it's not going to be tolerated,” he said. Levy, however, advised New Yorkers not to conflate “isolated acts of violence on the subways” with “the issues of aiding those experiencing homelessness that the mayor's plan directly addresses.” Associated Press

Public Safety News

Duo Of Stranded Hikers Airlifted From San Gabriel Foothills By LAFD
Both ground and air units from Los Angeles Fire Department were on hand in the San Gabriel foothills Tuesday to rescue a duo of stranded hikers. Though uninjured, the rocky terrain in the May Canyon Truck Trail area left the hikers without an avenue to leave the area. They were airlifted by an LAFD rescue helicopter and transported to a safer area nearby. CBS 2
Firefighters Rescue Woman Who Fell Down 10-Foot Shaft At Echo Park Construction Site
Fire crews were working Saturday to rescue a woman who fell down a 10-foot concrete shaft at a construction site in Echo Park. Circumstances leading up to her fall are unclear, though authorities believe the woman, who appears to be in her 20s, has suffered some non-life-threatening injuries and had stable vital signs. The fall occurred at around 3:15 p.m. on North Everett Street. Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters were working to determine the safest way of bringing the woman back to the surface, and they were not concerned about ventilation or structural integrity in the shaft. She was rescued at around 3:45 p.m., and was taken to a nearby hospital to treat her injuries. CBS 2
L.A. County Could Relax Mask Rules In Places With Vaccine Verification, Officials Say
Vaccinated Los Angeles County residents may soon be able to go maskless in indoor settings that check for proof that they've received their doses, county officials said Tuesday. Details of that forthcoming shift remain scarce, but such a change would be a potentially significant loosening of rules in a region that has been more reluctant to relax such requirements even as the Omicron wave recedes. In a statement to The Times, the county Department of Public Health confirmed it “is considering possible options for lifting indoor masking protections earlier at sites where there are other additional layers of protection, such as vaccination verifications,” and said a new health order will be issued and go into effect Friday. Additional details will be provided Wednesday, according to the department. In a post on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, Supervisor Janice Hahn said it appears the new order would allow “vaccinated people to take off their masks indoors at places that check for proof of vaccination.” “This puts us significantly closer to aligning with the state,” she wrote. Supervisor Kathryn Barger also teased the forthcoming update on Twitter , saying, “This is another step towards living [with] COVID-19 in a balanced way.” Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

Wesson Appointed To Fill LA City Council Seat Of Suspended Ridley-Thomas
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, Feb, 22, to appoint former Councilman Herb Wesson to represent the city's 10th district, as a replacement for Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended by his council peers after being indicted in a federal corruption case. Councilman Mike Bonin sought to delay the vote on the appointment until after the City Council received a detailed report on the full range of available scenarios, including a public report from the city attorney on eligibility requirements for potential appointments and a report from the city attorney, city clerk and chief legislative analyst on steps, costs and legality of holding a special election for Council District 10 residents to pick their own temporary council member. Bonin's amendment to receive the reports was adopted by the council Tuesday, however, an amendment to delay the vote by one week until after the reports are received hit a 7-7 deadlock on the council. “I support Mr. Wesson and I was glad to vote for him, but the City Council should not have been forced to consider a single option, for an up or down vote,” Bonin said in a statement after the vote.  Los Angeles Daily News

L.A. Will Reduce Speed Limit By 5 MPH On 177 Miles Of Streets
For years, Los Angeles traffic planners have been in a bind, largely prohibited under state laws from reducing speed limits even as vehicle deaths climbed to record levels. But a change in a law last year gave local officials some leeway, allowing Los Angeles for the first time in decades to lower speed limits on major corridors. On Tuesday, the City Council took action, unanimously approving a plan to lower speed limits by 5 mph on 177 miles, or about 2%, of city streets. The move was hailed by pedestrian advocates and city officials alike as a small but significant step toward safer streets in a city that has been unable to rein in deadly crashes. “This was just a silly regulation that has nothing to do with urban areas,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who said he was forced to increase the speed limit at Overland Avenue and Olympic Boulevard in order to get more traffic enforcement after a deadly accident. Speed limits will be reduced on major corridors from the San Fernando Valley to South Los Angeles where many pedestrian deaths and injuries take place. The Valley, with its wide boulevards, has historically had among the highest rates of pedestrian deaths, but when the pandemic hit, South L.A., including the Harbor area, took that spot, according to city data. Los Angeles Times

LA Seeks Report To Track Effectiveness Of Ordinance To Stop Tenant Harassment
Nearly six months after an ordinance went into effect in Los Angeles aimed at preventing landlords from harassing tenants, the City Council Tuesday requested a report with data and metrics that can be used to assess the ordinance's effectiveness. The motion instructed the Los Angeles Housing Department — with assistance from the city administrative officer, the chief legislative analyst and the city attorney — to report after the Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance has been in effect for one year, which will be on Aug. 6, 2022. The CLA was also instructed to conduct a comparative analysis of other California cities' protocols and programs for enforcing their tenant anti-harassment ordinances, including San Francisco and Santa Monica. The Housing Department and the city attorney will also report on a recommended tenant anti-harassment program for the city, including what resources are required to create permanent city staff positions tasked with monitoring and enforcing the ordinance. The ordinance had been in the works since Feb. 2, 2017, when then-Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion to have the Housing Department review other cities' anti-harassment ordinances and report on the possibility of adopting a similar measure in Los Angeles.

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