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

March 3, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Los Angeles Police Will Have To Justify ‘Pretextual Stops' Or Face Discipline
The union that represents Los Angeles police, said that the changes will hinder public safety. “This is going to leave those guns — leave those bad drivers on the road and it's going to hurt people of all communities regardless of your skin color,” said LAPPL Director Joe Massie. CBS 2 Video

LAPD officers now required to explain ‘pretextual' stops on cameras...
Police Commissioner President William Briggs said the police tactic doesn't stop crime Commission President William Briggs criticized the use of such stops, saying they often harm people of color. "This revised policy will not result in more crimes, or more guns, or more lawlessness in the city of Los Angeles. The current policy does not stop crime." The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, said the stops have resulted in thousands of firearms being taken off the street and that stopping the tactic threatens public safety. "Police Commissioner Briggs should get off his soapbox, do his homework and tell the truth about pre-text stops and the important role they play in taking guns off our streets," a statement from the union's board read. "Taking these guns off our streets through traffic and pedestrian stops saved lives. They prevented our residents from being shot, shot at, intimidated, victimized and murdered. It's that simple." Fox News

Survey: Majority Of Latinos In LA Want To See Police Funding Stay The Same Or Increase
An overwhelming majority of the Latino community in Los Angeles wants to see police funding either remain the same or increase, according to a new survey. Nearly half of Latino Angelenos surveyed want to see police funding largely hold steady, while one-third of those polled want to see funding increase, but there are plenty of nuances even within those numbers, according to Rafe Sonenshein, executive director of Cal State L.A.'s Pat Brown Institute, which conducted the survey along with the California Community Foundation. “We didn't find much support in the survey for what's called defunding the police,” Sonenshein said on our newsroom's public affairs program, AirTalk. “In fact, the largest majority of people said keep policing levels the same … You can be both afraid of crime and believe in police reform.” Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said the survey results make sense, as many Latinos live in higher-crime neighborhoods. “Our community is living in this duality of being victims of crime and also victims of law enforcement,” Salas told LAist's Frank Stoltze. The sentiment was echoed in President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address last night. "The answer is not to defund the police," Biden said. “it's to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors and the community needs you, know the community.” LAist

George Gascón Wouldn't Compromise, Until He Did. Now, No One Is Happy
Since taking over as Los Angeles County's district attorney, George Gascón had refused to compromise on sweeping changes he said were needed to remake an office he believed was prioritizing convictions and lengthy prison sentences over justice. A rough few weeks has changed that. Gascón has begun wavering in the face of incessant attacks from critics, a mounting recall effort and a growing perception he's becoming politically isolated. Last month, he quietly conceded that there could be exceptions to the bans he imposed on seeking life sentences in murder cases or trying juveniles as adults. And Gascón's troubles deepened when he publicly acknowledged he had been wrong to insist that Hannah Tubbs, a 26-year-old transgender woman, be allowed to plead guilty in juvenile court to sexually assaulting a child. The crime happened when Tubbs was a teen and had not transitioned yet. That mea culpa — a stark about-face for a man who rarely expresses doubt about the righteousness of his positions — took on a sheen of political damage control when Gascón announced it without explanation the day before Fox News published jail recordings of Tubbs mocking her lenient sentence and the victim. Gascón's backtracking seemed to do little or nothing to quell the furor from his detractors. Many of his own prosecutors have dismissed the policy changes as public relations spin that will have little practical impact. And it opened him up to new critiques from allies that he is playing politics with his principles. Los Angeles Times

Man Shot To Death, Another Pistol-Whipped In Encino Home Invasion Robbery
A man was shot and killed and another person was attacked during a home invasion robbery in Encino Wednesday afternoon, according to police. It happened around 5:15 p.m. at a home in the 4500 block of Densmore Avenue. The Los Angeles Police Department tells ABC7 the shooting victim, described only as a man in his 80s, was in the kitchen when two or three suspects broke in through an open garage door. The man and one of the suspects got into some sort of physical altercation, according to police. That's when shots were fired and the man was shot, according to police. He died at the scene. The second victim, a man in his 60s, came home from the grocery store shortly after. That's when the second victim, who is believed to be the victim's brother-in-law, was confronted by the suspects. They then pistol-whipped him before fleeing. LAPD says the suspects robbed the home before fleeing. Police say the suspects were seen taking off in a white BMW SUV. LAPD Det. Sharon Kim said investigators are looking at surveillance camera footage, and it's possible the suspects may have targeted other homes in the area. Anyone with information is urged to contact police. ABC 7

8 Injured Following Crash Involving School Bus In South LA
At least eight people were injured following a collision in South Los Angeles Wednesday night. The crash was reported around 7:30 p.m. at 248 W 108th St. A school bus and another vehicle were involved in the crash. According to LAFD, one person was taken to the hospital. The extent of their injuries is unknown. The collision knocked down high-voltage wires.  FOX 11

San Fernando Valley Pursuit Ends With Arrests
In Van Nuys Authorities pursued a driver in the San Fernando Valley Wednesday night before the white sedan came to a stop in Van Nuys and the occupants fled. The driver behaved erratically, with at least one collision involving another car, aerial footage showed. Four people fled the vehicle on Gaviota Avenue near Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys, and two people were taken into custody shortly afterward. A third person was also reportedly taken into police custody, with one suspect outstanding. KTLA 5

Burglar Saws ATM Free From Restaurant Floor In Boyle Heights Break-In
Video from a witness and security camera captured a burglar who broke into a Pioneer Chicken in Boyle Heights and left with the restaurant's ATM early Wednesday morning. The thief smashed a glass door to gain entry to the establishment at Soto Street and Whittier Boulevard. A witness recorded video of what happened next as the thief used a saw to free the ATM from the floor where it was bolted down. Security footage later captured the burglar dragging the machine with him through the smashed door before fleeing the scene. It is unclear how much money the thief stole, and no arrests were reported. NBC 4

Dozens Of Catalytic Converters Stolen From City Owned Vehicles, LA Seeks Plan To Address Theft
Citing the theft of catalytic converters from 39 city-owned vehicles over Christmas weekend, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Wednesday aimed at developing a plan for reducing theft of city property. The 39 stolen catalytic converters were estimated to cost a total of $74,000, the motion stated. In March 2021, the city also lost dozens of catalytic converters following a break-in at a city yard in Lincoln Heights, where catalytic converters were stolen from 68 vehicles. "The theft of catalytic converters in particular is widespread nationwide, and has gotten worse because of recent dramatic increases in the salvage value of their components," the motion stated, adding that it poses "significant" risk to taxpayers. The motion, which was introduced by Councilman Paul Krekorian and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, instructs the chief legislative analyst to work with the Board of Public Works, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Department of General Services and other relevant departments on a report within 30 days into thefts that have occurred at city facilities over the last two years that have resulted in significant losses or damage to city assets. The report will specifically look into the risk of catalytic converter theft from city vehicles and what security measures are in place at locations where thefts occurred. FOX 11

Ex-TSA Officer Arrested In Alleged Attempt To Smuggle Meth At LAX
A former Transportation Security Administration officer was arrested Wednesday on a federal criminal complaint alleging he smuggled what he believed was methamphetamine through Los Angeles International Airport in exchange for $8,000. Michael Williams, 39, of Hawthorne, is charged with one federal count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine. At his initial appearance in Los Angeles federal court, Williams was ordered released on a $35,000 bond and arraignment was scheduled for March 31, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. If convicted, Williams would face up to 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors noted. According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, authorities in 2020 conducted undercover operations involving Williams, whom they suspected of helping smuggle narcotics past security checkpoints at LAX. During the investigation, Williams allegedly met with a drug source to exchange methamphetamine in the days prior leading up to his shifts at LAX, the document says. As a TSA employee with unscreened access to LAX, Williams twice agreed to deliver what he thought was methamphetamine in a backpack to the drug source's accomplice in a men's restroom on the secure side of the airport terminal, federal prosecutors allege.

Beverly Hills Store Admits To Using Safe Deposit Boxes To Launder Drug Money
The company that ran a Beverly Hills store that rented out safe deposit boxes has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with customers to launder drug money. Under the plea deal with U.S. Private Vaults Inc., the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles agreed not to file criminal charges against the company's two owners. That decision ran counter to a recent Department of Justice policy requiring prosecutors to be more aggressive about holding individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing. The company admitted that it recruited drug traffickers as customers and used the illicit proceeds to run the business. It also acknowledged that people at the company sold cocaine, arranged drug deals at the store and instructed customers how to structure cash transactions to dodge currency reporting requirements. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment on the deal, which was signed in November and filed in court on Wednesday. The government will be hard-pressed to collect any fines that might be levied at sentencing; U.S. Private Vaults has virtually no assets, according to Michael Singer, the Nevada attorney who negotiated the deal for the company. The U.S. Private Vaults store on Olympic Boulevard was put out of business in March 2021, when federal agents executing a search warrant hauled away all of its safe deposit boxes, along with at least $86 million in cash and millions of dollars more in jewelry and valuables that customers stashed inside them. Los Angeles Times

Glendale Man Arrested For Allegedly Stabbing 14-Year-Old
A Glendale man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly stabbing a 14-year-old victim last month, officials said. Around 7 p.m. Feb. 18, officers responded to the 100 block of Olive Street regarding a possible stabbing investigation that occurred in the area of Verdugo Road and Broadway Avenue, the Glendale Police Department said in a news release. Officers arrived to find a juvenile victim with a significant stab wound being transported to the hospital by the Glendale Fire Department. An investigation revealed that the victim was walking southbound on Verdugo Road, south of Broadway Avenue, at approximately 6 p.m., when a man who was standing in front of an apartment building came up behind him, stabbed him in the shoulder and then ran out of sight, police said. During the investigation, detectives obtained surveillance footage of the area and the path the suspect took when fleeing, ultimately leading detectives to obtain a suspect vehicle description. They identified the suspect involved in the incident as 31-year-old Arby Hovsepian of Glendale. On March 1, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Hovsepian was located on the 1800 block of Canada Boulevard. He was detained, arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder. The victim is expected to make a full recovery. KTLA 5

Random Attack At Glendale Fashion Center Caught On Camera
Police are seeking the public's help in identifying an attacker in an assault caught on a security camera that happened in the parking structure at Glendale Fashion Center Wednesday morning. According to the department's tweet, the assault took place at 7:30 a.m. in the 200 block of North Glendale Avenue when the perpetrator quickly approached the victim as she was walking to her car, and "struck her in the side of the head with a right hand." Surveillance footage shows the person quickly retreat, and stand next to several bags after the incident, while the victim paused momentarily before continuing to walk through the lot. Police describe the attacker being between 20 and 30 years old with a medium build. The attacker was wearing plaid shorts, a black hoodie, and a blue and white baseball cap. Authorities say the attacker appeared to be smoking narcotics, and may be homeless. Anyone with info that can assist the investigation is encouraged to call GPD at 818-548-4911. To remain anonymous, call 1-800-222-8477. NBC 4

Adoptive Parents Arrested In Killing Of 2 Kern County Boys, Ages 3 And 4, Missing Since 2020
The adoptive parents of two small California boys who were reported missing in 2020 have been charged with killing the children, although their bodies have not been found, authorities said Wednesday. Trezell West and Jacqueline West were arrested Tuesday night on murder and other charges in an indictment returned by a grand jury, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer told a news conference in Bakersfield. Orrin West, 4, and his brother Orson, 3, were reported missing from their family's backyard in the desert town of California City on Dec. 21, 2020. A huge search by law enforcement agencies and community members failed to find them. “This morning, I'm saddened to announce that the investigation has revealed that Orrin and Orson West are deceased,” Zimmer said. “The investigation has also revealed that they died three months before their adoptive parents reported them missing.” The district attorney said she was not permitted to reveal any facts of the case until the trial. The grand jury heard testimony from 50 witnesses over three months. Zimmer said that a combination of direct and circumstantial evidence was presented, and the grand jury was convinced that the boys were dead. KTLA 5

New Mexico Police Officer Dies In Pursuit Of Suspected Kidnapper
Law enforcement officers from several agencies were still searching late Wednesday for a man suspected of carjacking and kidnapping a woman and leading a reckless chase on Interstate 25 that ended in a deadly four-vehicle crash; killed were Santa Fe police Officer Robert Duran and another driver who has not been identified. Police said the man had been driving the wrong way on the highway as he fled with his victim late Wednesday morning. He ran from the scene after the crash and managed to evade officers, including those searching in a helicopter. The woman survived and was taken to a local hospital, police said. They have not yet released the name of the suspect, who was described as wearing a red shirt, black pants and a black jacket. Interim police Chief Paul Joye identified Duran at an evening news conference at the crash site, just north of Old Pecos Trail. The 43-year-old officer had joined the force as a cadet in 2015, Joye said, and leaves behind a wife and two teenage boys. Joye said Duran was assigned to the department's patrol section and served as a member of the emergency response team. He "was well respected and loved by his peers," Joye said. "We as a department and as individuals are still grieving and processing his loss." Duran is the third Santa Fe officer who has died in the line of duty, Joye said, adding the last officer fatality occurred in 1933. Santa Fe New Mexican

Public Safety News

LA County COVID Hospitalizations Fall Again As Mask Mandate Nears End
The number of COVID-19-positive people hospitalized in Los Angeles County dropped again Wednesday, helping move the county toward this week's anticipated lifting of its indoor mask-wearing mandate. According to state figures, there were 907 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, down from 927 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 157 were being treated in intensive care, down from 174 the previous day. The downward trend in hospital numbers is contributing to what is expected to be a major shift in COVID-19 response policy in the county. On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release its weekly update of virus activity in communities across the country. Last week, that data — which is based largely on hospital admissions and bed availability — placed Los Angeles County in the “high” category of virus activity, meaning a continued recommendation for mask wearing. But county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said earlier this week that when the CDC issues its updated numbers Thursday, the county is expected to fall into the agency's medium- or low-risk category, removing the federal recommendation for masks in most indoor settings.

Local Government News

Unseating An L.A. City Council Incumbent Is Exceedingly Rare. Will It Happen In 2022?
Two days after losing her bid to unseat Councilman Mitch O'Farrell in 2017, Jessica Salans and a handful of campaign volunteers gathered in a rented office above a Thai restaurant in East Hollywood to regroup. On a roll of butcher paper, Salans had scrawled a question in bright blue marker: “Where do we go from here?” By all conventional measures, the campaign had been a failure. With no name recognition, little money and no paid staff, Salans placed third in a primary that O'Farrell won outright with 59% of the vote. But for young progressives energized by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential bid and devastated by Donald Trump's victory, the Salans campaign had offered an outlet for frustration and a sense of the possible in city politics. The group soon grew into Ground Game L.A., a grass-roots organization dedicated to building community and electoral power. Three years later, Salans and her volunteer campaign manager, Megan Choi, helped shepherd urban planner Nithya Raman's historic victory over Councilman David Ryu as co-campaign managers. This year, Ground Game members are helping lead progressive campaigns challenging incumbents in two City Council districts. Ousting a City Council incumbent has historically been a little like snow in Los Angeles — not impossible, but exceedingly rare. Competitive challengers are few, and over the last quarter-century only two have succeeded. Los Angeles Times

De Leon Seeks Report On LA's Measures Against Potential Russian Cyber Attacks
The Los Angeles City Council will consider having city departments report on measures against potential cyber attacks from Russia on the city's water distribution, power and sewage systems following a motion introduced Wednesday by Councilman Kevin de LeOn. “Russia's attack against Ukraine has raised the stakes for potential attacks on the United States as international economic pressures mount against Russia,” de León said. “The U.S. already faces regular cyber attacks emanating from Russia against public and private targets such as hospitals, utility companies, and government bodies. We need to ensure that Los Angeles is ready for any potential attack that would target and disrupt our infrastructure.” De LeOn cited Los Angeles' position as the second-largest U.S. city and as a strategic gateway that connects the U.S. to the Pacific Rim. Attacking the city's public infrastructure could destabilize the global economy, which is already recovering from the pandemic, according to the councilman's office.

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: