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 11, 2022
Law Enforcement News

L.A. Mayoral Candidates Want More Cops. They'll Have To Clear A Hiring Bottleneck First
With violent crime in Los Angeles near a decade high, several leading candidates for mayor are campaigning on promises to put more police officers on the streets. U.S. Rep. Karen Bass wants to move hundreds of officers out from behind desks and get the department to its fully authorized strength. City Atty. Mike Feuer wants 500 more officers on the force. Billionaire developer Rick Caruso and City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former cop himself, have both said they want to hire 1,500 more officers, which would bring the Los Angeles Police Department's sworn force to about 11,000. But fulfilling such campaign promises won't be easy, according to LAPD officials and overseers — not just because of fiscal constraints and still-rumbling efforts to “defund” police, but because of an administrative bottleneck in the hiring process that has throttled recruitment since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Despite the City Council authorizing an LAPD force of about 9,700 sworn officers this fiscal year, the department remains hundreds of officers short of that and is backsliding further. Last week, there were 9,505 sworn officers on the force. As of Tuesday, there were 9,440. And the blame, Chief Michel Moore and other police officials have said, lies with the city's Personnel Department, which conducts background checks and moves candidates through the application process. Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County DA Gascon Expected To Face More Lawsuits From His Own Prosecutors, Attorney Says
More lawsuits against Los Angeles County's embattled top prosecutor from his own staff are expected in the coming weeks, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs told Fox News. Two veteran prosecutors who worked supervisory roles filed a lawsuit this week against District Attorney George Gascon, alleging they were demoted after disclosing his prosecutorial reforms violated the law. Maria Ramirez and Victor Rodriguez both have over 30 years of service in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and were bureau directors before being removed from their positions, the lawsuit states. Smith said he plans to file three more lawsuits against Gascon in the coming weeks and three more after that from employees at the DA's office with similar allegations. "Most of these are supervisor-level (positions)," attorney Gregory Smith told Fox News. "What they're doing is they're punishing them for either disclosing that some of his policies are unlawful or for refusing to follow them." Gascon took office in December 2020 amid nationwide calls for  criminal  justice and police reform. He immediately issued a series of directives that have come under fire since, including prohibiting prosecutors from seeking the death penalty or enhancements and a blanket policy against trying juveniles in adult court. Yahoo! News

Man Shot To Death Near CSUN, Suspect At Large
A man was fatally shot during an early-morning confrontation in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were called at 12:30 a.m. Friday to the 18400 block of Dearborn Street, near the California State University Northridge campus, regarding a shots-fired call, said LAPD Officer Rosario Cervantes. Witnesses told police a man in an apartment had been shot by a suspect who then ran from the scene. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Cervantes said. It is unknown if either man was a student at the university. Los Angeles Daily News

Man Fatally Stabbed In Mid-City Area Of Los Angeles; Investigation Underway
A man was fatally stabbed Friday in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles, and police are investigating. The crime occurred about 3 a.m. near Washington and Crenshaw boulevards, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. Information was not immediately available on the identity of the fatally wounded man, who died at a hospital. No description was released of the suspect, who was being sought. Washington Boulevard between Crenshaw Boulevard and La Brea Avenue was closed while an investigation was conducted. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call 877-LAPD-247.

Man Brutally Stabbed More Than 10 Times While Walking To Store In Chinatown
A man was brutally attacked and stabbed several times while walking in Chinatown, according to his brother, and a portion of the assault was caught on video. According to police, it happened near Alpine Street and Broadway Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. According to David Yu, the victim's brother who spoke with Eyewitness News on Thursday, the man was stabbed more than 10 times. He said when police arrived, his brother had the suspect pinned down, despite being severely injured. "We didn't imagine something like this, something so violent," said Yu. According to a GoFundMe created by Yu, his brother was stabbed in his face, head, neck, groin and abdominal area. He is currently being treated for his injuries. The suspect was identified as 50-year-old Timothy Mears. He was arrested on a felony mayhem charge. Mears is being held on a $100,000 bail. ABC 7

$50K Reward Offered In South LA Hit-and-Run That Killed Father After Saving Family, Officials Say
The city of Los Angeles is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the identity, arrest and prosecution of a driver involved in a hit-and-run that killed a father. Officials say the victim, identified as 42-year-old Jemmy Chavarria, pushed his wife and 2-year-old child out of harm's way before being hit by a car going at a high rate of speed suffering fatal injuries. The incident happened on Feb. 26 at about 7:15 p.m. in the area of 84th and Hoover Street in South L.A. The family of three was crossing the street, guided by a crossing guard while traffic in both directions was stopped, when the suspect continued driving northbound on the southbound lanes, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The driver then continued northbound on Hoover Street after hitting Chavarria without stopping to help. Chavarria died at the hospital from his injuries. Officials held a news conference Thursday morning seeking the public's help in the investigation, including a reward of up to $50,000 to solve this case. They describe the suspect vehicle as an older model Nissan Altima, gold or silver in color, and say it has a missing hubcap on the front passenger side. ABC 7

$50,000 Reward Offered For Info On 2021 Murder Of LA Man
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an identification of the person or persons responsible for the 2021 murder of a young man in Los Angeles, police announced Wednesday. Marcelis Gude, 22, was standing in the area of 102nd and San Pedro streets around 8:20 p.m. on June 15, 2021 when unknown suspects got out of a car and fired shots in Gude's direction, police said. He was taken to a hospital where he died. An 8-year-old girl riding her bike in the area was also shot, police said. The suspects got into the getaway car and drove away from the scene. No other information was immediately available. Anyone with information about Gude's murder is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 323-786-5100.  FOX 11

'Two O'Clock Rock' Burglar: Man Accused Of Over 70 Burglaries In The San Fernando Valley
Arrested By LAPD A serial burglar, believed to be responsible for over 70 commercial burglaries, has been arrested, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Thursday. 62-year-old Rueben Virgil Newhouse was taken into custody on March 1st after a concerned citizen discovered evidence on the side of the road, according to a statement from LAPD. Officers from the North Hollywood station served a search warrant at Newhouse's apartment where they recovered several burglary tools and other items taken from various businesses. He is accused of burglarizing over 70 commercial buildings in the San Fernando Valley and Burbank area from October 2020 to February 2022. Police dubbed Newhouse the "Two O'Clock Rock" burglar since he commits his crimes between the hours of 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. According to LAPD, Newhouse would enter a businesses by using rocks or a hammer to shatter the front door glass or windows. Once inside the building, he would head to the cash register to search for any money. Police say he always wore black colored boots, mask, and gloves; most of his crimes were caught on surveillance video. According to police, the estimated loss to small business owners exceeded over $200,000 in monetary and property damage. The San Fernando District Attorney's Office filed a total of 23 second degree burglary charges against Newhouse, his bail is set to $505,000. FOX 11

1 Dead In Hit-and-Run In Broadway-Manchester, Officials Say
A pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-run crash in the Broadway-Manchester area of South Los Angeles Thursday night, according to the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments. The collision was reported just before 6:30 p.m. in the 200 block of West 93rd Street, near the intersection with South Broadway, according to Margaret Stewart of the LAFD and Officer Drake Madison of the LAPD. The victim, a man in his 30s, was struck by what police believe is a blue SUV that was last seen heading south on Broadway, Madison said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Madison confirmed. KTLA 5

New Footage Shows Vehicle Believed To Have Struck Woman In Downtown L.A., As Well As A Potential Witness
The Los Angeles Police Department is continuing the search for the driver who struck and injured a 61-year-old woman in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 28, and new video footage shows the vehicle that struck the victim and another car whose driver was a witness. The victim, Sandra Martin, was walking with her dog, a brown long-hair Chihuahua-terrier mix named Little Man, shortly before 3 a.m. when she was struck by a dark-colored four-door Hyundai Genesis that was traveling in reverse in the 100 block of East Fourth Street, police said. The driver allegedly struck Martin with his car, got out to remove her from under his vehicle, then fled the scene, telling her “I sure am” when she asked if he was leaving. The driver was described by police as being a Black man about 25 to 30 years old with a thin build and who weighs between 170 and 190 pounds. While police are still searching for the driver of the Genesis, they are also looking for the person who was driving a newer-model Jeep Wrangler that “appeared to be in position to see when Sandra Martin was struck by the Genesis,” police said. The LAPD released new footage of the area near the hit-and-run on Thursday. Martin, who was treated for serious injuries but has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home, is still looking for Little Man and is asking for the public's help in finding him. KTLA 5

LAPD In Pursuit Of Suspect Wanted For Possession Of FIrearm
LAPD officers were in pursuit of a wanted for possession of a firearm Thursday evening. The suspect threw the firearm out of the vehicle during the pursuit, which officers are said to have recovered. He was driving a black Honda Civic. At least two occupants were said to be in the vehicle. It was not immediately clear where the pursuit began, but authorities were led down Southbound 110 Freeway through South Los Angeles towards Rosecrans. As soon as Sky9 Chopper arrived overhead, the suspect stopped the vehicle and exited near San Pedro on Gaffey Street. Authorities took both suspects into custody shortly after. CBS 2

Suspect Identified In Crash That Killed Man And 3-Year-Old Daughter In Apartment
Authorities are asking for help to find a 24-year-old man suspected of being behind the wheel of a pickup when it crashed into a Long Beach apartment, killing a 42-year-old man and his 3-year-old daughter inside the home. Octavio Montano was allegedly driving a 2014 Ram 1500 pickup truck northbound on Rose Avenue, near East Artesia Boulevard, about 10 p.m. on March 1 when the truck crashed into an apartment building, killing a man and his young daughter, the Long Beach Police Department said. The truck driver left the scene. Jose Palacios Gonzalez died at the scene. His daughter Samantha Palacios was taken to a hospital, where she later died. Witnesses said the truck driver appeared to have been at a nearby bar before the crash. Anyone with information about the case was asked to call LBPD Detective Kevin Johansen at 562-570-7355. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at . NBC 4

Former Hollywood Film Executive Will Plead Guilty To Pocketing Fraudulent COVID-19 Loans
A Beverly Hills resident and former chief executive of Aviron Pictures has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges after he pocketed nearly $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans meant to help businesses pay workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, prosecutors said. William Sadleir, 67, agreed to plead guilty to one count each of bank fraud and money laundering and is scheduled to formally enter the pleas next week, according to an announcement Thursday by the U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of California. He has already pleaded guilty in a separate federal fraud case in New York for misappropriating more than $25 million that was invested in Aviron, prosecutors said. In the California case, Sadleir filed applications that fraudulently sought more than $1.7 million in PPP loans for three Aviron companies that had already shut down, prosecutors said. Such loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and designed to be forgiven for companies that spent most of the money on payroll costs and avoided cutting jobs. “According to court documents, Sadleir obtained the loans for three Aviron entities by falsely representing that the funds would be used to support payroll expenses for 33 employees at each company, when in fact the entities were no longer operational,” prosecutors said. Los Angeles Times

LA Poker Pro Among Four Charged In Illegal Slots, Money Laundering Probe
A World Series of Poker bracelet winner is among four Los Angeles men facing federal charges in connection with an illegal video gambling operation and money laundering efforts, according to an indictment obtained Friday. Professional card player Gal Yifrach, who frequently appeared on the popular “Live at the Bike” poker stream, allegedly ran the scheme in the Sacramento area by “supplying, operating, and maintaining” unlicensed slot machines, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of California. The indictment alleges that, beginning around January 2018 until two months ago, the Israeli-born Yifrach, 35, laundered the proceeds of the operation in various ways, including swapping cash for chips or checks at a gaming establishment referred to as “a casino in Bell Gardens.” The only casino in that city is the Bicycle Hotel and Casino, home of the “Live at the Bike” online poker show. Conspirators allegedly made cash deposits of no more than $10,000 at banks to avoid federal transaction reporting requirements, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. As stated in the three-count indictment, Yifrach allegedly used the funds to invest in Los Angeles real estate.

California Leads Nation In Skyrocketing Number Of Catalytic Converter Thefts, Data Shows
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise nationwide, and California has the dubious honor of leading the country in the number of converters stolen, according to recent data. State Farm released its claims data from 2021, which not only shows a 1,171% increase nationally in catalytic converter thefts since 2019 but also that auto parts theft in general has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its claims data, State Farm says California ranks first in the country for both auto parts thefts and catalytic converter thefts. In 2019, State Farm says it paid $2.5 million for 1,104 catalytic converter theft claims in California. In 2020, State Farm says it paid over $10.8 million for 4,507 catalytic converter theft claims in California. In 2021, State Farm says it paid over $23 million for 9,057 catalytic converter theft claims in California. Catalytic converters, which are emissions control devices located underneath a vehicle, restrict carbon monoxide from coming out of a vehicle's tailpipe. The converter contains three valuable metals, including platinum, rhodium and palladium. Depending on its size, thieves can sell catalytic converters for hundreds, even thousands of dollars, according to the insurance company. KTLA 5

Chief: Second Missouri Officer Won't Recover From Shooting
A Joplin, Missouri, police officer who was shot along with two other officers this week “will not recover” from his injuries, Police Chief Sloan Rowland said Thursday. Rowland announced that patrol officer Jake Reed's family said he was being prepared to donate organs. “We're so proud, so thankful and forever in debt for his service to this community. ... Jake is an outstanding young man,” Rowland said. Cpl. Benjamin Cooper died after being shot in the initial confrontation on Tuesday. A third officer, Rick Hirshey, was also shot and was in serious but stable condition Thursday, Rowland said. Reed joined the police force in 2017. He and Cooper were among the first officers to confront 40-year-old Anthony Felix at a shopping mall in Joplin Tuesday afternoon. Felix shot the two officers, stole a patrol car and fled. He crashed the car and was on foot when Hirshey saw him trying to steal another vehicle and positioned his patrol vehicle to stop the theft. Felix shot Hirshey through the windshield and hit him in the face, Rowland said. Associated Press

Kentucky Police K-9 Shot, Killed In Exchange Of Gunfire
The Shepherdsville Police Department is mourning the death of a police dog after he was shot by an armed suspect Wednesday night during an altercation which also left the suspect injured, according to Kentucky State Police. The dog, named Dash, was trying to help apprehend a suspect when he was shot and killed, Shepherdsville Police Chief Rick McCubbin wrote in a Facebook post. Officers returned fire at the suspect and hit him multiple times. State police said the suspect was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Three other Shepherdsville police officers were involved in the shootout but were uninjured. Police were initially responding to a report of shoplifting at the Dollar General store in Lebanon Junction, according to state police. The suspect was armed with a gun and allegedly began shooting at officers when they arrived. The suspect then fled on foot, state police said. Dash was able to track him down, but the suspect shot and killed him. Lexington Herald-Leader

'I Was The Last Officer': Trooper Shares How She Hit Drunk Driver To Protect 10K Race
In the days since she blocked a speeding and allegedly intoxicated driver from reaching a bridge full of pedestrians, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Toni Schuck has received widespread praise for her actions. The 47-year-old Tampa resident earned public thanks from her agency, fellow law enforcement officers and countless community members expressing appreciation online; the incident also made national news with a spot on NBC's " Today Show." For Schuck, who was seriously injured in the crash, it is a moment that won't be easily forgotten. At a press conference on Thursday, the 26-year FHP veteran reflected on the split-second moment when she used her patrol vehicle to stop block the swerving driver. "Every day since it's happened I've thought about it," said Schuck, who still had visible injuries on Thursday. "You go through the what-ifs." The driver of the rogue sedan, 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, had bypassed an interstate closure that was in place for the Sunshine Skyway 10K on Sunday morning. The Bradenton Herald

Public Safety News

1 Person Found Dead After Koreatown Fire: LAFD
Firefighters discovered a body after extinguishing a fire in Koreatown on Thursday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert. The fire was reported at 3:18 p.m. on the second story of a five-story office building at 611 S. Catalina St., the LAFD said. The deceased, whose age and gender are unknown, was located “behind debris and file cabinets” after the fire had been extinguished, according to the LAFD. “Excessive storage within the office units forced a delay in conducting a full search until the fire was extinguished,” the department added. In a later press release, the department added that the more than 90 firefighters on scene had to “breach through multiple interior walls to reach and get water on the fire” which ultimately limited the fire to two units of the building and saved the rest of the structure. “LAFD Arson, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Police Department, are investigating the cause of the fire per protocol for a fatality,” the department added.  KTLA 5

Woman In Critical Condition After Falling Off Cliff At Point Fermin Park
A woman was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition after she fell an estimated 100 feet from a cliff at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro Thursday afternoon, officials said. Air support teams with the Los Angeles Police Department conducted the rescue operation after they received a report about the fall around 12:10 p.m. and that it was accidental. The name and age of the victim have not been released. No further information was immediately available.  FOX 11

Fire Burns At Downtown LA Commercial Building
Firefighters knocked down a fire Thursday morning at a commercial building in downtown Los Angeles. Details about how the fire started were not immediately available. Authorities were attempting to determine the nature of the business in the building. About 90 firefighters knocked down the flames in about 40 minutes. No injuries were reported. NBC 4

Local Government News

LA City Council Approves Motion To Address Illegal Dumping
The Los Angeles City Council approved five motions on Wednesday as part of a plan to reduce illegal dumping throughout the city. Council members on March 1 voted 11-0 to pass four of the motions. The motion approved Wednesday is aimed at enforcing the city's law against dumping by having the Bureau of Sanitation and the City Attorney's Office report on resources needed to establish an enforcement and prosecution program. It also requests a report on ways to deter illegal dumping, including via cameras in areas with high rates of dumping. “The city of Los Angeles is facing a crisis when it comes to trash, bulky items and illegal dumping. In every corner of the city, pieces of furniture, loose debris and trash piles are prevalent,'' de León wrote in one of five motions introduced Feb. 1 as part of his ``Clean Streets Now'' plan. Kevin De León, who represented the motions, said the Bureau of Sanitation has nine two-person teams that deploy each day to handle illegal dumping cleanup. The Office of Community Beautification also provides funding to address loose trash and debris, and council district offices fund their own crews to address it as well.   WestSide Current

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: