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 25, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Poll Shows Los Angeles County DA George Gascon Could Lose a Recall Election if it Were Held Today
The poll, conducted by New Bridge Strategy, solicited the opinion of 800 "likely" voters throughout the City of Los Angeles. With the single question voters would face on a ballot, "Shall George Gascón be recalled from the office of District Attorney?" they received a response of 41% saying Yes to recall him. 36% said they would No against a recall. And a significant 23% said they were undecided. In the same poll last year, 49% of voters wanted to keep Gascon and only 36% wanted to recall him. Santa Monica Observer

LAPD Warns That Wearing Expensive Jewelry Could Make You A Target
Los Angeles police are warning people that wearing expensive jewelry in public could make them a target for thieves — a note of caution as robberies are up citywide. The police department's suggestion Tuesday came as robbers smashed the front window of a Beverly Hills jewelry store in broad daylight and fled with millions of dollars' worth of merchandise. Passersby recorded video of Tuesday's robbery, the latest in a long string of brazen smash-and-grab thefts and robberies of people wearing expensive watches or jewelry in the Los Angeles region. In the city of LA, robberies are up 18% year-to-date compared to 2021. Robberies with a firearm are up 44% in the same time period across the city. “Over the last year there has been a marked increase of armed robberies involving victims wearing expensive jewelry while in public. If it is visible, it can be a target,” an LAPD statement said. In November, detectives from the police department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division formed a Follow-Home Task Force to investigate crimes where people are targeted by criminals and tailed home or to an isolated area. People were often followed from areas such as Melrose Avenue and the city's jewelry district, as well as high-end restaurants and nightclubs in Hollywood and Wilshire. KTLA 5

2 Hospitalized In Morning Shooting In Downtown LA
Police were investigating after gunshots rang out in downtown Los Angeles in broad daylight Thursday. First responders received reports of a shooting that occurred on 28th and Main streets just before 8:45 a.m. Investigators believe the shooting may be related to a traffic accident that occurred in a different location. Two people were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds and a possible suspect was taken into custody. No further information was immediately released by authorities. FOX 11

LAPD Launches Buyback Program Aimed At Getting ‘Ghost Guns' Off Streets
The Los Angeles Police Department announced the launch of a buyback program aimed at getting "ghost guns" off the streets. In November 2021, the L.A. City Council unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance to prohibit the possession, purchase, sale receipt and transportation of "ghost guns." The ordinance prohibits the possession, purchase, sale, receipt or transport of a non-serialized unfinished firearm frame or receiver or non-serialized firearm. Such a weapon -- known as "ghost guns" because they are virtually untraceable -- can be assembled by unlicensed buyers from legally purchased kits. Violation of the city ordinance would be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail. The department says it'll host five events throughout the city in which people can turn in "ghost guns" or any unwanted firearms in exchange for a gift card. Police say the gift cards will be worth between $100 and $200. "These guns cannot be traced," said LAPD Command Ofc. Lillian Carranca. "There is no background check completed on the individuals who want to own it. They are the preferred method of prohibited possessors such as convicted felons, gang members, ex-cons, individuals that have been deemed to have mental health issues and restrictions by the courts and individuals who are the subject of a court order." ABC 7

One Killed In Studio City Crash That Split Car In Half
A 20-year woman was killed Thursday morning and at least one person hospitalized in a two-vehicle collision near Studio City. Officers from the California Highway Patrol responded at 2:05 a.m. to the collision at the transition from the southbound 101 Freeway and the eastbound 134 Freeway. One of the vehicles ended up on the Tujunga Avenue off ramp and video footage showed another was severely damaged and appeared torn in half. The victim died at the scene. The collision closed the Tujunga Boulevard off ramp and traffic was diverted from the 101 Freeway to the 134 Freeway for several hours. Authorities said it appears the crash happened after one of the drivers tried to make a quick lane change. NBC 4

'Blessing Scam' Suspects Arrested In LA
Two Washington residents were arrested in connection with over two dozen "blessing scams" targeting the elderly and Spanish-speaking victims outside churches in the Los Angeles area. According to police, the suspects - Claudi Stoian, 27, and Madalina Paun, 24 - were arrested Tuesday in connection with a string of street robberies and thefts in Pico Union, Westlake, and Historic Filipinotown. Police said the suspects, who had two young children with them in the car when they were arrested, were seen interacting with a woman in the area of 12th and Burlington streets when they took the victim's jewelry and drove away. Authorities later seized their rental car and recovered jewelry, money, and over evidence linking them to the crimes, police said. The victim in this robbery is being sought by police for questioning. She is described as a woman in her 30s with blond chin-length hair. According to detectives, Stoian and Paun are suspects in the string of "blessing scams" in the area dating back to February 2021. During the crimes, they drove an SUV and allegedly approached the victims asking to "bless" their jewelry or money. Once the victim's property is removed, Paun would allegedly put cosmetic jewelry and/or taped-up pieces of lottery tickets into the victim's clothing.  FOX 11

Intruder Arrested After Walking Onto Tarmac At Hollywood Burbank Airport
A man was arrested Wednesday night after walking onto the tarmac at Hollywood Burbank Airport, according to a broadcast report. The man was seen running on Runway 33 around 10:52 p.m. and then tried to hide among some portable airport stairs, CBS 2 reported. Airport police took the man into custody just before 11 p.m., according to CBS2. Los Angeles Daily News

Man Violently Robbed At Gunpoint In Culver City Shopping Center Parking Lot
Police are asking the public's help in identifying the men who robbed another man in a Culver City Shopping Center. The robbery happened around 5 p.m. Wednesday at the shopping center located at 11463 Washington Blvd., according to Culver City police. The victim told police he was confronted by two men as he was leaving his vehicle. He said one of the men pulled out a gun, stuck it in his chest and demanded his Rolex watch (valued at around $13,000). The robber then pointed his gun at the victim's head and took the watch and a cell phone. He punched the victim in the head and the duo fled the scene on foot toward Washington Boulevard. The suspects: Are described as two Black men, both in their early 20s. They both stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall. One weighed an estimated 210 pounds and the second one an estimated 180 pounds, police said. Both suspects were wearing face masks, the victim said. If you know anything: About these two robbery suspects call Culver City police 310-253-6316. WestSide Current

$20,000 Reward Offered In 2020 Fatal Stabbing Of Compton Father In a heartfelt plea, Paula Stringer went before the press on Thursday asking for help in finding the people who killed her son, Lentrail Hicks. "I just need you guys to turn yourself in or if whoever knows or seen anything to come forward," she said. Hicks was stabbed on Nov. 7, 2020. Surveillance video released by Los Angeles Sheriff's Department homicide investigators shows Hicks walking down Compton Avenue near 68th Street around noon that day wearing a white T-shirt and a cap. In the video, Hicks is seen getting into an argument with two men. The argument lasts for a short while, then, minutes after it happened, the two suspects get into a black Toyota Prius and speed back to attack Hicks. "[Hicks] ends up going home to his mother where he informs her he's been stabbed and she calls 911," said Lt. Derrick Alfred with LASD's homicide bureau. Hicks died a couple of days after he was stabbed on Nov. 9. Now, it's been nearly a year and a half since the murder, and there's now a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. ABC 7

Shooting On Compton Street Leaves Man Dead; Gunman At Large
A man was shot and killed in Compton early Thursday morning. The shooting occurred at 5 a.m. at the intersection of Cuzco Avenue and Pauline Street, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reports. The victim was rushed to a hospital, where he died. He was not identified. No arrests have been made. There was no immediate suspect information. The circumstances of the shooting were unclear. Anyone with information on the case should call detectives at 323-890-5500. CBS 2

Man Charged In Malibu Slaying Ordered To Stand Trial For Attacks On Deputies
A man charged in the killing of a research scientist from Irvine, who was shot while camping with his two young daughters in Malibu Creek State Park, was ordered Thursday to stand trial for allegedly attacking two sheriff's deputies since he has been in custody. Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold said he found “more than sufficient evidence” to require Anthony Rauda, 45, to stand trial on two felony counts of battery on a peace officer. The charges involve a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was allegedly punched in the jaw and suffered a wrist injury after a March 30, 2020, hearing at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, and a sheriff's deputy who was allegedly attacked with a pencil at Men's Central Jail while Rauda was being removed from a restraint chair following a hearing last week in which he was ordered to be removed from court after an obscenity-laden outburst. Both of the alleged attacks were captured on surveillance video, which was shown in court. The judge rejected a request by defense attorney Kevin Avery to dismiss the charges against Rauda or to reduce them to misdemeanor counts.

Ex-GM Manager Accused Of Taking $3 Million In Bribes From South Korean Parts Supplier
A former General Motors manager was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on a charge that he took more than $3 million in bribes from a South Korean parts supplier in return for a major contract with the Detroit automaker. Hyoung Nam So, 46, who now lives in Irvine, took $3.45 million in cash from the parts supplier in late 2015, a payoff for rigging the bids on a contract to supply GM with auto painting, window film and molding, according to a federal grand jury indictment issued Wednesday. At the time, So, who goes by Brian, was a manager in GM's Global Purchasing and Supply Chain organization in Michigan, where he oversaw the supply of parts used to build automobile interiors. Since January 2020, So has been the global purchasing chief at Karma Automotive, a luxury car company in Irvine, according to his online resume. There was no response to a request for comment left by voicemail Thursday at Karma Automotive. So's attorney, H. Dean Steward, declined to comment. Los Angeles Times

Man Convicted Of Running SoCal-to-Canada Drug Ring
A 43-year-old man was found guilty Thursday of running a drug-trafficking organization that intended to export hundreds of pounds of cocaine and heroin from Southern California into Canada, and imported MDMA into the United States using big rigs and fully encrypted telephones to work the scheme. Vincent Yen Tek Chiu of Vancouver, Canada, was found guilty in Los Angeles of one federal count each of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to export controlled substances, distribution of cocaine, distribution of heroin and distribution of MDMA -- known as ecstasy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Evidence presented at his seven-day trial in downtown Los Angeles showed that Chiu and other members of the organization obtained multi-pound quantities of cocaine, and less frequently, heroin from Los Angeles and passed the drugs to couriers who intended to transport them to Canada for further distribution. Big rig trucks were used to try to export some cocaine into Canada. FOX 11

Video: Man Randomly ‘Sucker Punches' Officer At Utah Airport
A passerby punched a police officer in the face at Salt Lake International Airport for no apparent reason, Utah authorities told news sources. Two officers were walking at the airport Saturday, March 12, when another man came up behind them and punched one in the side of the face, Salt Lake City police told the Gephardt Daily. The two officers tackled him and arrested him, police told KTVX. John D. Baydo, 32, faces a charge of assaulting a police officer, authorities told KSTU. Baydo remained silent during the altercation and has not given a reason for punching the officer, who suffered swelling and bruising, police told KSL. The Charlotte Observer

More Suspects Will Get Away, Washington Cops Say After Reform Rollback Bill Fails
Last year, Washington state implemented a sweeping police reform package that many law enforcement professionals said was too restrictive, interfered with police work and put the public at risk. Lawmakers agreed, and so last week Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new set of bills to adjust some of those reforms. But not all of them. Senate Bill 5919, which failed to pass, would have once again allowed police to engage in vehicle pursuits if there is “reasonable suspicion” a crime had occurred. The earlier reforms package requires police to have “probable cause” before engaging in a pursuit. That still stands. Police leaders in Yakima County were disappointed by the outcome, saying the greater burden of proof will mean some suspects will get away, reported the Yakima Herald-Republic. “We're really careful here, we don't want to be just chasing people,” said Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray. “But it limits our ability.” Murray pointed to a 2019 incident that resulted in the arrest of a shooting suspect. Officers saw the stolen car that was used in the shooting and pursued it. “Under the new standard, we would have had to have positive information,” Murray said.  PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Worker Killed At Metro Purple Line Construction Site
A construction worker was killed Wednesday in an incident along a portion of the Metro Purple Line extension undergoing construction in Mid-Wilshire. Los Angeles Fire Department crews were called to the scene in the 700 block of South La Brea Avenue just before 5 p.m. regarding a person trapped under a train, fire officials said. Fire crews found the man dead and worked to recover the body, officials said. No other injuries were reported. Los Angeles Times

Firefighters Investigating Early Morning Venice Boardwalk Fire
The Los Angeles Fire Department is investigating an early morning fire at the 1100 block of South Ocean Front Walk. Firefighters say they responded to call of light smoke around 5:11 a.m. When crews arrived, the fire had already been put out. The victim of the fire suffered minor injuries to their hands. A Citizen report stated that an unspecified item was thrown, starting to blaze. However the fire department said upon investigation, they believe that is not the case. No further details are available at this time.   WestSide Current

What To Know About The BA.2 Sub-Variant And Its Rise In LA County
Los Angeles County will likely see an uptick in case of the BA.2 COVD-19 sub-variant, mirroring a pattern seen overseas and in some East Coast cities, health officials said this week. BA.2, which is a more-infectious offshoot of the Omicron variant that fueled the recent winter surge in infections, is slowly beginning to expand locally. Here's what to know about the sub-variant. It's the rising proportion of BA.2 cases that stands out. During the week ending Feb. 26, 6.4% of all COVID specimens that were analyzed for variants turned out to be the result of BA.2. That was up from 4.5% the week prior. Health officials noted Monday that while the percentage is still low, the same pattern was seen with the Omicron and Delta variants that both grew into major spreaders of the virus. They said BA.2 is currently estimated to be responsible for 23% of sequenced cases nationally, while representing 30% of infections in New York City. In the U.S., the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows overall COVID-19 cases have been trending down. But the share caused by BA.2 is up significantly. NBC 4

Local Government News

LA City Council Passes Resolution To Protect 1 Million Acres Land In California
The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution Wednesday to support a federal legislative package aimed at protecting more than 1 million acres of public lands in Los Angeles, Northwest California and the Central Coast. The Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act, introduced by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla in May 2021, would designate an additional 600,000 acres of California land as wilderness, including 30,000 acres in the San Gabriel range, as well as more than 853 miles of California streams as new wild and scenic rivers, including 45 miles in the San Gabriel area. One of three bills within the package, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, would expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by more than 109,000 acres to include part of the western Angeles National Forest. It would also create a National Recreation Area along the San Gabriel Valley foothills and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River corridors. That bill aims to increase equitable access to public lands for the 17 million people in the Los Angeles County area, which is one of the most park-poor, densely populated and polluted areas in the nation. NBC 4

Councilman de León Calling For Closure Of Downtown Oil Well
Los Angeles Councilman Kevin de León demanded the immediate shutdown of a downtown oil well that is allegedly endangering the health of nearby low-income residents. De León, who is running for mayor, said the Broadway drill site has been leaking methane affecting the health of hundreds of low-income families and residents living nearby. According to de León's planning director Emma Howard, the owner of the site, Nasco Petroleum, has been cited several times but nothing has changed. "They're supposed to allow inspectors onsite," said Howard. "They barred inspectors access. CalGem has issued fines but that's not going to solve the residents' issues." CalGem is the California Geologic Energy Management Division, which oversees the impact of oil, natural gas and geothermal industries. Nasco Petroleum has not responded to a request for comment.  CBS 2

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: