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

July 8, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Operation North Star Nabs 192 Fugitives In Los Angeles Area
Federal authorities announced 192 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders, and violent criminals were arrested in the greater Los Angeles area during a 30-day nationwide initiative called Operation North Star. The 192 arrests were among the 1,500 arrests of fugitives wanted for the "most serious, violet, and harmful" crimes across 10 U.S. cities, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday. "This operation is an example of the strong partnership between the U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement," said U.S. Marshal David Singer of the Central District of California in a statement. "Operation North Star has made our communities safer, by removing some of the most violent criminals from the streets of our communities." Chicago, New York City, Houston, and Philadelphia are just some of the other cities that were included in the operation. Operation North Star focused on suspects wanted for dangerous offenses, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault, authorities said. Investigators prioritized suspects accused of using firearms in their crimes, or who had risk factors "associated with violence."  FOX 11

One Injured In West Los Angeles Shooting; Investigation Underway
At least one person was injured in a shooting Thursday in the Sawtelle area of West Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police Department officers were called to the area of West Pico and Sawtelle boulevards about 4:52 p.m. on a report of an assault with a deadly weapon, said the department's Officer Tony Im. Details surrounding the shooting were unclear, but the Los Angeles Fire Department reported at least one person was taken to a hospital in unknown condition. Police closed the area to the public as an investigation into the shooting was conducted.

LAPD Asks For Public's Help Finding Missing 11-Year-Old Girl From San Fernando Valley
Police are asking for the public's help finding an 11-year-old girl from Panorama City who has been missing since Tuesday night. Nataly Arrellano was last seen Tuesday around 9:40 p.m. in the 14400 block of Nordhoff Street. Her family says she left home without bringing personal belongings. Nataly is described as an 11-year-old Hispanic girl with short black hair and brown eyes. She stands 4 feet 6 inches tall with a thin build, weighing about 110 pounds. She was last seen wearing a gray top with black leggings. "She's a young girl. She's very friendly, she has a lot of friends," her mother Kenya Arrellano said. "She likes to do TikTok videos. She likes to dance. She's a normal little girl." The LAPD is asking anyone with information to contact Mission Area Juvenile Detectives, at (818) 838-9810 or (818) 838-9800. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). ABC 7

LAPD's New FirstNet System Aims To Keep Officers In The Field, Reduce Paperwork
The Los Angeles Police Department is using technology to cut the time officers spend on filling out paperwork. The goal is get more officers out in the streets. The new AT&T-based communications system, FirstNet, will improve officers' access to information and their ability to write reports while out in the field, even while away from the computers in their patrol cars. Every officer will get an iPhone 13 with the new system installed. Chief Michel Moore says the system will "allow our officers to spend more time in the field, in the community -  with  our community - instead of in the station completing reports." For more on how the system works, please watch the report from John Gregory above.  ABC 7

Nicki Minaj's Husband, Kenneth Petty, Sentenced For Failing To Register As Sex Offender In Los Angeles
Rapper Nicki Minaj's husband, Kenneth Petty, was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles to probation and home detention for failing to register as a sex offender. Petty, 44, pleaded guilty last year to the federal charge of failing to register as a sex offender. He was also ordered to pay a $55,000 fine as part of his sentence of three years' probation and a year in home detention, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. More than two decades before he married Minaj in 2019, Petty was convicted of the attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1995. He served about four and a half years in prison, and as a condition of his conviction, he must register as a sex offender whenever he moves. He and Minaj moved to California after marrying, and have a 2-year-old son. CBS 2

Rapper Who Bragged About Committing COVID-19 Fraud To Be Imprisoned For Committing COVID-19 Fraud
A Hollywood Hills rapper who bragged in a music video about getting rich by committing COVID-19 fraud plans to plead guilty to federal fraud and firearms charges. Fontrell Antonio Baines, 33, who records music under the pseudonym “Nuke Bizzle,” claimed in one of his songs that he fraudulently took advantage of pandemic-related unemployment benefits. In the video in question, Baines held up a stack of envelopes that appeared to be from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Baines, who is originally from Memphis, admitted to using multiple addresses that he had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown to apply for unentitled EDD benefits, according to the United States Department of Justice. In one instance, Baines used the identity of a Missouri man who briefly attended school in California to apply for unemployment benefits, even though the man never worked in the state. Baines used the card issued to that man to withdraw about $2,500 in cash using the EDD-issued debit card. Since his arrest in October 2020, Baines has admitted to filing 92 fraudulent claims through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. In total, he received more than $700,000 in fraudulent benefits and applied for more than $1.2 million. KTLA 5

Drug Dealer Sentenced For Supplying JetBlue Flight Attendant With 60 Lbs Of Cocaine At LAX
A Jamaican national who supplied a JetBlue flight attendant with nearly 60 pounds of cocaine that she attempted to smuggle onto a plane at Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced Thursday to nearly 14 years in federal prison. Gaston Brown, 45, was convicted four years ago in Los Angeles of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, aggravated identity theft and other federal charges. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder to 165 months behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Brown supplied the narcotics to Marsha Reynolds, a former JetBlue flight attendant, who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and admitted she attempted to bring the narcotics through a security checkpoint at LAX by using her crew member credentials. She was sentenced in 2018 to time served -- about two years -- by a federal judge who cited her crucial testimony in the prosecution of Brown. Reynolds gained national media attention after she sprinted down an "up'' escalator and out of LAX, leaving behind her luggage -- and her Gucci shoes -- after she was randomly selected for secondary screening on March 18, 2016. The following day, she worked a JetBlue flight back to New York and surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. NBC 4

2 Men Arrested After Being Found In Glendale With 12 Saw Blades In Vehicle
Two men were arrested after burglary tools were found in their vehicle during a traffic stop in Glendale last week, police said Thursday. The incident occurred just before 2 a.m. July 3 when a Glendale police officer stopped a vehicle in an alley on the 1600 block of West Glenoaks Boulevard. While speaking to the two men inside the vehicle, the officer saw a Sawzall in the back of the car “in plain sight,” and as the driver, 29-year-old Anthony Garay, opened the glove box, the officer noticed a stack of used blades, and that Garay's hands were covered in black soot. The car was searched and police found a total of 12 saw blades from the glove box, the Sawzall with a blade attached in the rear of the car and a metal carjack, authorities said. Garay, of Los Angeles, was arrested and booked on suspicion of grand theft. The other occupant, 29-year-old Rocky Escalante, also of L.A., was arrested and booked for grand theft and possessing burglary tools. No further details about the incident were released Thursday. KTLA 5

Century City Smash-and-Grab: 14 Suspects Snatch High-End Merchandise From Westfield Mall
Bystander video captured a wild scene at the Westfield Century City mall Tuesday, as more than a dozen individuals grabbed high-end merchandise and scrambled away on foot and in cars. Police say a total of 14 male suspects grabbed goods that included high-end handbags and purses and ran out of the mall. Video shows them fleeing out the Nordstrom entrance and at least several suspects were seen getting into a waiting car. Video of the incident is circulating on social media and police are reviewing the footage as part of their investigation. An estimated value of the stolen merchandise has not been released. No suspects are in custody at this time. ABC 7

Woman, 37, Reported Missing In Sylmar
Authorities Thursday sought the public's help to locate a 37-year-old woman last seen in Sylmar. Tara Nicole Tidoni was last seen about 5 p.m. on June 19 in the 13500 block of Shablow Avenue, near Veterans Memorial Community Regional Park, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Tidoni is white, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, with green eyes, a brown pony tail and star tattoos on her left arm. She was last seen wearing black leggings and a dark-colored hoodie. Anyone with information on Tidoni's whereabouts was asked to contact the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at .

Detroit Police Officer, Armed Suspect Dead After Shooting
A Detroit police officer and a man wielding an assault-style weapon were fatally shot on the city's west side Wednesday night, Detroit police Chief James White said. White said the officer and his partner responded about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to a call of a man firing a weapon. He said when the officers arrived, they were met by the suspect who was armed with an assault-style weapon and firing in their direction. White said one officer was struck and his partner returned fire, fatally striking the suspect. The struck officer was later pronounced dead at a hospital. “With a heavy heart... I have to inform our department and our community that we lost one of our heroes today,” White told reporters outside the hospital. “A very sad and tragic event...” The officer killed was not immediately identified but White said he was a five-year veteran with the department and "comes from a long history of law enforcement officers.” White said the officer's father recently retired from the department. “The officers are heartbroken,” White said. No further details were immediately available. An investigation is ongoing. Associated Press

Longest Living Retired NYPD Cop, 99, Gets Surprise From Local Officers
Catherine Albera has a long history of serving. The 99-year-old holds the honor of being the longest living retired NYPD officer in the country, police said. What's more, Albera was one of the first two sworn female officers in the NYPD. Last month, her contributions were recognized by cops from her local police department in Delray Beach, Florida. Officers surprised Albera at her home with a birthday party and gave her Delray PD patches and challenge coins, the agency wrote on Facebook. Albera shared stories and pictures of her past, including a photo of her NYPD swearing-in ceremony and her service as a Marine in World War II. Albera served for 20 years in the NYPD before retiring. And her legacy continues. Albera says her husband, five of her sons and one grandson also went on to become NYPD officers. Albera said she was very touched by the Delray officers who took time out of their shifts to hear her stories, the agency said.  PoliceOne

Public Safety News
Firefighters Contain Commercial Fire Near Hyde Park
Firefighters extinguished a fire Friday at a vacant building near the Hyde Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The fire was reported at 3:03 a.m. at a one-story commercial structure at 8124 S. Western Ave. where firefighters found the building well involved with fire, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. It took 87 firefighters 53 minutes to contain the flames and knock down the fire, Humphrey said. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

LA County To Offer Monkeypox Vaccines To Select Residents, Based On Risk
Los Angeles County health officials said Friday they are aligning with federal guidelines on the distribution of monkeypox vaccines, offering the shots to people who have had confirmed contact with an existing case or who attended an event where there was a high risk of exposure. Doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine are limited in supply, and only people specifically contacted by the county Department of Public Health will be eligible to receive it. According to the county, nearly 800 doses have already been administered locally. "As vaccine supply increases, Public Health will align with the federal strategy of administering the monkeypox vaccine to others in high-risk groups,'' according to the county. As of this week, there were 30 known cases of monkeypox in the county. Last week, health officials confirmed local transmission of the virus, noting that some recently identified patients had no history of recent travel that might account for their infections, and some attended large events that may have spread the illness. NBC 4

LA County's Indoor Mask Mandate Could Return By End Of July
The Los Angeles Department of Public Health said Thursday that the county could move into the "high" risk COVID-19 threshold by next Thursday, prompting the return of an indoor mask mandate. "The newest projected date of crossing the threshold of 10 admissions per 100,000 now next week on July 14," said Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. If the county does cross the threshold, it will reinstate the indoor mask mandate on July 29. In a press conference, Ferrer said that an overwhelming majority of cases were from the two most recent strains of COVID-19. "The CDC does estimate that across the county for the week that ended July 2, BA.4 and BA.5 combined, accounted for just over 70% of specimens," Ferrer added. "That's a considerable increase from 39% just two weeks ago." Meanwhile, the county is preparing for what's next. It has scheduled more than 700 mobile vaccine clinics across the county with over 1,000 stand-alone facilities ready to dole out the shots. CBS 2

Local Government News
LA Mayor Signs Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday signed into law an ordinance requiring hotels to provide workers with personal-security devices to protect them from violent or threatening guests, while also extending minimum wage requirements to smaller hotels. The measure was approved last month by the City Council. The measure began with a petition drive, which gave the council the option of either adopting it outright or putting it before voters. The council opted to adopt it outright. “Hotel workers are on the front lines of our economic recovery and their work uplifts Los Angeles and is part of what makes this city an amazing place to visit,” Garcetti said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this ordinance into law -- allowing mothers to spend more time with their children and to feel safe when walking into their place of work. Their hard work and perseverance inspires me and they deserve a fair work environment.” The “Workplace Security, Workload, Wage and Retention Measures for Hotel Workers” requires hotels to supply their workers with personal security “panic button” devices. NBC 4

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: