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 22, 2022
Law Enforcement News

Convicted killer set free under Prop. 57 arrested on gun, drug charges
A man who was convicted of murder as a teenager, then freed from prison last year because prosecutors under Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón did not object to his release, was arrested on suspicion of weapons and drug possession after leading police on a chase earlier this week. While Gascón said he would not try juveniles as adults when he was elected, his stance on cases returned to his purview under Proposition 57 has been less absolute. As of last September, Gascón's office had reviewed 17 cases, including Cachu's, in which juveniles who were tried as adults sought to be resentenced through the voter initiative. In 12 of those cases, prosecutors declined to seek a court hearing, and the case was returned to juvenile court. In some of those cases, the defendant was set free. Los Angeles Times

4 Shot In Downtown L.A. In What Might Have Been Random Attack: LAPD
Four people were shot in downtown Los Angeles Thursday night, and police are looking for two suspects, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The shooting was reported at 9:35, when a group of people standing in front of a CVS at 7th and Spring streets were targeted by two Black men, the LAPD said. The shooters, initially reported to be four or five men but later as two Black men, fled on foot, police added, and they are still at large. Police later said the victims were an adult man who was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, a man and woman who were transported in stable condition, and a man who suffered a graze wound and was treated at the scene. It's unknown what led to the shooting, but the LAPD believes this could be a random attack. It is unknown if it is gang-related, police added. The LAPD discouraged anyone from coming near the scene in  a tweet , and anyone with information is asked to call 213-486-6606. KTLA 5

Man Charged With Hate Crime In Shooting Death Of Homeless Person In Sylmar
A man suspected in the shooting death of a homeless person in the north San Fernando Valley has been charged with a hate crime, prosecutors said Thursday. Ryan Bush, 48, was shot on the morning of July 5 in Sylmar. He died at a hospital. Bush was allegedly targeted “based on a presumption of his gender identity and sexual orientation,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement. The 29-year-old suspect faces one count of murder and attempted murder with a hate crime allegation. Arraignment was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The suspect was walking past Bush, who was talking to another person, near Foothill Boulevard and Polk Street when he pulled out a gun and opened fire outside a convenience store. He approached the pair and made disparaging and offensive comments' about Bush's clothing and appearance, police said. He also was charged with shooting a bystander.  NBC 4

California Alleged Drug Traffickers In Massive Fentanyl Bust No Shows In Court After Release On Cashless Bail
Two accused drug traffickers busted with 150,000 fentanyl pills during a California traffic stop last month failed to show in court Thursday after being released on cashless bail. Defendants Jose Zendejas, 25, and Benito Madrigal, 19 – released on their own recognizance less than 24 hours after their arrest with the large stash of illicit drugs – were scheduled to appear for their arraignments at the Tulare County Courthouse in central California Thursday morning, but failed both men failed to show face. The judge called for Zendejas and Madrigal – both from Washington state – who were not in court, and the warrant for their arrest continues. The judge withdrew the prior $2 million bond and directed each be held without bond if they pop up. Before Thursday, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said he did not expect the defendants to show up. He placed blame on the state's soft-on-crime attitude and so-called criminal justice reform for a policy that allowed the two alleged drug traffickers to go free with nothing but a promise to come to court. "I didn't learn about the order until it was far too late," Boudreaux previously told Fox News. "I couldn't believe we had 150,00 fentanyl pills — one of the most dangerous epidemics facing our nation today, with people in custody that we may potentially be able to impact the future of this type of drug trafficking organization… and we let them go." FOX 11

Man Robbed Of $10,000 Outside Of Sherman Oaks Wells Fargo
The man who was robbed outside of a Sherman Oaks Wells Fargo said he'll never forget the footsteps running toward him. "As soon as I heard the footsteps the guy squatted down and tried to grab something from my arm," said William. "I walked out with a bag." William, who asked CBSLA to not give his full name, said he was inside Wells Fargo for about 45 minutes getting a bag filled with $10,000 of cash for mid-year house expenses. He walked out of the doors of the bank and over to his car. Within seconds, a man dressed in all white ran up to him and tried to steal William's money. He got away briefly by jumping over a wall but fell over with the suspect standing above him. "It was just in pure fear and then I saw his gun," said William. "As I was falling back, the gun was pointed at my face and I just threw the bag as far as I could." Within moments, the gunman picked up the cash, ran back to his Mercedes with a getaway driver inside and drives off. William believed that someone inside the bank tipped the robber off since others came out before him. "There's six other people that came out before me, all softer targets all in cars next to them and for whatever reason they chose me," he said.  CBS 2

Traffic Stop Leads Burbank Police To Seize 100,000 Pills Laced With Fentanyl
Two Arizona men who were allegedly hauling 100,000 fake oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl were arrested after one of them urinated outdoors in the vicinity of two observant Burbank police officers. The drug bust started when two uniformed officers on patrol saw what they believed to be a man urinating outdoors in the parking lot of a gas station on Alameda Avenue in Burbank on July 12. When officers saw a man standing near a dumpster in the parking lot around 1 a.m., they tried to make contact, with one officer yelling "hello," in his direction, officials say. The man avoided eye contact and kept walking away. The officers drove past the dumpster and saw a puddle on the ground. The man got into a Nissan with Washington plates with another man and they drove off from the gas station. Police say in addition to the public urination, the vehicle failed to stop at the sidewalk, in violation of Burbank traffic code. The officers decided to make a traffic stop and the suspects pulled over. Eventually the traffic stop led to a search of the vehicle. Burbank police say they found a loaded handgun, 50 rounds of ammunition and more than 100,000 fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl. ABC 7

Five Men Were Arrested By Burbank Police Investigating Thefts Of Catalytic Converters
Five men were arrested by Burbank police investigating thefts of catalytic converters. Officers were sent to Olive Avenue and Sixth Street about 4:40 a.m. Saturday on a report that several men were trying to steal a catalytic converter from a Toyota Prius, the Burbank Police Department reported. “When the officers arrived, they spoke with the reporting party, who provided them with the description of two vehicles and a group of males involved in the theft,” police said in a statement. “The officers located the victim's vehicle and observed evidence consistent with the reporting party's statement.” The officers searched the area and found two vehicles and detained five suspects, police said. “During a search of both vehicles, officers located floor jacks, reciprocating saws, reciprocating saw blades, and evidence indicating the males were involved in the crime of stealing catalytic converters,” police said. Los Angeles Daily News

LA Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Sex Trafficking Teenage Girl
A man who forcibly brought a teenage girl from Arizona to Los Angeles to work as a prostitute was sentenced to ten years behind bars, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday. Jahque Williams, 21, of Los Angeles, was sentenced last week in federal court in Phoenix, Arizona. He had previously pleaded guilty to a federal charge of sex trafficking of a minor. On July 23, 2020, the Human Trafficking Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department found the then-17-year-old girl, who appeared to have been physically assaulted, at a Los Angeles hospital. The victim indicated that she first met Williams four days earlier through her social media account and he invited her to a party in Phoenix, prosecutors said. At the party, she realized it was a "recruiting party'' for commercial sex workers, she told investigators. Williams then brought the teenager and a woman to Los Angeles, where he told the girl she would work for him, telling her how much money she would bring back each night, according to federal prosecutors. On the trip to Los Angeles, Williams prevented the minor from leaving the car by activating the child lock on his vehicle, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona. NBC 4

LA Man Gets 11 Years In $27 Million Attempted Fraud
An Encino man was sentenced Tuesday, July 19, to 11 years and three months behind bars for attempting to bilk the federal coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program out of $27 million by submitting more than two dozen bogus applications for loans. Robert Benlevi, 53, was also ordered to pay $3 million in restitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Benlevi delivered the applications to four banks from April to June 2020 on behalf of eight purported companies he owned, although none of them actually had any employees. A federal criminal jury in downtown Los Angeles found Benlevi guilty in March of multiple counts of bank fraud, making false statements in a loan application and money laundering. In the applications, Benlevi sought a total of $27 million in forgivable PPP loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Benlevi claimed that each of his companies had 100 employees and an average monthly payroll of $400,000. Benlevi also submitted fabricated IRS documents. Los Angeles Daily News

2 New York Officers Shot, 1 Dead; Mayor Declares State Of Emergency
Two Rochester police officers have been shot, including one fatally, leading the Western New York city's mayor to declare a state of emergency. Rochester First reports two cops and a female bystander were shot on Bauman Street in the City of Rochester around 9:15 p.m. Thursday. Police said the officers were patrolling when at least one male approached them and opened fire. One officer was taken to Rochester General Hospital and the other, who was critically wounded, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. Sources told WHAM that one of the officers died; the other was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released. The woman was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, officials said. The victims have not been identified. Rochester Mayor Malik Evans declared a state of emergency due to gun violence. “Our police officers are out there sacrificing their lives for us every day,” Evans said. “They perform their jobs in dangerous conditions as we go about our daily lives and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. I pray for the comfort of the officers shot tonight, and for their families, friends, and all of their fellow first responders.” A witness told WHAM that she heard 10 shots, then five more - from what sounded like a different weapon. She said the female shooting victim was her neighbor. PoliceOne

Watch: South Carolina Police Officer Rescues Woman From Burning Car
“I can't move, I can't breathe,” a woman trapped in a burning car told a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina police officer working to rescue her. The Mount Pleasant Police Department shared video of the May 28 rescue on its Facebook page earlier today. Officer Doug Richards was driving home from work in his patrol car after shift when he came across the crash in another jurisdiction. "Is anybody in the vehicle?" Richards asks twice before turning a fire extinguisher on the flames. "I'm going to try to get you out," he tells the woman. "I can't move. My foot," she says. Richards radios in to dispatch: "Get fire here and EMS ASAP. I can't get her out of the car. The driver's side is collapsed on her foot." "I don't wanna die," the woman cries. "I got you sweetheart ... You're OK. You're not gonna die," Richards says. He was able to pull the woman free before fire and EMS arrived on the scene. The rescue was caught on video, which can be viewed below. PoliceOne

Public Safety News

Three Firefighters Injured While Battling Large Fire At Commercial Building In South LA
Firefighters quickly handled a large fire that overtook a commercial building in South Los Angeles Thursday morning. The blaze was first reported just after 4:50 a.m. on W. Manchester Avenue and S. Figueroa Street at a 3,600 sq. ft. building constructed in 1986. When Los Angeles Fire Department crews arrived, they found heavy flames already extended to the exterior of the building, prompting them to engage in defensive operations, battling the flames from outside due to threat to the structural integrity of the building. Two firefighters were injured after a portion of the exterior of the building collapsed, sending debris flying in their direction. According to LAFD, both firefighters sustained minor injuries, but were still taken to a hospital for treatment. While LAFD did not state the nature of the third firefighter's injury, it was considered to be non-life-threatening and he was taken to also taken to a nearby hospital. In all, it took 89 firefighters 42 minutes to contain the flames.  CBS 2

L.A. County Goes It Alone In Push For New Coronavirus Mask Rules, Igniting Familiar Debate
Sustained growth in coronavirus-positive hospitalizations has Los Angeles County on the brink of a new public indoor mask mandate, a move officials say could help curb still-widespread transmission, but it has raised some concerns among business groups and sparked questions about its necessity. Though the count remains well below the peaks of earlier surges, hospitalizations have swelled. In L.A. County, 1,299 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized as of Monday — up 60% since the start of the month. The story is much the same in intensive care units, where the latest daily census, 137, is far below the highs of previous waves but has increased almost 51% since July 1. Although they're not as high as during the peak of previous waves, the current number of coronavirus-positive patients in ICUs is roughly the same as when L.A. County last implemented an indoor mask mandate, on July 17, 2021. On that date, there were 134 coronavirus-positive patients in intensive care units. Los Angeles Times

You Just Tested Yourself For COVID-19. Should You Report The Results To L.A. County?
The latest surge in COVID-19 infections in California may surpass last winter's tidal wave, health officials say. And judging by wastewater tests, infections may be even more widespread than the official numbers indicate. One reason is that some people's symptoms are so mild that they don't seek treatment or even get tested. But another significant factor may be the large number of people using at-home tests and not reporting the results. “Home testing leads to marked underestimates of case numbers,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of UC San Francisco's Department of Medicine, said in an email. “Clearly many hundreds of thousands of people are now diagnosing themselves with positive home tests (generally plus symptoms), and these are not reported.” Some test kits advise you to call your healthcare provider. Others want you to use the test maker's app. The problem, though, is that the healthcare system frowns on user-generated test results — local health officials prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to data. In Los Angeles County and many other jurisdictions, there is no way for people to report the results from store-bought home tests. Los Angeles Times

Monkeypox Virus Could Become Entrenched As New STD In U.S.
The spread of monkeypox in the U.S. could represent the dawn of a new sexually transmitted disease, though some health officials say the virus that causes pimple-like bumps might yet be contained before it gets firmly established. Experts don't agree on the likely path of the disease, with some fearing that it is becoming so widespread that it is on the verge of becoming an entrenched STD — like gonorrhea, herpes and HIV. But no one's really sure, and some say testing and vaccines can still stop the outbreak from taking root. So far, more than 2,400 U.S. cases have been reported as part of an international outbreak that emerged two months ago. Health officials are not sure how fast the virus has spread. They have only limited information about people who have been diagnosed, and they don't know how many infected people might be spreading it unknowingly. They also don't know how well vaccines and treatments are working. One impediment: Federal health officials do not have the authority to collect and connect data on who has been infected and who has been vaccinated. KTLA 5

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: