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May 2023
L.A. On The Record: Where To Draw The Line On Cops
Law Enforcement News

L.A. On The Record: Where To Draw The Line On Cops

When they ran their insurgent campaigns for Los Angeles City Council last year, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez and community activist Eunisses Hernandez followed remarkably similar political paths. Both candidates had huge support from Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles, which campaigned on their behalf. Both candidates told the DSA, in writing, that they considered themselves to be abolitionists, favoring the “abolition of police and the prison industrial complex.” Both went on to unseat incumbents — Mitch O’Farrell and Gil Cedillo, respectively, who were viewed as more politically moderate on public safety and other issues. On Thursday, those same two council members, who symbolized some of the left’s big victories at City Hall, found themselves on opposing sides. Hernandez cast the only vote against Mayor Karen Bass’ first citywide budget, declaring during an impassioned speech that she could not support a spending plan that gives a fourth of the city’s money to policing. Soto-Martinez, on the other hand, showed he was more willing to compromise, voting with the rest of his colleagues for the mayor’s budget, which calls for the hiring of about 1,000 officers. A representative of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD’s rank-and-file officers’ union, said this week’s vote revealed the gap between campaign rhetoric and the “responsibility to govern.” Bass and the council showed that the city can pay for unarmed responders, gang intervention workers and after-school programs without cutting the LAPD, said Tom Saggau, the union’s spokesperson. “We agree with the mayor and City Council that Los Angeles is capable of doing all of the above while expanding the ranks of the LAPD,” he said.

Los Angeles Times

High-Speed Hit-and-Run Kills 2 In South L.A.; Suspect Held After Chase By Witnesses

A fleeing suspect in a high-speed hit-and-run crash in South Los Angeles was arrested early Sunday after being chased by witnesses, police said. The crash occurred at 12:38 a.m. about a half-mile west of Exposition Park, at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, killing a 21-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Melissa Podany said. The couple were in a white BMW pulling out of a fast-food restaurant when they were struck by a white Jeep Wrangler Rubicon driven by a 32-year-old man heading east at a high speed on Martin Luther King Jr. They were pronounced dead at the scene. “After the collision the driver fled immediately on foot. There were witnesses that basically gave chase, followed him, tried to stay within eyesight of the suspect, which ultimately led to his being taken into custody,” LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno told reporters at the scene. The impact knocked the BMW across the street and into parked cars. Investigators told ABC7 they are looking into whether the suspect was under the influence of alcohol and whether he was involved in a nearby street takeover prior to the crash, based on witness statements.

Los Angeles Times

Tech CEO Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances, Family Seeking Answers

A vigil was held Saturday night for Beau Mann, a 39-year-old tech CEO who was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Mann’s body was found in Santa Monica, California, on May 8 – nearly a year and a half after his disappearance. He was last seen alive on Nov. 30, 2021, at a 7-Eleven in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Studio City. An Uber picked him up from the store and dropped him off in Santa Monica. He had been in contact with his family two days prior, but a text to 911 was the last time anyone heard from him. Mann’s remains were found in the courtyard of an abandoned property on Santa Monica Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The remains were identified by the county coroner through dental records. The cause of death, however, has not been released. His family believes foul play was involved, pointing to the fact that he bought a bag of ice at the store before taking an Uber, a sign he was intending to go home.

The Hill

Woman Killed In Fatal Hit-and-Run In South LA

A 48-year-old woman was killed after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Los Angeles last Friday. Police responded to Western Avenue, just north of 43rd Avenue, where a driver hit a woman while she was crossing the street, according to a Los Angeles Police Department news release. The driver stopped for a moment, but then fled the scene northbound of Western Avenue. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died from her injuries. The suspect’s car was described as a “possible gold Toyota, unknown model, with partial California license plate “LDH.” There is no description of the suspect at this time. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Maricela Sasaki at 323-421-2500, or by email at [email protected].


Police Searching For Suspect Who Shot 4 People Outside High-Rise Building In Westlake District

A search is underway for a gunman who shot four people near a luxury residential high-rise building in the Westlake District. It happened around 2 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Ingraham Street near S Bixel. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, when officers arrived, they found four people - three men and a woman who is currently homeless - with gunshot wounds on the first floor. Police said the suspect drove up and began shooting before taking off. All four victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive, police said. They reportedly didn't know the suspect. Meanwhile, the suspect was last seen driving away in a white SUV. An exact make and model wasn't immediately released. A description of the suspect was also not available. Anyone with information is urged to contact police.


Video Shows Man Brutally Beaten By A Mob Of Bicyclists In Downtown Los Angeles

Video captured the terrifying moment a mob of bicyclists attacked a man in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday. The victim was knocked to the ground, kicked and stomped on by a group of young men in broad daylight near Hill and 6th Streets around 4 p.m. The attack took place in the jewelry district where the witness who captured the video said he was working on the 13th floor of an office building when he heard a loud commotion outside. When he looked down onto the street, that’s when he spotted the violent altercation. As the victim was being kicked and beaten, one of the suspects can be seen bashing the victim’s truck windshield with his bike handle. “It was horrible,” said the witness, identified only as Gary. “When I got to the window, I saw probably about six or seven kids on bicycles. There was a white pickup truck parked out front and I saw somebody smashing in the window with his bike.” Video shows the victim falling on the sidewalk as the group of men kick him relentlessly while yelling loudly.


Man Holed Up Inside Hollywood Hills Home Overnight Surrenders To Police

A man holed up overnight inside a Hollywood Hills home surrendered to police Sunday morning, authorities said. Police were dispatched at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday regarding an assault with a deadly weapon suspect who barricaded inside a home in the 3200 block of Primera Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Division. A SWAT team was eventually called in and the suspect was taken into custody at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday. Police would not confirm media reports that the suspect was smashing the windows of multiple vehicles in the Hollywood Hills with either a pick-axe or sledgehammer. No further information was immediately available.


LAPD Pushes Back Against Lowrider Event

The LAPD showed up to a lowrider event in Highland Park making many participants anger after hosting the event for four years. As seen on NBC4 News on May 21, 2023.

NBC 4 Video

San Fernando Valley Man, Woman Charged With Selling Fentanyl-Laced Drugs On Dark Web

A San Fernando Valley man and woman have been indicted for selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fentanyl-laced pills and cocaine around the nation on dark web marketplaces, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Brian McDonald of Van Nuys, whose aliases included “Malachai Johnson” and “SouthSideOxy,” and Ciara Clutario of Burbank, both 22, were charged in an eight-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday, May 17. From at least April 2021 until May 2023, McDonald and Clutario created vendor profiles on darknet marketplaces such as “White House Market,” “ToRReZ” and “AlphaBay,” prosecutors said in a news release. McDonald recruited and hired accomplices — including Clutario — to help with packaging and shipping the narcotics, the indictment alleges, and both McDonald and Clutario updated the drug listings and shipping information of the orders placed. McDonald and Clutario were paid in cryptocurrency that was offloaded into wallets that McDonald controlled; it would be turned into cash stored at Clutario’s and McDonald’s homes, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles Daily News

Six El Sereno Street Gang Members Arrested On Weapons, Narcotics Charges

Authorities on Friday announced that they had taken six suspected gang members or associates of an El Sereno street gang into custody for a number of charges. The investigation, which took place over the course of a year utilizing undercover personnel, resulted in the arrests as well as seizure of 11 pounds of methamphetamine and 47 firearms — several of which are reportedly "ghost guns" and "cop killer" handguns. An indictment unsealed by a Los Angeles federal jury on Friday lists seven defendants, including one who is still being sought by authorities. They have been charged with: methamphetamine trafficking, conspiring to illegally deal firearms, and firearms trafficking. "Drug trafficking and the illegal distribution of high-powered weapons brings an unacceptable level of danger to our communities," said United States Attorney Martin Estrada in a statement. "The action today is our office's second significant sweep related to gang activity this week and it signals that we are taking concrete steps to deal with violent crime across the region. We will continue to work with our federal and local partners to address violent crime and allow our community to take back their neighborhoods from violent gangs."


‘Teacher Of The Year’ At A California High School Accused Of Sex Crime Involving Student

A 38-year-old teacher at Yucaipa High School was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old male student, authorities said. Tracy Vanderhulst was booked into the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino. A news release said she was booked in lieu of $30,000 bail, but it was unclear Friday night whether she was in custody. Vanderhulst was named Yucaipa High’s 2017 “teacher of the year,” according to social media posts and local news reports from the time. In a now-deleted tweet, the school said she “offers up a rigorous mathematics curriculum and deep caring for her students.” In a YouTube video posted seven years ago, she can be seen teaching a math honors course to mostly freshman. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigators worked on the case with the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Rachel Young at (909) 890-4904. Tips can be made anonymously at (800) 782-7463 or

Los Angeles Times

About the LAPPL: Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents more than 9,200 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.

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