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Aug 2021
Newswatch August 18, 2021

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Law Enforcement News

Search For Suspect Continues After San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Is Shot, Wounded
A deputy was shot Tuesday afternoon while attempting to make a traffic stop, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the deputy attempted the traffic stop about 4:15 p.m. near North Waterman Avenue and East 10th Street inside San Bernardino city limits. The deputy called in the stop and seconds later radioed that there were shots fired and he’d been hit, Bachman said. The suspect fled in a vehicle and remains at large. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said deputies arrived to find the deputy, described only as a 27-year-old man who has been with the department for four years, down. The responding deputies started first aid, put on a tourniquet, put him in a patrol car and drove him to Community Hospital of San Bernardino, the closest medical center to the scene, Dicus said. The deputy suffered what appear to be superficial injuries to his face and had shrapnel in one arm, the sheriff said. Dicus said he visited with the deputy, who was surrounded by family. The deputy was able to speak and the sheriff said he assured him he and his family would be taken care of. The San Bernardino Police Department is handling the shooting investigation because the incident happened in city jurisdiction, Dicus said.
Los Angeles Times
LA City Council votes to pursue ban on strobe lights at protests
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, Aug. 17 to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would ban strobe lights from protests and demonstrations. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced the motion — which was seconded by Councilman Joe Buscaino — on July 28, calling strobe lights capable of disorienting or temporarily blinding police officers and protesters. The motion first passed the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Aug. 4, with only Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson voting no. Harris-Dawson also dissented Tuesday, along with Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilmen Mike Bonin, Curren Price and Mark Ridley-Thomas. Buscaino spoke in support of the motion, saying: “This is aimed for the anarchists who come to our city, who protest and wreak havoc and cause hell, and most importantly, may use a strobe light against our officers who are there to protect the First Amendment rights.”
Los Angeles Daily News

Four Additional LAPD Employees Hospitalized With COVID-19
Four additional Los Angeles Police Department employees were hospitalized with COVID-19 this week, but the four that were hospitalized with the virus last week were released and are recovering at home, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. The department experienced a slight decrease in the number of new cases reported in the last week, with 45 personnel testing positive, compared to 52 the previous week. A total of 134 employees are at home recovering, an increase of 12 from the previous week, according to the LAPD. So far during the pandemic, 2,759 LAPD employees have returned to duty after contracting the virus, Moore said. In the last week, 26 employees returned to work. Moore told the Police Commission on Tuesday that mobile vaccination clinics will be deployed to each station starting as early as next Monday.

Venice Hit-and-Run: Alleged DUI Driver, 16, Slams Into Woman Pushing Infant In Stroller
Horrifying video shows a woman pushing a baby in a stroller when they are mowed down by a driver in Venice, later identified by police as a 16-year-old under the influence of drugs. Los Angeles police said the crash happened the morning of Aug. 6 at Speedway and Galleon streets. Video shows a woman pushing a stroller when a car drives straight into them, sending her and the 8-month-old child flying into the air. The woman was squeezing against a wall as the car approached, but the sedan plowed into her, sending her tumbling over the hood. The woman was not seriously injured and in the video she immediately jumped to the stroller to check on the baby. The car then kept on going but the driver was chased down by onlookers. The bystanders were seen trying to kick in the window of the vehicle with the teen driver still inside. Investigators say the 16-year-old driver was under the influence of drugs and was driving a rental car. It's unknown how he got possession of the rental car. LAPD said the driver was released to his parents because he's underage and since he is a juvenile, the alleged DUI crash is not considered a violent crime. He is expected to be in court in October.

LA’s Police Chief Updates Plans To Boost Vaccinations Among Officers, Addresses Violence At Anti-Vax Protest
Mobile vaccine centers will travel to the Los Angeles Police Department’s 21 stations beginning as soon as Monday to boost the number of officers inoculated against COVID-19, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday, Aug. 17. Mobile clinics should be open for a 20-hour period to offer the first dose of the vaccine at each station, Moore said during a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission. It should take about two weeks to set up at all 21 of the department’s stations, and the process will be repeated 28 days later to administer the second dose. The plan was initially announced during a prior meeting of the commission. This week’s update comes as city officials work out the details of proposed rules mandating either vaccination or frequent COVID-19 testing for all city employees. There have been 2,881 confirmed cases of the virus among LAPD staff so far, according to the most recent statistics released by the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center. A total of 2,759 of those people have returned to work, Moore said Tuesday.
Los Angeles Daily News

Driver In Custody After Leading LAPD On Pursuit In South L.A.
A driver was taken into custody after leading police on a pursuit through South Los Angeles Tuesday night. Sky5 was above the scene at 11:10 p.m., as the vehicle moved at a slow speed with at least three LAPD patrol vehicles close behind. Police successfully laid out at least one spike strip and were attempting another when the vehicle came to standstill near 54th Street and Gramercy Place. The driver remained in the vehicle for a few minutes before opening the car door and stepping out with his hands up. He took a few steps backwards, away from police, but then got on his knees and surrendered. The man was taken into custody shortly after. No further details were immediately available.

Arraignment Delayed For Man Accused In Wrong-Way Crash That Killed Girlfriend
A Los Angeles man made his initial court appearance Tuesday on felony charges stemming from a wrong-way crash on the Ventura (101) Freeway in Encino that left his girlfriend dead and their four children injured. Arraignment for Cesar Iban Torres, 31, was rescheduled for Sept. 2 at the Van Nuys Courthouse. He was charged Monday with one count each of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest, along with four counts each of attempted murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Torres was driving a 2003 Lincoln SUV westbound in the eastbound lanes of the 101 Freeway near the San Diego (405) Freeway, when the vehicle collided head-on with a 2016 Kenworth tractor-trailer at about 7:10 p.m. last Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol. Torres’ girlfriend, Aimee Garcia, 26, was killed in the crash, and the couple’s four children — who range in age from 1 to 7 — suffered moderate injuries, authorities said. After the crash, Torres attempted to flee, according to the CHP, which also alleged that arriving officers “made contact with Torres, where he became combative and a use of force occurred while taking Torres into custody.”

South LA Explosion: Man Accused Of Transporting Illegal Fireworks Pleads Not Guilty
A South Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of illegally transporting tons of explosives, including dangerous homemade fireworks that were detonated by police, leading to a massive explosion that destroyed a specially designed containment vehicle and injured 17 people. Arturo Ceja III planned to sell the fireworks throughout the neighborhood in celebration of the Fourth of July holiday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. No further court dates were immediately scheduled Tuesday at Ceja's arraignment. The federal complaint alleges that Ceja, 26, made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives -- including aerial displays and large homemade fireworks containing explosive materials -- that he transported to his home in rental vans. Most of the explosives were purchased at Area 51, a fireworks dealer in Pahrump, Nevada. The complaint notes that fireworks in California can be sold for as much as four times what purchasers pay for them in Nevada.
FOX 11

Robert Durst Admitted At His L.A. Murder Trial That He Would Lie Under Oath To Get Out Of Trouble
A prosecutor attempted to ensnare Robert Durst in a web of deceit Tuesday after he admitted at his murder trial that he lied under oath in the past and would lie to get out of trouble. The New York real estate heir said he hadn’t lied during five days of testimony, but a series of inconsistencies during cross-examination in Los Angeles County Superior Court threw his credibility into question and exposed the risk of putting a defendant on the witness stand. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin, who relished the prospect of grilling Durst and prepared a 200-page outline for questioning, got him to acknowledge there are some acts he would never be honest about. Lewin asked how jurors were supposed to believe Durst. “If you’ve said you’ve taken an oath to tell the truth but you’ve also just told us that you would lie if you needed to,” Lewin asked, “can you tell me how that would not destroy your credibility?” “Because what I’m saying is mostly the truth,” Durst said. “There are certain things I would lie about, certain very important things.” Durst said he would never admit killing Susan Berman — even if he had done so.

Oxnard Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Sexually Assaulting Several Women In L.A., Ventura Counties
A 27-year-old Oxnard man has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting several women in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties, officials said. The incidents involving Dustin Alba date back to June 2012, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 30. On June 26, 2018, Alba allegedly sexually assaulted a woman while she was visiting Alba at his home in Chatsworth. He was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department on suspicion of attempted rape, but at the time, the District Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges in the case, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. On Jan. 4, 2020, Alba allegedly sexually assaulted a woman who was visiting him at his home in Thousand Oaks. That case was submitted to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration, officials said. But on Aug. 23, 2020, a third victim reported Alba raped her while at his home in an unincorporated area of Oxnard. He was arrested Sept. 14, 2020, on suspicion of rape and other sex assault counts in connection with the January incident, officials said.

San Francisco DA Faces Second Recall Effort As Residents ‘Fed Up' With Progressive ‘Zero Consequence' Policies
A second recall effort launched against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin demonstrates how residents are "fed up" with his progressive policies, as his push to reduce jail funding and refusal to prosecute repeat offenders ensures the streets remain marred with open-air drug dealing and violent crime now stretching into the suburbs, a leader of the prominent local police union tells Fox News. Last week, the first Republican-backed recall effort fell just 1,714 signatures short of the 51,325 required to trigger a special election to bring the question of ousting Boudin before voters. Now a second recall effort is being organized, which Boudin brushed off Monday night as proof that his so-called successes in reducing incarceration has "angered the billionaire class." But it’s his progressive approach that’s actually hurting average San Franciscans, San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya tells Fox News, as Boudin’s "swiftest revolving door in criminal justice" sends the message to offenders that there are no consequences for their actions. "Police are the bad guys, and the bad guys are the good guys in the mind of a progressive," Montoya said. "Chesa’s good at the blame game. We’re going to call him Mr. Deflector because he’s always pointing the finger left or right and never at the man in the mirror."
FOX News

Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor Dies After June Shooting
The Daytona Beach Police Department said on Tuesday that Officer Jason Raynor has died. Officer Raynor, 26, was shot in the head on June 23 while responding to a call of suspicious activity. A manhunt for the suspect, Othal Wallace, 29, went nationwide, with Wallace eventually being tracked down in a treehouse near Atlanta, Georgia days later. Wallace was extradited back to Volusia County after the shooting and has remained behind bars. Officer Raynor passed away at 8:09 p.m. at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach with his family by his side, according to a police department spokesman. Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young released a statement about Officer Raynor's death. He said, in part, "It is with an extremely heavy heart that I inform everyone that our beloved brother, Officer Jason Raynor, has passed away," Chief Young said. "The outpouring of love and support that all of you have shown to our police department and to Officer Raynor's family since he was severely injured has been nothing short of amazing." An ‘End of Watch’ call was also given for Officer Jaynor on Tuesday evening.
FOX 11

Ballistic Vest Saves Texas Deputy In Traffic Stop Shooting, Sheriff Says
A search continued Tuesday for a gunman who shot and injured a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff's Office on Monday evening during a traffic stop. Deputy Breanton Chitwood was saved by his bulletproof vest, said Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde in a Facebook video post. Chitwood was slightly injured when the bullet struck his vest in the upper chest, Lyde said. "The vest caught the bullet," the sheriff said. "He's going to be fine." The sheriff said Chitwood managed to fire one round at the gunman, striking the vehicle. The suspect drove away from the scene after the shooting. The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Monday near Jolly, Texas, in Clay County. Jolly is about 10 miles southeast of Wichita Falls. A Blue Alert was issued Monday night by the Texas Department of Public Safety for the unknown gunman and the vehicle, a white Cadillac sedan.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Michigan Governor Proposes $75M To Hire More Cops, Combat Crime
With crime up statewide, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday announced a $75 million three-pronged program that aims to reduce violence by using emergency COVID-19 funds. The proposal, which is subject to legislative approval, would utilize money from the American Rescue Plan to invest in police departments to hire and retain officers; get illegal guns off the street; and provide education and job training. "We are working together to address the crime increases we've seen across the state and across the country," Whitmer said at a press conference Monday at the Farwell Recreation Center on Detroit's east side. Whitmer said crime statewide increased by 12% last year. "People are scared," she said. "No one should feel unsafe." Whitmer's announcement came after former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, a Republican who is expected to run for governor, announced his own law enforcement initiative. The governor said the plan seeks to tackle crime by allocating money to hire more cops and encourage them to live in the communities they serve while providing education and training that will give young people opportunities that will steer them from criminal activity.
The Detroit News
Public Safety News
LA County Mandates Masks For ‘Mega Events' Like Concerts, Sports Games Regardless Of Vaccination Status
Los Angeles County has updated its public health order mandating people wear masks at "outdoor mega events," regardless of vaccination status. The county defined "outdoor mega events" as any event that attracts a crowd of over 10,000 people, including music or food festivals, car shows, large endurance events and marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts. The revised health order requires everyone at an outdoor mega event to wear a face mask, except when actively eating or drinking. It also clarified that "actively eating or drinking" is the "limited time during which the mask can be removed briefly to eat or drink, and that it must be immediately put back on afterward," the order states. The new order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. The mandate will affect people attending games at Dodger Stadium, as well as Rams/Chargers games at SoFi Stadium, LAFC games at Banc of California Stadium and LA Galaxy Games at Dignity Health Sports Park. Concert-goers at the Hollywood Bowl will also be affected.
FOX 11

30 More COVID Deaths Push LA County Closer To Grim 25,000 Mark
Los Angeles County's death toll from COVID-19 moved closer to the grim milestone of 25,000 Tuesday, with health officials confirming another 30 fatalities due to the virus, along with more than 2,900 new infections. The 30 new deaths lifted the countywide death toll from throughout the pandemic to 24,935. The number of people hospitalized with COVID jumped to 1,754, according to state figures, up from 1,679 on Monday. There were 397 people being treated in intensive care, down from 402 a day ago. The county Department of Public Health logged another 2,907 COVID infections, noting that the number may still be low due to continued delays in reporting from the weekend. The total number of cases confirmed throughout the pandemic rose to 1,355,698. The rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 3.5% as of Tuesday, nearly half the rate from two weeks ago.
Who Qualifies For A 3rd COVID Vaccine Dose In L.A. County And How To Get The Shot
Los Angeles County over the weekend started administering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to people with weakened immune systems. Studies have shown that some immunocompromised people don’t build enough protection after receiving two vaccine doses. Because of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved giving an additional dose to protect the small, vulnerable group. L.A. County on Saturday released information about who can get the additional shot and how to go about getting it. Here’s what we know about who’s eligible, when a third shot can be given and how the process of getting another dose works. As of now, booster doses are not recommended for the general public. L.A. County is advising residents with weakened immune systems to talk to their doctors about the need to get another dose and the best time to do it based on their treatment plans — especially for those about to start or restart immunosuppressive treatment.

Local Government News
L.A. City Council To Vote On Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine For City Employees
Los Angeles city employees would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October unless they are granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons, under a new ordinance up for a vote Wednesday at the City Council. The proposed law permits people with medical conditions or “sincerely held religious beliefs” that prevent them from getting the shots to seek an exemption, requiring regular testing for such employees. However, it does not allow L.A. municipal employees to simply opt for testing if they wish to avoid getting vaccinated for other reasons, because “the city’s goal is to have a vaccinated workforce,” the proposal states. Under the proposal, getting vaccinated is a condition of city employment and a “minimum requirement for all employees” unless they are approved for an exemption. The L.A. ordinance does not explicitly spell out what happens if someone refuses to get vaccinated without an approved exemption or balks at other requirements.
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles City Council Votes To Pursue Ban On Strobe Lights At Protests
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would ban strobe lights from protests and demonstrations. The vote was 9-5. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced the motion — which was seconded by Councilman Joe Buscaino — on July 28, calling strobe lights capable of disorienting or temporarily blinding police officers and protesters. The motion first passed the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Aug. 4, with only Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson voting no. Harris-Dawson also dissented Tuesday, along with Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilmen Mike Bonin, Curren Price and Mark Ridley-Thomas. Dissenting council members expressed concern that the definition of lights prohibited in the motion was too wide and includes cell phones, flash lights and bike lights that people carry for safety. Rodriguez responded to Harris-Dawson during the committee meeting by saying that the motion would get the conversation started, and details of what types of lights would be included in the ban would be hashed out while the ordinance is drafted.



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