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Nov 2021
Newswatch November 12, 2021

Good Morning. Join us for the 4th Annual LAPD Foothill Fitness Run on Saturday, November 13th at the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center. The event will begin at 6:30 a.m. Registration is now open and includes an official t-shirt and medal. Click here for more information.

Law Enforcement News

Celebrities Among Those Targeted In Spate Of Follow-Home Robberies, LAPD Says
A crew of masked robbers tracked actor and former BET host Terrence Jenkins to his Sherman Oaks home early Wednesday and attempted to block him in with an SUV, but he was able to flee in his car as shots were fired. Authorities say it’s the latest in a series of follow-home robberies. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore warned that his department has seen a spike in such crimes in recent weeks in more affluent areas of the Westside. Among those targeted in recent weeks was “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley’s Encino mansion, where masked robbers made off with as much as $1 million in valuables. Detectives believe she was followed to her home before two men smashed their way into the house. LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Robbery Homicide Division, said investigators believe multiple robbery crews are behind the series of crimes in the last few weeks. It was unclear how many follow-home robberies there have been and how many crews are involved. LAPD crime statistics show that citywide robberies in 2021 are only up 1.9% compared to 2020 and more than 15% down from in 2019. But at least two cases involving celebrities have generated media attention. Shortly before 3 a.m., Jenkins and a passenger in his car were surrounded by the masked bandits, and one of them ordered the actor out of the car at gunpoint, police said. Jenkins managed to evade the robbery crew’s sport utility vehicle, but one of the assailants began firing at his car, according to Los Angeles police. Jenkins was able to flag down a California Highway Patrol cruiser about a mile from his home, and the robbers fled.
Los Angeles Times

Group Says It Has Enough Signatures Supporting Recall Against L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin
A group looking to oust Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin said Wednesday it has submitted more than 39,000 signatures in support of a recall measure — a number proponents believe is enough to qualify for the ballot. Under the city’s election rules, the Recall Bonin 2021 campaign must submit more than 27,000 valid signatures from registered voters in Bonin’s coastal district, which stretches from Los Angeles International Airport north to Pacific Palisades. The city clerk will determine in the coming weeks whether those petitions, and signatures, are legally valid. Katrina Schmitt, a recall proponent who lives in Venice, said the large number of signatures shows that voters in Bonin’s district are frustrated by homelessness, crime and a lack of responsiveness from the councilman’s office. To have so many signatures, she said, “sends a strong message about what we want.” “We want him gone, we want him out. This is the official process to fire someone,” she said.

Shooting Investigation Underway At Hollywood Strip Club
Los Angeles police officers were investigating a shooting at the Crazy Girls strip club in Hollywood early Thursday morning. The shooting was reported around 4:20 a.m. at the strip club located near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. A witness reported they saw dozens of people run frantically out of the club and onto the street, adding they heard at least 20 gunshots. Arriving LAPD officers did not locate anyone who had been shot at the scene. However, a short time later, they received another call from two men near the 101 Freeway who had apparently fled the scene and identified themselves as the shooting victims. They were taken to an area hospital. The extent of their injuries is unknown. LAPD investigators were canvassing security footage and interviewing witnesses. The investigation is active and ongoing.
FOX 11

Pacoima Gunshot Victim Involved In Crash In Arleta
A gunshot victim crashed into a light pole in Arleta while trying to get to a hospital Wednesday night, authorities said. The shooting occurred at 9:35 p.m. in the 9800 block of Rincon Avenue in Pacoima. The victim was with a group of other males when they were approached by a suspect. An altercation occurred, and then the suspect produced a gun and shot the victim, police said. The victim then jumped into a car and tried to drive to a hospital, but crashed into a light pole at Arleta Avenue and Osborne Street in Arleta. The collision sheared the pole, which came crashing down onto the top of the car. Firefighters responded and the victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital with a leg injury, police said. He is stable. The suspect ran from the shooting scene and remains at large.

Hate Crimes Reported In Los Angeles County Increased 20% In 2020
Reports of hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose to 635 last year, reaching their highest point in a dozen years and continuing a trend of increases, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations. The survey showed that the 20% increase in hate crime was largely due to a 53% spike in racial crimes. Crimes targeting Blacks, Latinos, whites and Asians all rose dramatically. The increase reflects the largest numeric and percentage increase since 2003. Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 76% in 2020, mirroring a trend in many other jurisdictions as physical and verbal attacks on Asian Americans rose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 44 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in the county in 2020, more than three-quarters involved physical violence -- up from 58% in 2018, the report shows. Racist crimes constituted 61% of all hate crimes, compared to 48% the previous year. Blacks were grossly over-represented: Although they represent only 9% of county residents, Blacks comprised 42% of racial crime victims. LGBTQ individuals were also among those most frequently targeted in 2020. Sexual orientation crimes increased 17% and 84% of them targeted gay men. At the same time, anti-transgender crimes declined last year from 42 to 32 but it was still the third-largest number ever reported in the county.

Heidi Planck Disappearance: New Video May Help Find Answers In Search For Missing LA Mom
On Sunday it will be a month since 39-year-old Heidi Planck was last seen, and a new video from a security camera nearby may be a major clue in her mysterious disappearance. It’s just a few seconds of video that shows the missing Los Angeles mother walking her Bernedoodle in a downtown LA alley, but it’s significant to the search. "It definitely gave us hope. It showed us that this is somewhere that she was walking her dog. The dog obviously always a lead to that building and to that area," said Planck's friend, Danielle Nadolny. That’s because about 30-minutes after this video was recorded, Planck's dog was found wandering the 29th floor of a secure, high-rise residential building in downtown LA – with no signs of Planck and no apparent reason she'd even be there. "It’s mysterious, it's heartbreaking… maybe she knew somebody down there that I didn’t know," Nadolny said. As far as her friends knew, she had no links to the area and no reason to be there. The single mom of a 10-year-old boy was last seen getting into her Range Rover with her dog at her house in the Palms area on Oct. 17. This newly obtained video is the first glimpse of her, later that same night.
FOX 11

Police Determine USC Campus Is Safe To Reopen After Possible Bomb Threat
A few buildings of the USC campus are being evacuated due to a bomb threat Thursday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Grace Ford Salvatori Hall, Sample Hall and Wallis Annenberg Hall were being evacuated, the university said in a tweet. As LAPD and the Department of Public Safety conduct a search, everyone was advised to avoid the area. The initial call came in about a possible suspicious device, according to LAPD. Once they arrived on the scene, officers could not find any evidence of the suspected device. LAPD and DPS later determined the evacuated buildings were safe and the buildings were reopened, according to the university.

Man To Plead Guilty For Apparent Role In Mac Miller’s Fatal OD In Studio City
A man has agreed to plead guilty in Los Angeles to a federal criminal charge for supplying counterfeit pharmaceutical pills containing fentanyl to the drug dealer accused of selling them to rapper Mac Miller, who then suffered a fatal overdose, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday, Nov. 10. Ryan Reavis, 38, who lived in West Los Angeles before moving to Arizona in 2019, will formally enter his plea to a single federal count of distribution of fentanyl on a date to be scheduled, according to the DOJ. On Sept. 4, 2018, at the direction of co-defendant Stephen Walter, 48, Reavis knowingly distributed counterfeit oxycodone pills to co-defendant Cameron Pettit, 30, of West Hollywood, according to his plea agreement. Reavis admitted to knowing that the pills contained fentanyl or some other controlled substance. Shortly after Reavis handed the fentanyl-laced pills to Pettit, Pettit distributed the pills to 26-year-old Malcolm McCormick — who recorded and performed under the name Mac Miller — two days before the rapper suffered a fatal overdose in Studio City on Sept. 7, 2018, the DOJ said.
Los Angeles Daily News

Man Charged With 18 Counts In Inglewood Rape Case: Police
A man has been charged with 18 felonies in an Inglewood rape case and he may be tied to other crimes dating back to 2007, police announced Thursday. Andrew James Hyde, 34, is facing multiple counts each of rape by force, false imprisonment and sodomy without consent, according to a news release from the Inglewood Police Department. Investigators believe there may be more victims tied to the suspect who haven’t come forward to report incidents. “Information developed during the investigation indicates Hyde may have been committing similar crimes throughout the greater Los Angeles County area since at least 2007,” police said in the news release. Police did not elaborate on what led to the current charges or any past crimes. Anyone with information about Hyde or any cases related to him is encouraged to call the department’s special victims detectives via a 24-hour hotline at 888-412-7463.

$1 Million In Drugs Seized In Bust Targeting Mexican Ring, Huntington Beach Police Say
An investigation into a drug-trafficking organization based in Mexico has resulted in the arrest of two people and the seizure of more than $1 million in narcotics, the Huntington Beach Police Department said this week. Two men, ages 21 and 29, were taken into custody Tuesday night in the city of Bell, Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said. Their names have not been released. At the time of his arrest, one of the men was in possession of 20 pounds of drugs suspected to be methamphetamines, Carey said. After a search warrant was served at his residence, detectives recovered 370 additional pounds of suspected methamphetamines, 17 kilograms of suspected cocaine and fentanyl and two handguns. Huntington Beach police detectives have been investigating the drug trafficking organization operating in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Carey said. Multiple suspects have been identified in the investigation, which ran throughout October.
Los Angeles Times

SoCal Parents Booked For Murder In Fentanyl Overdose Death Of 15-Month-Old Son
A pair of Southern California parents have been booked for murder in the Fentanyl overdose death of their 15-month-old son. Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigators determined that Adler Metcalf, 22, and Sandy Acuna, 20, both of Jurupa Valley, were responsible for possessing the Fentanyl that killed their child. On Sept. 1, deputies were dispatched to a call in the 5400 block of 34th Street of Jurupa Valley after a report of a juvenile who was not breathing. Despite life-saving efforts, the infant was declared dead. "Through extensive investigation by investigators from the Jurupa Valley Station and investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Overdose Death Investigations and Narcotics Unit, it was determined the descendant, a 15-month-old juvenile, was a victim of homicide due to a Fentanyl overdose," the Riverside County Sheriff's Department wrote in a press release Wednesday. On Wednesday, Metcalf and Acuna were located and taken into custody without incident and both were later booked for murder. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department asked to remind citizens of the dangers of illicit narcotics many of which may contain Fentanyl.
FOX 11

Chicago Civilian Oversight Suspends Slain Officer, FOP Demands Apology
Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) has issued a report on a 2019 raid on the wrong home and recommended punishment for some officers involved. During the raid, a woman who lived at the home was reportedly forced to stand naked in the room as officers searched. In a staggering display of insensitivity. COPA's report recommends suspending slain officer Ella French for three days. French was murdered in August during a traffic stop. The report says about French's actions during the 2019 raid: “Officer French failed to timely activate her body-worn camera and failed to document the detention and search of the male and his vehicle in an Investigatory ‘Stop Report,’” COPA’s investigatory report concluded. “Accordingly, COPA recommends a 3-day suspension.” “This is the latest example of why that agency has zero credibility in the eyes of every CPD officer,” police union President John Catanzara told WGN Investigates. “We demand an apology immediately for the intentional harm caused to Ella’s family, friends and co-workers.” The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said Thursday that the report on the raid was finalized in April when Officer French was alive, and that making mention of her death would have required the report to be redone entirely, which is not in accordance with established procedures.
Police Mag

Man Accused In Georgia Officer's Slaying Fatally Shoots Self As SWAT Team Closes In
A man accused of fatally shooting a Georgia police officer died by suicide Tuesday evening, minutes before a SWAT team stormed into the apartment. Jordan Jackson, 22, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a Riverdale apartment, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday night. Jackson, accused of fatally shooting Officer Paramhans Desai during an attempted arrest last week, had barricaded himself inside as a multi-agency SWAT team approached, according to police. By the time they breached the door, Jackson was dead. Desai, 38, responded to a domestic disturbance call in McDonough Thursday evening and was met by gunfire, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The suspect, identified as Jackson, fled the scene and Desai was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The officer, a married father of two, died late Monday night at the hospital with his family by his side.
New York Daily News

New Fentanyl Testing Strips Aim To Bring Low-Cost, Powerful Detection To Public Safety
Last month, drug detection company DetectaChem announced an “ultra-low sensitivity" fentanyl testing strips for police and other first responders. According to DetectaChem, the MobileDetect Fentanyl Test Strips can detect “nanogram trace amounts” of fentanyl in packaging, in pills and on surfaces. The product aims to provide public safety professionals with low-cost, high-sensitivity tools to fight the opioid crisis. "Fentanyl tests that were effective just a few years ago now have challenges with new analogues and lower limits of detection required for laced pills and powders," said DetectaChem COO, Travis Kisner, in a statement. "We challenged ourselves to develop a new test that would meet the current needs for trace fentanyl detection." According to the release, the test strips detect trace amounts of fentanyl and similar drugs, including Carfentanil, Acetyl Fentanyl, Butyryl Fentanyl, Remifentanil, Ocfentanil, Sufentanil, p-Fluoro Fentanyl, Furanyl Fentanyl, Valeryl Fentanyl and 3-Methyl Fentanyl.

Public Safety News

LA County Reports First Flu Death Of The Winter Season
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed the first flu-related death of the 2021-22 influenza season. According to the department, the person who died was middle-aged and had multiple underlying medical conditions. Health officials say the individual tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times over the course of his illness. He had not been vaccinated for the flu. "Although most people recover from influenza without complications, this death is a reminder that influenza can be a serious illness. Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu. Flu can also aggravate underlying health conditions like heart disease or asthma. Annually, thousands of people nationwide are hospitalized or die from influenza-associated illness," read a statement from Public Health. Health officials say last winter circulation of the flu was suppressed by measures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, however, they predict the flu to spread in Los Angeles County this fall and winter. They say indicators of influenza activity are currently low but have been slowly rising in recent weeks.
FOX 11

Local Government News

Slow Streets Program Could Become Permanent In LA
The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Tuesday instructing the city’s Department of Transportation to make recommendations for a permanent Slow Streets Program, which was established during the pandemic as a temporary program. LADOT began temporarily closing portions of residential streets in May to give pedestrians and cyclists more room to travel and be protected from motorists during the pandemic. Residents are able to apply online to have their neighborhoods included in the program to reduce automobile traffic and allow more people to maintain social distancing and enjoy the outdoors. The legislation seeking to make the program permanent comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 773, which was introduced by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, and authorized Los Angeles — and other local governments in counties with more than 6 million people — to make Slow Streets programs permanent.
Los Angeles Daily News

LA City Council To Consider Motion To Stop Tech Companies From Buying Up Family Homes
The Los Angeles City Council Thursday will consider a motion that seeks to prevent tech companies and private equity firms from purchasing affordable, predominantly single-family housing as investments. “The housing crisis has been further exacerbated by high tech companies such as Zillow, Opendoor, Rockethomes and Redfin as well as private equity firms,” the motion reads. “These companies primarily target affordable, single-family homes and compete to buy up as much inventory as possible, flip them and then sell them for a profit.” If passed, the motion will instruct the Chief Legislative Analyst and the City Attorney to report on recommended strategies that L.A. can use to prevent tech and private equity firms from engaging in speculative practices involving affordable, single-family housing. The motion comes amid L.A.’s worsening affordable housing crisis, with the ranking among the top most unaffordable cities each year, which has also contributed to the city’s growing homeless population.



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