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Oct 2021
Newswatch October 19, 2021

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Law Enforcement News

51% More Officers Have Been Murdered In 2021 So Far, FBI Says
The FBI is reporting that 59 law enforcement officers have been feloniously killed in the line of duty so far this year, a 51% spike compared to the 39 deaths at this time last year. The 59 officer deaths mean about one officer has been murdered every five days this year, the head of FBI Boston's division told the Herald on Monday. The rising assaults on law enforcement officers are both "disturbing" and "alarming," added Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of FBI Boston. "There's been a tremendous uptick in the felonious killings of officers," he said, later adding, "And not only are the numbers dramatically rising over the last couple of years, the percent of unprovoked attacks has significantly risen." These unprovoked attacks, combined with pursuits, tactical situations and ambushes, have been the cause for 74% of the felonious deaths so far this year. In 2020, those four circumstances represented 28% of the deaths. "It's a real significant cause of concern for us," Bonavolonta said. "The increase of violence against law enforcement officers is alarming," he added, saying the issue "quite frankly has not received the attention that it really deserves."
Boston Herald

LAPD Releases Video Of North Hills Crash That Killed 18-Month-Old Boy In Stroller
Police released video of a two-vehicle crash that killed an 18-month-old boy who was in a stroller on the sidewalk when the collision happened in North Hills Sunday. Video shows the two vehicles colliding at an intersection and one of vehicles then jumps the curb and hits the child and a woman, who were at the corner of the sidewalk alongside several other pedestrians. The boy, Sebastian Morales, died at the hospital. The collision occurred about 7:30 a.m. near the intersection of Nordhoff Street and Langdon Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A 2016 Honda HRV heading west on Nordhoff was making a left turn when it collided with a gray Toyota Camry, LAPD said. The impact sent the Honda over the curb at the southeast corner of the intersection, crashing into the boy in the stroller and an adult woman standing on the sidewalk near a food cart. The female pedestrian, not related to the boy, was treated at a local hospital. The driver of the Honda stayed at the scene. The driver of the Toyota left the scene, but came forward to police later Sunday afternoon. The driver was interviewed but no arrests have been made in connection with the collision. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact police at (818) 644-8034.

Woman Killed In South LA; Suspect Arrested After Barricade
A man allegedly shot a woman to death inside a South Los Angeles residence then barricaded himself inside before he was arrested by police, authorities said Monday. Police initially received a call at 3:50 p.m. Sunday about an assault with a deadly weapon at a residence in the 8900 block of South Avalon Boulevard, according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center. A SWAT team was called to the scene after the suspect barricaded himself inside the residence, she said. The suspect surrendered to police at 5:39 p.m. and officers found the woman, believed in her 40s, dead inside, the officer said.

Man Killed, Teen Injured In South L.A. Shooting
A 30-year-old man is dead and a teenager is wounded after a shooting in South Los Angeles Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The shooting was reported at about 8 p.m. in the 500 block of 82nd Street, according to Margaret Stewart of the LAFD. The man was declared dead at the scene, while the 13-year-old was transported in critical condition, Stewart added. No further information was available.

DA Declines To Charge Ex-UFC Champion Chuck Liddell, Wife In Alleged Run-In
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has declined to file criminal charges against UFC Hall of Fame member Chuck Liddell or his wife over an alleged run-in a week ago in Hidden Hills, according to a document released Monday. The charge evaluation worksheet notes that Liddell and his wife, Heidi, "each accused the other of being the aggressor in a minor domestic violence incident" Oct. 11. "The wife did not have any visible injuries, while husband had a slight red mark on his cheek and a small red mark near his chest," according to the document. "Their daughter was interviewed and stated that she saw her parents pushing each other. She did not know who started the incident." The document noted that "the case is declined for filing" and that "the investigating officer concurs." Liddell was arrested shortly after midnight Oct. 11 and released on bail shortly after 10 a.m. that day. Through a spokesman, he released a statement that afternoon that said, "Last night the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputies who responded were professional. While the information about this case will be revealed in due course, I believe it is important to convey and clarify a few facts about the situation.”

Authorities Investigating Death of Los Angeles Woman Who Was Fatally Shot
Authorities from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate the death of a Los Angeles woman who was shot on Sunday evening. The victim was found by deputies who responded to gunshot victim call for service. They arrived at the 300 block of North Marianna Avenue to find their victim, an adult Hispanic female, suffering from a gunshot wound to her lower torso. She was transported to a local hospital before being pronounced dead. At the time there is no information about a potential suspect in the shooting. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477). More information to come.

Beverly Hills: Body Found In Beverly Gardens Park
A man was found dead in Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills on Saturday afternoon, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department. Police and personnel from the Beverly Hills Fire Department responded to the reports of a non-responsive man at North Rexford Drive and North Santa Monica Boulevard at 4:25 p.m., but the man was already dead when they arrived, police said. Police Department detectives are investigating, and the Los Angeles County Coroner will help identify the man and his cause of death. “Preliminary investigation indicates that there is no immediate threat to the public,” police said in a statement. No further details were available.

Man Killed, 2 Injured In Violent Gardena Crash
One man was killed and two others injured in single-car crash in Gardena early Tuesday morning. The crash occurred at South Normandie Avenue and West Redondo Beach Boulevard just after midnight. According to Gardena police, one man died at the scene and two others were taken to a hospital. No names were released. The circumstances of the crash were unclear. There was no word on whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

Chatsworth Trucking School Director Is Going To Prison
The former director of a San Fernando Valley trucking school was sentenced Monday, Oct. 18, to 15 months behind bars for helping siphon more than $4 million from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in GI Bill funds. Robert Waggoner, 59, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after he leaves federal prison and pay restitution of $4.19 million to the VA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Waggoner, of Canyon Country, pleaded guilty last year to five federal wire-fraud counts. His co-defendant, Emmit Marshall, 54, was sentenced a year ago to four years behind bars and also ordered to pay restitution. The Woodland Hills resident also pleaded guilty to five wire-fraud counts. Marshall was owner and president of the Alliance School of Trucking, and Waggoner was a director at the Chatsworth school. Marshall recruited veterans to take trucking classes paid under the post-9/11 GI Bill. AST was certified to offer classes that included a 160-hour tractor trailer and safety class and a 600-hour driver-development program.
Los Angeles Daily News

Teen Arrested After School Shooting Threat On Social Media, California Deputies Say
Deputies arrested a teenager following a social media post stating that a shooting would happen at a Northern California middle school on Monday. The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office in a news release said it received a tip Saturday about an Instagram and Facebook post regarding “a possible shooting that was going to occur at Live Oak Middle School” on Monday. Sheriff’s and probation officials began investigating the threat, and also added patrol staff Monday morning at Live Oak Middle School and Live Oak High School. Law enforcement traced the IP address and contacted the parents of a 13-year-old juvenile in Sutter County on Monday, according to the news release. The parents cooperated and gave consent to search the juvenile’s residence, where deputies located the cellphone used to make the Instagram and Facebook post. “No weapons were located,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote. The juvenile will be booked into juvenile hall “on numerous charges including terrorist threats,” according to the news release.
Sacramento Bee

State Authorities Destroy 1 Million Marijuana Plants In Crackdown On Illegal Operations
California law enforcement agents have seized more than 1 million illegally grown marijuana plants this year in an attempt to curb illicit cultivation of the cash crop that continues to undercut the state’s struggling legal market for pot, authorities said Monday. California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said Monday that agents assigned to the state’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP, program destroyed about 1.2 million plants discovered at unlicensed grow sites and seized 180,000 pounds of processed marijuana. The crackdown took place over an unspecified 13-week period in 26 counties. Agents also confiscated 165 firearms and collected 67,000 pounds of equipment, such as dams and water lines that are used to divert water from public sources to irrigate plants, Bonta said. The siphoning of water by illegal pot farmers increasingly has become a concern amid California’s worsening drought. The attorney general also said that insecticides banned in the state were found at grow sites, some of them so toxic that they kill wildlife and poison groundwater and public waterways.
Los Angeles Times

Florida Police Officer Killed In Shootout With Suspect
An 18-year-old man is accused of fatally shooting a Florida police officer during an altercation, officials said Monday. Officers responded Sunday night to a call about a suspicious incident near the Emerald Hills Country Club, Hollywood police Chief Chris O'Brien said during a Monday morning news conference. He said Officer Yandy Chirino, 28, was shot during an altercation. Several officers rendered aid, but Chirino was pronounced dead a short time later at nearby Memorial Regional Hospital. Other officers detained the suspect, Jason Vanegas, who the chief said will be charged with armed burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed firearm violation, grand theft of a firearm, resisting arrest with violence and first-degree murder. O'Brien said Chirino had been with the department since 2017 and was recognized as Officer of the Month in June 2020. “He was a great officer and will have a lasting impact on our community,” O'Brein said. He added that Chirino “gave his life honorably and without hesitation.”
Associated Press

Maryland Governor Pushes For Additional Spending To ‘Re-Fund The Police'
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan continued to push for his “re-fund the police” proposal on Monday, telling a friendly crowd of police officers: “I will continue to have your back.” As the Republican governor prepares his final budget and last set of legislative proposals, he’s pledged to increase police funding by $150 million — a combination of more generous grants to local police departments, increased pay for state law enforcement officers, more resources for crime victims and doubling Metro Crime Stoppers rewards for tips about crimes. When Hogan first announced his proposal on Friday, he rained down criticism on Baltimore officials and Democratic lawmakers for what he sees as a failure to control violent crime, and he was met with pushback. On Monday, speaking to a joint conference of police chiefs and sheriffs in Ocean City, Hogan framed his proposal as important support for officers who do dangerous jobs while being vilified by the public. His speech was punctuated by multiple rounds of applause.
Baltimore Sun

'Eye-Opening Moment': City Leaders, Police Departments Push Back Over Impending COVID Vaccine Mandates
As COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadlines loom over police departments nationwide, law enforcement leaders and politicians must weigh whether defiant officers can keep their jobs amid an already-depleted police force. In Chicago, the police union and mayor have publicly feuded over a city-wide vaccine mandate. The deadline for city employees to report their vaccination status was last Friday. Over a third of Chicago police officers didn’t do so, according to city data. A “very small number” of Chicago police officers declined additional opportunities to report their vaccination status Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. They were sent home without pay and could face disciplinary action. Lightfoot accused the union of spreading misinformation and doubt about the reporting process, which asks for vaccination status and allows for a temporary window of regular COVID-19 testing at the employee's own expense until vaccines can be administered. “Whatever (they’ve) been told, frankly in many instances they weren’t told the truth, and so there is I think an eye-opening moment for many people that this actually is a pretty straightforward non-intrusive process,” Lightfoot said. “Our young men and women at the police department are smarter than maybe they’ve been given credit for. They’re not going to risk their careers by being insubordinate and having in their jackets the fact that they defied a direct order of their supervisors."
USA Today

Public Safety News

3 Men Badly Burned In Explosion, Fire At Canoga Park Marijuana Grow Operation
At least 150 firefighters battled a blaze at an apparent marijuana grow operation in Canoga Park that caused severe injuries to three civilians. The fire was first noticed and reported by firefighter/paramedics who were returning from another call in an ambulance just after noon and saw flames from the building at 8423 N. Canoga Ave. Firefighters say it appears the building was a commercial marijuana grow operation. Several vehicles parked near the building were also damaged. Three civilian men suffered "severe" burn injuries, with two in critical condition and one in serious condition. Witnesses described hearing at least one explosion, and seeing at least one man on fire as he emerged from the building. One woman said her husband was in the area at the time and saw the man come out on fire. "He described there was a gentleman who came out fully engulfed, on fire," she said. "He got the fire extinguisher, put the gentleman out and helped to drag him to safety." The Los Angeles Fire Department assigned 150 firefighters to battle the flames at the one-story commercial building.

California Becomes Only U.S. State To Improve To Yellow ‘Moderate' COVID-19 Transmission Level
New numbers from the CDC show promising signs for California's response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest CDC data, California has improved to the yellow "moderate" color code in the agency's COVID-19 level of community transmission. As of Monday's data, seven states are in the orange "substantial" community spread level while 42 other states are in the "high" level of community transmission. California is the only state in the country that is in the yellow "moderate" level. The state has averaged 34.4 cases in the last seven days for every 100,000 people, CDC reports. The following states are in the orange "substantial" level: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi. Across the country, the United States' level of community transmission is at the red "high" color code with 142.9 cases in the last seven days for every 100,000 people, CDC reports. Click here for the latest CDC COVID-19 community transmission data.
FOX 11

Local Government News

Mark Ridley-Thomas Will ‘Step Back’ From Council Duties, But Not Resign
Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was indicted last week on federal charges, said Monday that he will “immediately step back” from participation in City Council meetings and committees but will not resign. In a letter to fellow council members, Ridley-Thomas said he will fight the “outrageous allegations” and plans to resume participation on the powerful legislative body “at the earliest appropriate time.” “I fully appreciate the importance of the council being able to conduct its business with minimal distractions,” Ridley-Thomas said in the letter, adding that he was stepping back with that in mind. Ridley-Thomas returned to the City Council — where he began his career as an elected official in 1991 — for his fourth and final term in 2020. Ridley-Thomas is a highly influential player in city politics with deep ties in South Los Angeles, where has represented constituents at the municipal, county and state levels for three decades. Many community leaders have voiced support for the embattled politician, calling on him to hold firm in his position on the council.
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Spending More On Traffic, Parking Enforcement Than Tickets Generate, Report Says
While parking fines used to provide Los Angeles with net income, the city spent $192 million more in the last five years for parking and traffic enforcement than it generated in fines from the tickets, it was reported Monday. The city brought it $617 million in parking tickets since the 2017 fiscal year, while it spent more than $809 million for salaries, equipment and other expenses related to it, according to data compiled by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. The last two fiscal years represent the largest shortfall, with nearly $121 million more spent than generated through citations, Crosstown reported. In the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation spent $56.4 million more than it took in through tickets. The previous year had a shortfall of $64.4 million. While the shortfall began before the pandemic, Crosstown's report cited the suspension of parking regulations during the first eight months of the pandemic. In January 2020, there were more than 200,000 tickets issued. Three months later, there were about 45,000.
FOX 11



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