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Jan 2023
Union Defends LAPD Officers After 3 Men Die Following Encounters With Police

Law Enforcement News

Union Defends LAPD Officers After 3 Men Die Following Encounters With Police
The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers is defending its members as criticism continues after three men experiencing mental health crises died following encounters with police. Two of the men were shot dead by officers. Alex Rozier reports Jan. 19, 2023.
NBC 4 Video

Two LAPD Officers Injured In Downtown Crash
Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were hospitalized Thursday evening with non-life-threatening injuries after crashing into a traffic light’s pole in downtown Los Angeles. The crash was reported at approximately 10 p.m. at Alameda Street and Olympic Boulevard north of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway and the patrol vehicle was the only vehicle involved in the crash, NBC 4 reported. It was not immediately known if the officers were pursing a suspect when the crash occurred.

New Cameras Promise Better Views Of LAPD Traffic Stops
The Los Angeles Police Department has begun to install new higher-definition video cameras in its patrol cars, part of an effort to vastly improve the clarity of the images and sounds recorded during officers' encounters with the community. “The public in this day and age expects police departments to have cameras, it expects its police department to be transparent," explained Deputy Chief John J. McMahon, who oversees the Information Technology Bureau. The new cameras capture a wide view of what's happening in front of the patrol car, and at much higher resolution than previous systems. A second camera records anyone detained in the back seat of the car. Video can be uploaded and shared with supervisors moments after an incident, and McMahon said most importantly, any activation of the car-mounted camera automatically triggers the officers' body worn video cameras to begin recording simultaneously, and also act as wireless microphones. “So the officers no longer have to wear that extra external microphone on their belt, or remember to do anything else," McMahon said. The patrol car recordings have become more important in recent months, because a new rule requires officers to make recordings of the justification for certain kinds of traffic stops, but their body-worn cameras rarely capture a clear view of the person or car being pulled-over.

Traffic Violence Continues To Surge In L.A. Why Can’t (Or Won’t) We Make Streets Safer?
Last year in Los Angeles, more people were killed by someone driving a car than by someone wielding a gun. The second-largest U.S. city has become the traffic violence capital of the nation. Traffic violence has surged in recent years on city streets. Preliminary city data show 312 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2022, the highest annual death toll in 20 years. Fatalities rose 5% from 2021, previously the deadliest year on record. The number of traffic deaths increased nearly 30% from 2020. More than 1,500 people were severely injured in crashes last year, up more than 30% over two years. Of those killed in crashes, about half — 159 people — were pedestrians struck by car drivers. Twenty people riding bikes were killed by drivers, up more than 30% over two years. More than 130 other cyclists were seriously injured. New York City, with more than double L.A.'s population, not only had fewer traffic deaths per capita last year, but also fewer deaths overall than L.A. — 247, according to that city’s data. This surge in traffic violence is happening despite city leaders enacting a plan to make streets safer. In 2015, then-Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a program called Vision Zero, with the stated goal of eliminating all traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.
LA Times

Sun Valley Burglary Suspect Nabbed In LAPD Search
Los Angeles police officers responded to a report of a burglary in Sun Valley at about 3 a.m. Friday in the area of Bradley Ave. and Fleetwood St. Officers arrived and saw two people running from the scene. LAPD set up a large perimeter encompassing several blocks to search for suspects. One suspect was taken into custody, according to the LAPD. Two other people were detained. The search was ongoing.

Police Arrest Man Connected To String Of Beverly Hills Trespassing Incidents
Police have arrested a man connected to a recent string of trespassing incidents in Beverly Hills. "I am thankful to our residents for their patience and our department's tireless efforts to bring this suspect into custody," said Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook. "Crime of any kind will never be tolerated in Beverly Hills." The incidents happened on Laurel Way and Crescent Drive on Sunday and Tuesday. The Beverly Hills Police Department arrested 35-year-old Christopher Turner outside a home on Laurel Way. They also detained a female companion. Turner sits in Beverly Hills City jail and faces a potential charge of felony burglary.

Former LA City Councilman José Huizar Agrees To Plead Guilty To Racketeering, Tax Evasion
Former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar will plead guilty to federal charges that outline a City Hall-based bribery and money laundering scheme in which he took more than $1.5 million in cash, gambling trips and escorts in exchange for his support of a planned downtown hotel project, according to court papers obtained Thursday by City News Service. Huizar's plea agreement to racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion was signed Wednesday and filed in Los Angeles federal court Thursday afternoon. The document states that Huizar faces a sentence of up to 26 years behind bars once he pleads guilty, but he has agreed to a prison sentence of no less than nine years. A motions hearing in the case is on calendar for Friday morning, but that could be updated to a proceeding in which Huizar would enter his guilty plea. At sentencing, Huizar will be ordered to pay restitution of about $1.85 million, the document states.

Theft Group Pleads Guilty To Home Burglaries Across L.A. And Ventura Counties
Members of an international theft group pled guilty on Tuesday to a series of burglaries targeting homes across Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The suspects were identified as Laura Espinosa, 26, Kevin Nino, 26, Brayan Taborda, 27, and Johan Zambrano, 37. All four members are from Colombia, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. A fifth member of the group, John Zambrano, 36, had already been sentenced to one year in jail and 24 months of formal probation. Authorities say the thieves are responsible for at least six different burglaries throughout Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Simi Valley and Westlake Village. The group would show up at victims’ homes as a delivery person bringing food or flowers before ransacking them, officials said. In one instance, the suspects escaped with over $15,000 in jewelry, watches and designer handbags.

San Francisco Eyes Supervised Drug Use Sites — Again
Gov. Gavin Newsom nixed a plan for state-sanctioned drug use sites last year. Now, San Francisco officials are forging ahead without him. Mayor London Breed said Wednesday she’s working with Supervisor Hillary Ronen to overturn a city law that gets in the way of allowing non-profits to set up safe injection sites, where people can inject drugs in a hygienic environment, with clean needles, under the supervision of people trained to prevent overdoses. Breed and other San Francisco officials say they’re willing to move forward with privately funded sites, in spite of previous concerns that doing so could have federal consequences. To do that, the Board of Supervisors will have to overturn a 2020 city law that prohibits such overdose prevention programs — regardless of the funding source. For years California progressives have argued for safe injection sites, saying they save lives and prevent the spread of disease, but progress has been slow. After Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill in 2018, lawmakers last year had pinned their hopes on Newsom. But no luck — the governor vetoed the bill by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) that would’ve set up pilot programs in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, citing worries about “unintended consequences.”

13-Year-Old Arrested After Leading Nebraska Troopers On 100 MPH Pursuit
Nebraska state troopers arrested a 13-year-old driver from Colorado after a chase that topped 100 mph along an interstate highway earlier this week. A state trooper spotted an SUV driving about 35 mph on Interstate 80 near the city of Kearney on Monday night, but the driver sped up and fled east when the trooper tried to pull her over. The chase continued at speeds over 100 miles until another state trooper put out stop sticks, the Nebraska State Patrol said in a news release. But the Nissan Pathfinder took an exit off the highway and kept driving, although at slower speeds, until a state trooper used a tactical maneuver to bring the vehicle to a stop, the authorities said. The entire chase lasted about 15 minutes. The 13-year-old girl who was driving the SUV and an 11-year-old boy riding with her were both arrested, and troopers said they found a gun and a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle. The State Patrol said both the girl and boy are from Colorado but didn't release their names. They were placed in protective custody.
Associated Press

Watch: California Police Officer Uses K-9's Leash To Save Drowning Man
A police officer used his K-9’s 30-foot leash to rescue a man drowning in a California canal, authorities said. Officer Kyle Smith responded on Jan. 6 to witness calls about a man drowning in a canal at Deer Valley Road and Carpenteria Drive, according to a Facebook post by the Antioch Police Department. Smith was the first to arrive at the scene and saw “a shirtless man in distress in the canal,” police said. The man said he was freezing and couldn’t feel his legs. The officer, who is also a K-9 handler, threw his police dog’s 30-foot leash over a chain link fence separating the two men and into the canal, according to the release. The man grabbed the leash, and “Officer Smith pulled him out of the water,” police said. Officials did not say how the man got into the canal.
Miami Herald

Public Safety News

Fire Damages Unit At Duplex In Jefferson Park
Fire damaged a second-floor unit of a two-story duplex Thursday in the Jefferson Park community of Los Angeles. Firefighters dispatched at 2:06 p.m. to 3217 W. Adams Blvd. had the fire out within 24 minutes of their arrival, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. “Fire was located in a wall on the first floor and the smoke traveled up the wall events,” said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Department. “Crews isolated and were able to prevent the fire from extending to the second floor/attic of the unit.” No injuries were reported and a cause of the fire was investigation.

LA County Welcomes Downward Trend In COVID Rates, After Fears Of Winter Surge
Local health officials reported some positive news on COVID-19 rates Thursday, as Los Angeles County has dropped from the federal government's "medium" category of coronavirus activity to the "low" level. The news comes as a welcome surprise after health experts expressed concerns about a possible surge following the winter holidays, as we've seen the previous two years. "We have a very different January than expected and for that I'm grateful," county public health director Barbara Ferrer said. Ferrer says since the beginning of January, we have seen a generally consistent downward trend in case numbers and hospital admissions. But the good news was tempered by a new, somber milestone as the county has now passed 35,000 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic, and continues to log new deaths every day, as well as many new infections.

2 Hikers Missing In SoCal Mountains: What We Know
Authorities in Southern California continue to search for two missing hikers in the San Gabriel Mountains. The search operations come as authorities are urging people - even the most experienced hikers - to think twice and consider the extremely dangerous conditions on Mt. Baldy due to the recent storms. In just the last four weeks, crews with San Bernardino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team have responded to 14 rescue missions on Mt. Baldy and the surrounding area. Two hikers have died. The San Gabriel Mountains are located bout 40 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Here's what we know about the two hikers who remain missing. Hawthorne resident Robert Gregory was reported missing by family after he did not return home from his hike near Mount Islip Monday. Gregory's son told local media his father was an experienced hiker and was familiar with the terrain. Search and rescue teams on the ground have been impeded by the recent storms, which caused road blocks due to mudslides and snow. An aerial search continues.
FOX 11

Local Government News

With Deadline Looming, L.A. City Council Is Set To Vote On New Tenant Protections
With Los Angeles’ longstanding COVID-19 anti-eviction rules expiring in less than two weeks, the City Council is set to vote Friday on a proposal that would substantially expand permanent protections for tenants. The council is under enormous pressure to finalize a new policy before the existing emergency order expires at the end of the month. In an increasingly unaffordable city where most residents rent, many tenants and advocates fear that lifting the order without sufficient protections could spark a wave of evictions. But landlords have argued that they have been unfairly burdened by the rules, with particular hardships for independent owners. The emergency rules were first passed amid unprecedented disruption at the start of the pandemic, along with similar measures at other levels of government. But Los Angeles’ anti-eviction protections remained in place even as other measures expired, with local leaders wary of exacerbating homelessness and overcrowding problems that had already reached crisis proportions.
LA Times



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