Lancaster mayor blames Gov. Jerry Brown in sheriff’s sergeant death
The mayor of Lancaster claimed Thursday that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who served his area until being shot to death on duty last week would be alive if not for Gov. Jerry Brown’s “realignment” plan to reduce the state prison population. The governor’s spokesman said the mayor’s “wild claims” are baseless.
GoFundMe account for Sgt. Steve Owen raises more than $40,000
A GoFundMe page created for deceased Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Owen has raised more than $40,000 as of Monday morning. Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association president Brian Moriguchi created the fund on Oct. 6 for Owen, who was a member of the association.
Officer’s Kevlar helmet deflects gunman’s bullet, but mother and 9-month-old baby are wounded
A suspect who barricaded himself inside a home is dead after he gravely wounded his girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter Thursday, then fired numerous shots at police, striking an officer’s Kevlar helmet, authorities in Tulare said. Larry Zamora, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following an hours-long standoff and gun battle with law enforcement, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said at a news conference.
News headlines from around the nation make clear the concerted effort by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to convince the public and legislators to enact its principles on the use of force. The national debate on police training regarding “de-escalation” have portrayed the PERF principles as the vetted solution to the issue of police use of force.
Deputies hailed as heroes after saving suicidal woman from 5-story fall
Three sheriff’s deputies were hailed as heroes Wednesday for preventing a suicidal woman from falling several stories at the Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach. The incident occurred about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the facility at 275 Magnolia Ave., the sheriff’s department reported. The 44-year-old woman had just appeared in court “regarding a family law matter,” a sheriff’s statement said.
Killings of officers increases stress for SoCal law enforcement
When Long Beach police Lt. Steve James first heard that three Palm Springs police officers had been gunned down Saturday afternoon, he immediately texted a friend at the desert town department. James, the president of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, endured some tense moments when he believed his friend could have been one of the officers shot.
Among the challenges faced by today’s police officers is trying to stay abreast of the latest fashions in law enforcement training. The challenge is all the greater when those fashions are dictated by politics, and greater still when adhering to them can get you killed. Witness the latest fashion in police work: “de-escalation.”
Social media companies suspend Geofeedia’s access after reported police tracking
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have suspended Geofeedia, a platform that collects real-time social media information based on location, from having access to its data. The decision follows an investigation that law enforcement used the tool to track activists and protests, the American Civil Liberties Union of North California (ACLU) published in a blog post Tuesday.
Death of LAPD detective investigating Derrick Rose rape allegations called likely suicide
Los Angeles Police Department detective who was investigating rape allegations against NBA star Derrick Rose died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday. Officers found LAPD Det. Nadine Hernandez, 44, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday afternoon in a Whittier home, according to the Whittier Police Department.
In a new report, the California Police Chief Association calculates violent crime increased more than 2 percent from 2014. There were almost four incidents of violent crime for each thousand state residents, a similar increase to the country as a whole. But police chiefs blame Proposition 47 for an even larger uptick in property crimes. The measure, which voters approved in 2014, reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, particularly those involving theft or drugs.
LA County Sheriff seeks dialogue after law enforcement deaths
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell is calling for a community dialogue following the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers recently in Southern California. “There’s an opportunity I think to use these tragedies as a springboard to hopefully get past some of the things we’ve seen over the past couple years … and be able to address grievances that people have with the police but also for us in the profession to be able to explain why we do what we do,” he said.
‘Ferguson effect’? Savagely beaten cop didn’t draw gun for fear of media uproar, says Chicago police chief
A Chicago police officer who was savagely beaten at a car accident scene this week did not draw her gun on her attacker – even though she feared for her life – because she was afraid of the media attention that would come if she shot him, the city’s police chief said Thursday. Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officer, a 17-year veteran of the force, knew she should shoot the attacker but hesitated because “she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on the national news,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
How an amateur genealogist solved a 48-year-old ‘Jane Doe’ case
The petite woman with bleached blonde hair was found slumped over a picnic table near Mount Hollywood Drive inside Los Angeles’ scenic Griffith Park. The brown-eyed beauty in her 20s was clad in a red-and-white polka dotted bikini, a white or light tan overcoat and dark sandals. On her manicured finger was a gold wedding ring with the inscription “C.B. to E.J. 9-4-20.” The date was June 8, 1968.
LA County to approve $1.5 million settlement for man killed by sheriff’s deputy
The family of a man killed by a sheriff’s deputy in 2012 is expected to receive a $1.5 million settlement from Los Angeles County. The county admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the settlement for the lawsuit brought by the two minor sons of Kenneth Rivera III and their biological mother.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s bomb/arson truck stolen, recovered in Los Angeles County
A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Bomb/Arson Detail utility truck was recovered Saturday, Oct. 8, after being stolen from a deputy’s home in Victor Valley. The deputy noticed the truck was missing from his driveway about 9:30 a.m. after waking up, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. The truck was listed as stolen and investigators began canvassing the area in search of it.
Proposition 57 proposes earlier release for some non-violent prisoners
For the fourth time in five years, California voters are being asked to weigh in on the earlier release of certain prisoners, in this case, those convicted of “non-violent crimes.” Proposition 57, titled “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” would consider certain state-prison inmates convicted of non-violent felony offenses for release earlier than through previous release guidelines.
SLO County’s law enforcement community is trying to warn voters against supporting a ballot measure that would shorten prison sentences for less-violent offenders. SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow led a press conference Oct. 12 with representatives from multiple SLO County law enforcement agencies and police officers associations to oppose the passage of Proposition 57, which they claim could put dangerous criminals back on the streets and endanger public safety.
Santa Clarita’s legislative panel says “no” to the release of more prisoners
The Santa Clarita City Council will stand up and be heard on the controversial issue of Proposition 57. Meeting on Tuesday, the council’s two-member Legislative Committee embraced a recommendation that the full council oppose Prop 57 – the state-wide ballot measure that would hasten the release of some non-violent offenders from prisons, as part of a federal-court-ordered means of addressing overcrowding.
Ventura County opponents of Proposition 57 speak out
Members of local law enforcement agencies and city officials say a ballot initiative that would amend sentencing credits for inmates convicted of “nonviolent” crimes would increase violent crimes and endanger the lives of peace officers. Flanked by top law enforcement officials from throughout the county, District Attorney Greg Totten spoke to members of the media Tuesday at the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association headquarters about what they say are “false claims” made by supporters of Proposition 57.
Proposition 63 won’t keep Californians any safer from gun violence
This summer the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown did something remarkable: They approved $5 million of taxpayers’ funds over five years to create the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center. We applauded the start of such a center at UC Davis because we believed strong steps must be taken to end the gun violence epidemic that has a maddening and deadly grip on our country.
California’s bad example for criminal-justice reformers
The vagrancy endemic to San Francisco seems to be spreading to the Golden State’s suburbs. Blame it, at least in part, on Californians’ well-intentioned efforts to reform the criminal-justice system by releasing low-level offenders from jail. Encampments with an estimated 500 homeless have formed in the dry Santa Ana riverbed by Angel Stadium and the city’s civic center.
Stunted by federal challenges and a litany of habeas corpus petitions that have overwhelmed the courts, California’s seldom-used death penalty has come to a standstill. Despite having the most inmates awaiting execution – 700 currently housed on death row – the Golden State has not executed an inmate since 2006.
How could a sergeant’s alleged killer be in a program that worked with parolees?
On Friday, prosecutors filed a capital murder charge against 27-year-old Trenton Lovell for the shooting death of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Owen. Authorities say Owen was shot multiple times in Lancaster Wednesday as he confronted Lovell at a burglary call. Sheriff Jim McDonnell called it a “calculated execution.” Michelle Egberts is the founder of AV East Kern Second Chance, a group that helps former offenders integrate back into society.
For the third time in four years, California voters are being asked to approve an initiative that would soften the state’s tough-on-crime laws – this time by allowing prison inmates to seek parole earlier. Gov. Jerry Brown and other proponents, including the Democratic Party, say Proposition 57 is necessary to keep the prison population permanently below a cap imposed in 2011 after a panel of federal judges found that appalling health care services in the crowded lockups constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
California voters once again eye legalizing recreational pot
For the second time in six years, California voters will consider legalizing recreational use of marijuana. This time, supporters of the move have much more financial backing and professional campaign help than they did in 2010. And polls show Proposition 64 with more than the 50 percent of voter support needed to pass. Silicon Valley billionaires and wealthy backers from the already legal medicinal marijuana industry are among the top financial supporters, contributing a combined $21 million.
Garcetti eyes LAPD video policy change, advocates 2 tax measures on ballot
On ABC7’s “Eyewitness Newsmakers: Ask the Mayor,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Police Commission will begin hearings on the release of Los Angeles Police Department video, and in a few months, there is likely to be a change in policy. He cautioned that while video may be released sooner, it will not be released immediately after an incident. Garcetti pointed to the recent police shooting of a suicidal 16-year-old.
Assemblyman Steinorth proposes tax deduction to combat the costs of increased crime
Assemblyman Marc Steinorth has outlined a plan for new legislation to provide relief for citizens forced to purchase additional security measures to ensure their families’ safety. The cost of crime prevention in California is growing and previously safe neighborhoods are seeing a rise in crime. Under the proposal, all taxpayers would be allowed to claim a tax deduction against the cost of specified security equipment, including alarms, security cameras, and fencing.
Rapper Coolio charged with felony firearm possession in Los Angeles
Grammy-winning rapper Coolio was charged on Thursday with unlawful firearm possession stemming from a handgun that prosecutors said was found in his backpack during baggage screening at Los Angeles International Airport last month. The recording star, whose legal name is Artis Leon Ivey, 53, could be sentenced to as much as three years in state prison if convicted, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Pressure builds on Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey – Prosecute killer cops
Eight months after the LAPD killing of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez – the 16-year-old killed by LAPD, and four other police killings of young Chicanos in Boyle Heights, an Oct. 6 call-in day action was organized by Centro CSO. “It felt good to call DA Jackie Lacey’s office today,” says Juan Mendez father of Jose “Peruzzi” Mendez.
Lawyer: Backpage.com CEO will fight sex trafficking charges
Handcuffed and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, the chief executive of an internet site authorities accuse of being “a hub for the illegal sex trade” waived extradition to California on Friday, and his attorney vowed to fight the “trumped up” sex trafficking and money laundering charges he faces. Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested Thursday and his Dallas headquarters was raided after officials in California accused him of felony pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping.
District attorney mulling charges after Sikh man was beaten and his hair was cut off
Sikh community leaders are urging that hate crime charges be filed against two men who were arrested on suspicion of severely beating a Sikh man in Richmond, Ca., last month and cutting off some of his hair. Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, was attacked in what Sikh leaders say was a hate-motivated assaulted directed at Khalsa’s religious beliefs and ethnicity.
Man pleads no contest to manslaughter in West Covina stabbing death of father
A man pleaded no contest Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of his father at their West Covina home in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Maverick Jacob Jimenez pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Joey Alfred Jimenez, 49. Prosecutors said that on Aug. 16, 2015, Maverick Jimenez stabbed his father during a fight in their home.
Man charged in death of 70-year-old mother, who was pushed from a window and stomped on, police say
A 40-year-old man was charged Wednesday in the death of his 70-year-old mother, who police say was pushed out of a second-story window in Van Nuys and then stomped on. Fernando Vargas faces one count of murder in the attack, which occurred Tuesday at 2:52 a.m. at an apartment complex in the 7400 block of Hazeltine Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Man charged with trying to kill 2 L.A. sheriff’s deputies at Santa Monica Metro station
A 31-year-old man was charged Wednesday with trying to kill two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were patrolling a Metro station in Santa Monica, authorities said. Thomas Napack, 31, faces two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer. If convicted, he faces up to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
On way to prison, defendant tells prosecutor: ‘Better hope I don’t get out’
A Fresno man was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to 44 years to life in prison for shooting his unarmed friend in the back in a domestic violence case. Before George Xeng Fang was sentenced he took a verbal shot at prosecutor Andrew Janz: “Better hope I don’t get out.” In July, a jury found Fang, 33, guilty of assault with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a gun and shooting at an inhabited dwelling in the shooting of Dao Vang in February.
No death penalty for convict found guilty in 1979 rape, murder of Glendale woman
A man convicted of raping and murdering a Glendale woman in 1979 was spared the death penalty after a jury deadlocked Thursday on the third day of deliberations. Ten jurors voted for Darrell Gurule to spend the rest of his life in prison, while two felt he should be executed. The same jury convicted Gurule last month of killing Barbara Ballman, whose naked body, lying across the front seat of her Volkswagen Beetle, was found by fourth-graders on their way to Thomas Edison Elementary School one September morning in 1979.
Torrance wrestling coach found guilty of lewd acts with 25 students
A South Bay high school’s former head wrestling coach was found guilty Thursday of molesting 25 students – a conviction that could put him in state prison for life. The conviction of Thomas Joseph Snider, 48, came after a dramatic trial in Torrance’s courthouse, where victims testified that the longtime educator touched their genitals under the pretense of nude “skin inspections,” according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
18-year-old is convicted of murder in 2014 beating death of USC graduate student from China
A jury convicted an 18-year-old woman of murder on Thursday for her role in the 2014 bludgeoning death of a USC graduate student from China that led to heightened campus security and shock across the Pacific in the victim’s homeland. Alejandra Guerrero – who was 16 at the time of the attack near the university campus – fidgeted with her hair as a clerk read the verdict in a downtown courtroom.
Man sentenced for fatal Monterey Park pizza parlor stabbing
A Bakersfield man received a sentence of more than 16 years in state prison Thursday for stabbing another man 15 times, killing him, at a Monterey Park pizza parlor four years ago, officials said. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in Burbank convicted Jose De Jesus Ruiz, also known as Jose De Jesus Salas, 26, in July of second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2012, stabbing death of 25-year-old Patrick Raymond Ortega at Shakey’s, 1955 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Man to get 10 years in hit and run of Arroyo Seco teacher
Lucas Guidroz, 26, of Canyon Country, is expected to receive 10 years in state prison as a result of his plea to one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving resulting in death. Deputy District Attorney SuSu Scott prosecuted the case.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Department I of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.
New $350M federal courthouse unveiled; first case ex-LA Sheriff Baca
Almost four years in the making, downtown Los Angeles’ new $350 million federal courthouse was unveiled Thursday for the first time. While the U.S. Marshals Service has begun operations at the mirror-and- glass building, judges will begin moving to the sleek structure at Broadway and First Street in the next few weeks.
Justices appear inclined to preserve plea bargains affected by Proposition 47
The California Supreme Court appeared unwilling Wednesday to allow prosecutors to withdraw plea bargains affected by Proposition 47, which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. During a hearing, several justices cited a precedent that said plea bargains can’t be revoked even if a subsequent change in the law results in a different penalty.
How a judge’s ‘horrible experiences’ with plumbers led to a murder conviction getting tossed out
If Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eleanor J. Hunter’s experiences with plumbers had been better, the murder case of Vincent Tatum might have gone differently. Addressing a panel of potential jurors in her Compton courtroom, Hunter explained the importance of not prejudging witnesses and used her unfortunate run-ins with the tradesmen to illustrate her point.
Three appeals court justices, citing the alarming view of critics that unaffordable public pensions are headed for the financial cliff, looked for a new way to allow a change in direction and found one. In a ruling in a Marin County case last August that reformers called a “game changer,” the panel weakened the “California rule” protecting the pensions of current workers. Most cost-cutting reforms have been limited to new hires, which can take decades to yield savings.
Sacramento County annual gun sales increase 406 percent in last 15 years
Sacramento County residents continue to buy firearms at an unprecedented rate, according to data released Wednesday by the California Department of Justice. Annual gun sales increased 406 percent in Sacramento County during the last 15 years, a larger jump than in any other urban California county. Each year since 2001, on average, about three guns were sold for every 100 county residents.
Attorney General releases Reentry, Recidivism Reduction Programs report
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released a report outlining best practices for developing reentry and recidivism reduction programs, based on the Attorney General’s “Back on Track – Los Angeles” pilot program. Back on Track – Los Angeles, an evidence-based pilot program, is an initiative of the Attorney General’s Division of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry.
California officials said Friday that they have again denied parole for a follower of cult leader Charles Manson who is serving a life sentence for a murder he committed 47 years ago. Parole officials decided that Robert Beausoleil, 68, should remain in prison for the 1969 death of musician Gary Hinman. He can seek parole again in three years, said board spokesman Luis Patino.
State gains control of Los Angeles-area prison’s health care
California is regaining responsibility for providing medical care at an eighth state prison after 10 years of oversight. The federal court-appointed receiver who runs the inmate health care system on Friday gave the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation control over care at the California Institution for Men. The prison houses nearly 3,800 minimum- and medium-security inmates in Chino, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles.