Authorities Continue to Search for Gunman Involved in Boyle Heights Shooting

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles Police Department Hollenbeck Homicide Detectives are asking for the public’s help in providing any information that would lead to the identity and arrest of the person(s) responsible for the murder of a 54-year-old, Raul Alaniz Jr.

On July 11, 2016, around 3:50 p.m., Hollenbeck officers responded to a radio call of “Ambulance Shooting” in the 900 block of South Lorena Street.  Alaniz Jr, who is a resident of Los Angeles, was found shot multiple times inside a converted garage.

A shooting on the 900 block of South Bernal Avenue Monday, left one man dead and a second victim wounded. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A shooting on the 900 block of South Bernal Avenue Monday, left one man dead and a second victim wounded. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned and discovered one additional victim, a male Hispanic, whom appeared to have ran for help and was shot multiple times.  Both the victims were transported to a local hospital, where Raul Alaniz Jr was pronounced dead.  Victim-2 was treated at the hospital and is listed in stable condition.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Hollenbeck Homicide Detectives at (213) 342-8959  or 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

Los Angeles Reacts to Dallas Attack

July 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful demonstration today outside a Los Angeles Police Department recruit graduation in what they called an effort to promote unity in the aftermath of the deadly shootings of police officers in Dallas.

Several dozen people joined the rappers outside police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles where the graduation ceremony was held, featuring Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as speakers.

After the ceremony, the rappers met with Garcetti and Beck privately.

Garcetti called it an “extraordinarily powerful meeting.”

Snoop Dogg told reporters at the gathering outside the Police Administration Building that they wanted to promote unity between the community and police, while improving communication.

Snoop Dogg said he wanted to ensure that rookie officers –like those who graduated today—“know who they’re dealing with.”

“A lot of times these officers hit the streets in communities where they have never encountered a gang member or someone who had a different kind of background,” he told KNX Newsradio. “Today it’s a bunch of guys up here who come from those communities who want to show them we’re cool, we’re peaceful. We’re here in love.”

He said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does a better job of training its deputies for work on the streets, because they generally begin working in the county jail.

By contrast, LAPD officers are often sent into gang-plagued neighborhoods straight out of the academy.

“They’re scared, they’re nervous, and when they encounter someone, they automatically feel they must use violence as opposed to communication,” he said.

The Game echoed Snoop Dogg’s comments, saying the gathering outside the recruit graduation was a show of unity. The attendees wanted a chance to introduce themselves to the police and bring “message of love.”

$50,000 Reward Offered in Shooting of 10-Year Old in Boyle Heights

July 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A $50,000 reward was announced Thursday for information leading to the identification and arrest of whoever wounded a 10-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting in Boyle Heights, then left the scene laughing.

A man on a bicycle was the intended target in the shooting that occurred about 6 p.m. on June 10 near the intersection of Rogers Avenue and South Chicago Street, west of the Hollywood (101) Freeway, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section.

The girl and her sister were waiting to cross a street when a passenger in the suspect vehicle opened fire on the intended victim, who was riding a bike near the girls and who was not struck, police said.

“On June 10th, as you know, the little girl was outside with her sister when a car drove by and fired several shots at a bicyclist riding near the girls,” City Councilman Jose Huizar said.

“The 10-year-old girl was struck in the head and collapsed.”

Laughter was heard coming from the car as it left the scene, according to the LAPD. The girl was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery.

The reward was announced at a news conference at the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station. Members of the girl’s family were among those attending, urging anyone with information to come forward.

Police said there were two vehicles involved, each carrying three to four male suspected gang members. The shots were fired by a passenger, described as a man in his early to mid 20s, in a black 2005 Toyota Camry sedan.

The second vehicle was described as a 2001 metallic silver Chevrolet Impala with a sunroof and a spoiler on the trunk.

Anyone with information about the suspects was urged to call (323) 342-8900 and ask for Hollenbeck detectives Yoshida or Carreon. On weekends or after hours, call should be directed to the Hollenbeck watch commander at (323) 342-4101.

Anonymous tips can be provided through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS.

Mujer Arrestada por Homicidio Vehicular en Boyle Heights

June 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Maribel Rosas, de 34 años, fue arrestada bajo sospecha de delito grave por homicidio vehicular, por chocar su Nissan Altima contra unos autos estacionados y un puesto de tacos el domingo por la noche, dijeron las autoridades.

El accidente fue reportado alrededor de las 9:25pm cerca de 376 S. Clarence Street en Boyle Heights, de acuerdo a Erik Scott del Departamento de Bomberos de Los Ángeles.

Un hombre de 50 años murió y otras ocho personas resultaron heridas, dos fueron llevadas a hospitales en estado crítico y uno fue hospitalizado con una lesión menor, dijo Scott.

Seis pacientes fueron evaluados en el lugar, pero se negaron a ser llevados a hospitales, agregó Scott.

Latest Attempt at Police Transparency Fails In California

June 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

ProPublica – There are numerous law enforcement scandals unfolding in Northern California.

Last month, San Francisco fired its police chief after a string of officer-involved shootings and two separate episodes involving officers sending racist text messages to one another. In Oakland, the mayor recently ousted two police chiefs in the span of five days amid a widening investigation into allegations that 14 city officers — as well as law enforcement agents from at least three other jurisdictions — had sex with a teenage prostitute. And sheriff’s deputies and corrections officers in San Francisco, Alameda County, and Santa Clara County are facing criminal charges ranging from assault to murder.

While this collection of ugly incidents will continue to generate headlines for months to come, many of the key facts are likely to remain permanently shrouded by California laws placing tight restrictions on the release of law enforcement records and information related to criminal investigations. The state, as an investigation by WNYC radio noted, is one of 23 that deem police misconduct records to be confidential; the only way to obtain such documents is through litigation in the course of a criminal case or civil lawsuit — and even then, the material often must be kept out of the public eye.

This isn’t apt to change any time soon: A California Senate bill aimed at making misconduct and disciplinary information available to the public died in committee last month.

“Police in California shouldn’t be able to operate as if they’re the CIA,” said Chauncee Smith, a legislative advocate with the ACLU of California, which sponsored the proposed legislation, SB 1286, along with the California Newspaper Publishers Association and other groups.

Authored by San Francisco Democrat Sen. Mark Leno, the bill would have offered a much clearer view of how law enforcement agencies handle serious allegations of misconduct; in the case of a controversial police shooting, for example, the public would have been entitled to obtain the entire investigative file compiled by police detectives, though any personal data would have been redacted. The legislation also would have allowed the public to learn if any discipline was imposed on the officers involved in the incident.

The bill met resistance from law enforcement organizations from around the state, including the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the Peace Officers Research Association of California. In a report to its members, PORAC said greater transparency would endanger officers, making them targets for people seeking revenge in the aftermath of police shootings and would generate more “mistrust” of officers.

Michael Durant, an official with the association, did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, George Hofstetter of the deputy sheriff’s association said those behind the failed bill had been seeking to “take advantage of the climate currently surrounding law enforcement to eliminate the privacy protections of peace officers.”

The current, protected system stems from a 1978 amendment to the state penal code that bars the disclosure of the personnel records of law enforcement officers. A 2006 ruling by the California Supreme Court effectively tightened the law even further. Additionally, the state’s public records law gives police and prosecutors the power to withhold from public disclosure virtually any document related to both open and closed criminal cases.

As it stands, the inner workings of the state’s police and sheriff departments are completely opaque. Take the San Francisco Police Department, which issues what it calls “Veronese Reports,” named after a long-gone police commissioner. The Veronese Reports compile yearly information on officers who have been disciplined. They do not, however, include the names of the officers, any narrative detail about the offenses, or any notes on how many times the officers have been disciplined.

A typical entry: In internal affairs case number 2013–0177, an officer was disciplined for carrying a gun while under the influence of alcohol and showing up for work while under the influence. He or she received a 30-day suspension and was enrolled in a police substance abuse program. And that’s where the information ends. The story is the same when it comes to police shootings: the San Francisco department publishes quarterly reports that are scrubbed of most salient facts, a common practice around the state.

“It’s a black hole,” said the ACLU’s Smith. “The tax-paying public deserves to know what those who are being paid to protect them are doing — right and wrong.”

Editor’s Note: SB1286 was cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee 5-1 in April, but was killed May 27 by the Senate Appropriations Committee chaired by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

Community Lashes Out at Los Angeles Police Commission

June 23, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Los Angeles City Board of Police Commissioners was in Boyle Heights Tuesday night to hear from local residents about the state of policing in their neighborhood, what they got was an earful on everything crime to police-involved shootings.

The commission may have been away from its regular meeting place at LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A., but many of the people who regularly attend their meetings showed up at Hollenbeck Middle School, at times engaging in the same raucous behavior that has disrupted previous commission meetings.

Dozens of people signed up to speak, with the vast majority furiously telling the commission they believe the LAPD is doing a poor job in their community.

“When is Charlie Beck going to give his resignation?” asked Wayne Spindler, a well-known City Hall gadfly.

“Get the hell out of City Hall, Beck,” he told the police chief who was also at the meeting, drawing cheers from the audience. Many of those at the meeting were associated with the groups Black Lives Matter and White People for Black Lives. Speaker after speaker claimed in frustration that police treat people unequally based on their race, age or socio-economic status.

“You use too much enforcement against our people,” said Herman, who said he is homeless.
Others said police often stop them for no reason at all: “I have no warrants, I’m not on probation,” yet I get stopped, a resident of Compton told commissioners.

Members of the community spoke about the poor work LAPD is doing in the city. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Members of the community spoke about the poor work LAPD is doing in the city. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The public meeting was disrupted often by loud comments, yelling and clapping, prompting Commission President Matthew M. Johnson to warn that if the insults and disruptive behavior continued he would adjourn the meeting.

During the public session, however, a group of young people from the Ramona Gardens housing project in Boyle Heights wanted to do more than just complain about how they are treated by police, and used their speaking time to share with the commission a program they created aimed at improving interactions between police officers and the young people living in Ramona Gardens.

Amanda Gutierrez, 19, said she and two of her friends, in partnership with the nonprofit Legacy LA, came up with “Through Our Eyes,” a program designed to train new police officers about Ramona Gardens youth before they start patrolling the housing project.

“In the past, we noticed how police would harass some of our friends, but they wouldn’t bring programs to our community,” Gutierrez later told EGP. “So we created a program for them,” she said.

Erik del Rincon also lives in Ramona Gardens and helped create Through Our Eyes. He told the commission they want to hold focus groups where they can talk about issues that affect their communities and how LAPD can help.

“We hope to achieve more communication between youth and police officers,” he said.
According to Gutierrez, they recently met with Hollenbeck Division Capt. Martin Baeza and he informed them the program has to be approved by the commission before he can implement it in the division.

That’s why they were at the meeting Tuesday, to seek the support of the police commission and the city to get Through Our Eyes up and running.

Commission rules do not allow commissioners to respond to items not on the agenda, so it’s unclear if the commission will support their effort.

According to Pico Aliso resident and Hollenbeck Police Advisory Board Member Margarita Amador, police are doing a great job, citing as an example an incident she witnessed about two weeks ago when an innocent 10-year-old girl in Boyle Heights was hit with gunfire intended for a man on a bicycle. Police quickly responded to care for the girl, she said, going beyond the call of duty.

Boyle Heights resident Maria Banda attended the meeting to demand justice for her son, who she told commissioners was shot seven times by two police officers before being sent to jail in 2013.

“Two officers are giving a bad reputation to all the others who are doing a remarkable job,” she said. “Work with us Beck,” she told the police chief.

The families of other young people killed in officer-involved shootings demanded greater transparency from the LAPD. “My son was shot over 10 times in the back,” said Juan Mendez, father of 16-year old Jose Mendez, killed earlier this year by police who said he pointed a sawed-off shot gun at them when they stopped him for driving a stolen car.

“How do you explain [them saying he was] pointing at the police and he gets shot in the back?” Mendez demanded.

Longtime community activist Carlos Montes joined others in calling for the police commission to move its meetings away from LAPD headquarters and to meet at a time more convenient for the community. “Police meetings should be in the evening,” Montes said.

The L.A. Police Commission currently meets Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.

The meeting was adjourned after someone played a video showing police officers arresting an 81-year-old man speaking during the police commission meeting held earlier that day.

Guarded by police officers, commissioners exited the meeting to the chants of “Fire Chief Beck.”

LAPD Northeast Station Evacuated

June 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The LAPD’s Northeast Station was evacuated Friday after a “suspicious item” was found in front of the building.

A bomb squad was sent to the station at 3353 San Fernando Road about 8 a.m., said Los Angeles police Officer Norma Eisenman.

No threats were associated along with the item, which was removed about 9:30 a.m., police said. The item was described as a polystyrene cup, KNX 1070 reported.

LAPD Adds Electric Cars To Fleet

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Police Department has added 100 BMW i3 electrical vehicles to its fleet, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Wednesday.

The vehicles, which will be used for administrative tasks, are each being leased for three years at $387 per month, with the maintenance costs covered.

Garcetti said the cars will save the city money on fuel, as well as maintenance costs, which tend to be lower for electric vehicles.

BMW was chosen through a competitive bidding process, he said.

The vehicles can go 85 miles between charging, and take about three and a half hours to charge, BMW North America spokesman David Buchko said. With DC fast chargers, the cars can be 80 percent charged in 20 minutes.

The LAPD also was allotted $1.5 million in the budget to install 104 charging stations.

The BMW i3 vehicles bring the number of fully electric vehicles in the city’s fleet to 199.

Parents Push Education Agenda as Crime Scene Unfolds

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A group of Spanish-speaking mothers were waiting outside the Highland Park Ebel Club on Avenue 57 last week to meet with their local school district board member when L.A. police units swarm the location in pursuit of an alleged “armed” gang suspect, yelling at the women to leave the area. They take refuge across the street inside a local coffee shop where they hope to continue their meeting.

A few doors down on Figueroa Street, a man in a white shirt and tie stands outside a new hip, antique-filled bowling venue and restaurant greeting the mostly White guests, he seems oblivious to the chaos unfolding less than a block away. A street vendor sells ice cream to a man waiting at a bus stop while people gather on street corners as police cordon off several blocks, denying them access to their homes and cars left in public parking lots. The only vehicles being allowed through are those with loud sirens; firefighters, an ambulance, police patrols and three K9 units. A helicopter combs the area at a close range.

It could have been a scene right out of a Hollywood movie but instead was real life in Highland Park, a community at the crossroad of change.

Perhaps most striking that day was how the community seemed to take things in stride, for the most part just going about their business in a neighborhood where gentrification is changing the face of what’s normal.

The best example being the group of mothers who, undaunted by the scene taking place outside of the Antigua Café, continued to press forward with their meeting with Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Ref Rodriguez, who initially followed police instructions to leave the area because it wasn’t safe, but at the women’s urging returned to meet with them.

“Padres de Highland Park,” a group of about eight mothers representing the 11 public elementary, middle and high schools in Highland Park, had a long, organized list of items they wanted Rodriguez to address. Charter schools were not represented and all the women taking part are Latina. They primarily spoke in Spanish, and repeatedly emphasized their desire to be partners in their children’s education.

Calling the mothers and children “mi familia” (my family), Rodriguez said he was ready to listen.

“The school never asks our opinion,” complained Daisy Ortiz, whose child attends Garvanza Elementary. “We are giving them our most precious treasure and you just make business out of their education,” she told Rodriguez.

The parents complained about schools that wait to incorporate accelerated or advanced classes until middle or high school.

“Advanced education has to start from elementary school,” said one mother as Rodriguez listen attentively and a member of his staff took copious notes on a laptop computer.

Some of the mothers stressed the importance of inclusion in the education of their children and asked the board member to help make it a school district goal.

“We want a resolution approved that will require the involvement of parents at the beginning of any process, instead of at the end,” Ortiz said.

You [the District] don’t have a vision for our children, she continued. “There are new positions in LAUSD to make money, but not to fix the educational system,” she lamented.

Taking turns speaking, the women asked Rodriguez to work with them on a list of goals they said would help improve Highland Park schools. Specifically, they want schools and the District to:
—Always consider parents and give them full and concrete information;
—Include parents’ opinion when implementing new school programs;
—Listen to [parents’] questions and concerns;
—Give parents workshops on how to conduct meetings and understand District information and;
—To hold quarterly meetings with the board member.

We don’t want to go to our school parent centers for Zumba or knitting classes, said Alma, who did not want to give her last name.

What we really need, she said, are experts who can teach parents how LAUSD meetings work so they can take part.

The best thing schools can do for families is to give them the opportunity to be included in the process, the women said.

They said they volunteer at their schools so their children will have a better future than the man police were searching for right outside their meeting.

“We are not against the District, we want to work with you, but words are not enough,” said Susana Zamorano, an organizer with CARECEN who works with the group.

Public schools need to work harder to keep students instead of pushing them to charter schools, Leticia Aldana told Rodriguez.

“[Students] leave public schools because they don’t feel welcome,” she said.

“Charter schools have more programs,” added another of the mothers.

Rodriguez answered specific questions about school data and other matters, and what he could not answer, he said he would look into and come back with an answer. He concluded the meeting by saying he would take all their comments and suggestions under consideration, and agreed to meet again.

Outside, the neighborhood was returning to normal as streets were reopened to pedestrians and traffic. LAPD Northeast Division Sergeant Christopher Gomez told EGP that police officers had observed a known gang member with a gun walking near Avenue 57 and attempted to stop him, which led to the foot pursuit and the suspect discarding the gun along the way. The suspect eventually surrendered without incident, said Gomez. The gun was not found.

Fatally Stabbed Man Identified

May 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities identified a man last week who was fatally stabbed in the Lincoln Heights area.

Officers sent to the 4100 block of Valley Boulevard on a report of a traffic crash about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday discovered a man with a stab wound to his chest inside the vehicle, said Los Angeles police Officer Ricardo Hernandez of the Media Relations Section.

Jose Diaz, 35, of Los Angeles died at a hospital, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said. No arrests were reported. Anyone with any information in the case was urged to call detectives at (323) 342-4100, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

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