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LAPD says anti-Trans protest at Koreatown spa erupts in violence

LAPD is actively pursuing investigations into the 5 incidents and said several were reported injured as a result of the two sides clashing.

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Screenshot via coverage from freelance news videographer Vishal P. Singh

LOS ANGELES – A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said that officers from the LAPD’s Rampart Division were mobilized after a clash between pro and anti-LGBTQ protestors occurred Saturday at the edge of Koreatown near the MacArthur Park neighborhood.

LAPD spokesperson Officer Mike Lopez told the Blade via phone Saturday afternoon that a number of confrontations took place at Wi Spa at 2700 Wilshire Blvd., which resulted in 5 separate crimes including 3 physical assaults, and 2 other assaults one involving use of a deadly weapon. Lopez said that the LAPD is actively pursuing investigations into the 5 incidents and also acknowledged that several persons were reported injured as a result of the two sides clashing.

The protests erupted after a transphobic video was posted on Instagram this past week regarding an incident at the upscale salon which allows its patrons to use its facilities according to their gender identity. An Instagram user Cubana Angel posted a video using transphobic terms as she complained to staffers about a Trans female patron:

“So, it’s OK for a man to go into the women’s section, show his penis around the other women, young little girls — underage — in your spa? Wi Spa condones that, is that what you’re saying?” she asks.

Another customer tells the woman to go somewhere else if she’s offended.

“You go somewhere else!” she replies. “You go somewhere else!”

Another male customer attempts to defend the trans person, who is not seen in the video, but the woman isn’t convinced. “He’s a man. He is a man. He is not no female,” she says.

Warning some of the following content may be offensive:

In an emailed statement Wi Spa defended its policy to Los Angeles Magazine about last weekend’s incident, Wi Spa points to California Civil Code 51 (b), which makes discriminating against trans and other gender non-conforming people in business establishments illegal in the state. “Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa,” the statement goes on. “Wi Spa strives to meet the needs of all its customers.”

Plans to protest the salon on social media by those opposed to the Trans-inclusive policy were offset by LGBT+ activists and the SoCal Antifa group. The protest was scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Wi Salon by those opposed to the policy, but supporters of trans rights with SoCal Antifa arrived on scene up two hours holding a “No Bigotry in L.A.” rally at which point the two groups eventually collided as emotions ran high.

Video from the scene on twitter and Instagram showed the trans rights supports clad in black assaulting anti-trans/anti-LGBTQ protesters. Several of those black-clad demonstrators could be heard cursing at the protesters to “get the fuck out.”

Other video of the clashes and arrival of officers from the LAPD’s Rampart Division was documented by LA-based documentary filmmaker, LGBTQ+ supporter and freelance news videographer Vishal P. Singh:

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Los Angeles

LAPD: Body found on fire hanging in tree in Griffith Park likely a suicide

The person’s age, identity and gender have not yet been determined, but they are believed to be a person who frequents the park

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Screenshot/YouTube KABC ABC 7 LA

LOS ANGELES – The body of an unidentified person deceased found hanging from a tree near the Griffith Park’s merry go round was likely a suicide a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday.

The body was discovered at around 12:30 p.m. on fire and hanging from a tree. Los Angeles City firefighters put the flames out and LAPD detectives investigated and found no signs of foul play, determining that most likely the cause of death was suicide.

“It appears to be self-immolation,” said LAPD detective Michael Ventura. “This is going to be somebody who brought some gasoline, brought some lighters. We have had, they are rare, but we do have cases where people will self-immolate. Or they choose to set themselves on fire.”

The person’s age, identity and gender have not yet been determined, but they are believed to be a person who frequents the park on a regular basis Ventura said.

Independent freelance journalist Vishal P. Singh, who was on scene tweeted about the incident:

KABC reported:

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or dial 988

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Los Angeles

LAPD respond after protestors disrupt LA City Council vote on homeless

All of City Council left except for Councilmembers Raman, Harris-Dawson, & Bonin who have previously voted against the expansion of 41.18

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Jonny Peltz/Twitter

LOS ANGELES – After protestors angrily voiced opposition and one charged towards the council dais disrupting the LA City Council’s impending vote Tuesday on a mass expansion of 41.18 zones, which will prohibit encampments of unhoused persons near schools and daycare centers, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Riot Squad was called-in.

The meeting erupted into chaos after a member of the public who was speaking climbed over a bench and charged toward Council President Nury Martinez. Police quickly filled the council floor to apprehend the person and another member of the public. Activists screamed at police, and at least one audience member attempted to spray water on officers.

Martinez abruptly recessed the meeting as dozens of activists in the room chanted “Abolish 41.18!” – a reference to the city law prohibiting homeless encampments at libraries, freeway overpasses and other locations.

Jonny Peltz, a freelance reporter for Knock LA, a nonprofit community journalism project, live tweeted the proceedings.

KTLA reported the Council voted to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of city schools and day care centers after protesters again rallied against the expanded motion.

The final vote on the motion 11-3 in favor of the widespread ban.

Before the updated motion passed, camps were banned within 500 feet of facilities deemed sensitive, such as schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries but only if those areas have been designated for enforcement.

Tuesday’s vote means a blanket ban on encampments within 500 feet of every private school and day care centers in the city.

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Los Angeles

LAPD increases patrol force by 200 in Hollywood to combat rising crime

“If you come here to commit crime, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, you will be jailed or imprisoned,” said O’Farrell

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Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department

HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles Police Department has been deploying additional resources over the past seven months as the neighborhoods around Hollywood have experienced sharp increases in petty thefts, robberies, shootings and homicides.

On Wednesday, Out Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell hosted an event to spotlight more aggressive actions being taken by the LAPD and other city officials to stem the uptick in crime in the heart of the City’s entertainment district.

“If you plan to come to Hollywood to commit crime, you are not welcome,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “All Angelenos should feel safe where they live and work. By bringing additional LAPD shifts to Hollywood, we are strengthening the holistic approach my office is taking to public safety – one that brings unarmed services to people in distress, while ensuring our LAPD officers have the necessary tools to effectively prevent and address crime.”

“If you come here to commit crime, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, you will be jailed or imprisoned,” said O’Farrell adding; “There is no permissiveness in Hollywood. We’re not going to permit or tolerate that.”

Screenshot KABC ABC 7 Los Angeles

“That’s really basically about 200 more officers out on the street here on Hollywood Boulevard. “They’re going to be on foot, they’re going to be in patrol cars, they’re going to be on horseback, they’re going to be on bikes,” LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow told attendees and reporters attending the event.

Graphic via KABC ABC 7 News LA

Year to date, Hollywood has seen a 75% increase in homicides and 35.6% increase in shots fired, while robbery and theft have risen by 19.4% and 24.7% respectively, compared to 2021. This latest effort to enhance public safety follows Councilmember O’Farrell’s groundbreaking work to bring the CIRCLE program, the City’s first unarmed model of crisis response, to Hollywood, in addition to supporting a City budget that accounts for attrition rates within LAPD’s ranks.

“People need to feel safe when they’re in Hollywood,” said Deputy Chief Chow. “We’re thankful to Councilmember O’Farrell for these additional resources and look forward to quickly putting them to use to prevent, deter and address crime.”

“Public safety requires robust collaboration and an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said James Hegler, Director of Operations for the CIRCLE Program. “We’re proud of our successful working relationship with Councilmember O’Farrell and LAPD, which helps us bring unarmed services to Angelenos in need so that LAPD can focus their resources on actual crime.”

“Public safety is an essential part of a thriving local economy,” said Kathleen Rawson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hollywood Partnership. “As Hollywood emerges from the pandemic, having officers on the street and available to respond to calls is necessary for our businesses to safely keep their doors open and welcome visitors back to this iconic boulevard.”

In addition to deployment of added LAPD resources, O’Farrell on Wednesday introduced a motion that, when approved by the City Council, would strengthen LAPD’s presence in Hollywood with additional officer shifts.

The $216,000 effort would be funded directly by O’Farrell’s office as part of his comprehensive approach to public safety in Hollywood a spokesperson said in a statement.

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