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Los Angeles County

Surge becomes a Tsunami; 200,000 confirmed COVID cases in 7 Days

 “We ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread & keep people safe”

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Graphic courtesy of UCLA Research Administration

LOS ANGELES – LA County continues seeing high rates of transmission with more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days, the highest numbers of cases in one week since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have also doubled in one week to 3,200 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and over 20% of those getting tested are positive for COVID-19. Health officials are pointing out that it’s important to note that although the case counts are higher than last winter’s peak, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day, many people are becoming less severely ill due to the milder effects of the Omicron variant.

The exceptions are most notably those people who hare unvaccinated, and especially children and those with severe health issues. As the highly-contagious omicron variant sweeps across the world, threatening once again to overwhelm hospitals and already-exhausted health care staff, medical staff are prepping for yet another damaging battle, Stars and Stripes noted.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging residents to upgrade their masks to medical grade masks that do a better job at blocking COVID-19 virus particles and to reconsider attending higher-risk activities, including indoor activities where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, as well as crowded outdoor events.

 “As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “This includes wearing a medical grade mask that is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time around others who are unmasked. These upgraded masks can be a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator mask.”

On Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package – including a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request – to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation.

The Governor’s budget also calls for new legislation to implement supplemental paid sick leave policies given the current situation being driven by the Omicron variant to better protect our frontline workers. 

“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to battle COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there’s more work to be done,” said Newsom. “Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation, with a focus on the hardest-hit communities.”

Governor Newsom’s overall package includes: 

$1.2 BILLION: BOLSTER TESTING

  • Expand hours and capacity at testing sites throughout the state to help slow the spread.
  • Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics and county offices of education and schools. This is critical to the state’s operational readiness and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, and it includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to the Legislature for California’s immediate needs.
  • Supporting the state’s testing facilities, including specimen collection and expanding capacity in order to meet demand.
  • Supporting state departments in testing their staff and congregate populations

$583 MILLION: GET MORE CALIFORNIANS VACCINATED & BOOSTED, COMBAT MISINFORMATION

  • Continue the “Vaccinate all 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build vaccine confidence while combating misinformation, all of which is in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
  • Continue a robust community outreach and direct appointment assistance campaign by conducting door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and texting with over 700 CBOs and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
  • In-home vaccination and testing programs to meet Californians where they’re at.
  • Provide free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state to help get more Californians vaccinated and boosted.

$614 MILLION: SUPPORT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS

  • Support and distribution of critical personnel resources for health care systems to help protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity as well as additional staffing for vaccination sites.

$200 MILLION: SUPPORT STATE RESPONSE OPERATIONS

  • Resources to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services Authority.

$110 MILLION: SUPPORT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND BOLSTER CONTACT TRACING EFFORTS

  • Increased public health and humanitarian efforts at the California-Mexico border to keep migrants safe, including vaccinations, testing and isolation and quarantine services.
  • Expanded statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.

On Friday Newsom activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. 

This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December. 

California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site Friday
(Photo Credit: California National Guard)

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan will deploy over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities. 

These measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests.

The Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. County recorded 43,712 new coronavirus cases on Friday – the highest single-day total of the pandemic. The previous record, 37,215, came Thursday. Those numbers are well above the average daily peak last winter, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

Across California, emergency rooms are coming under strain as they contend with both the rising case numbers and people seeking coronavirus tests – all as their workers are increasingly being stricken by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

On Saturday morning The New York Times reported that the pace of daily new infections of the coronavirus has nearly doubled in the past week, surpassing two million known cases a day, underscoring just how quickly the Omicron variant has spread around the world.

On April 25 last year, the global average hit a high of more than 827,000 cases, a level that has been surpassed on each of the last 12 days as the world’s case curve charts a nearly vertical rise.

Health authorities around the world reported 2.1 million cases on average in the past seven days, nearly three times the amount two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. The latest wave of cases has been driven by outbreaks in the United States and Europe, where the Omicron variant has become dominant.

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Hospitals Pushed To The Brink With Covid Cases On The Rise:

Los Angeles County

Monterey Park grieves as investigators probe for a motive

As the community grieves the Langley Senior Center in Monterey Park has become a resource center for survivors and families of the victims

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The Star Ballroom in Monterey Park Calif. (Star Ballroom/Facebook)

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. – As Monterey Park police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators piece together the events of Saturday’s massacre at the Star Ballroom on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the majority-Asian community is in deep grief.

UPDATE from the Los Angeles Times Monday:

The death toll in the Lunar New Year mass shooting in Monterey Park rose to 11 Monday, after one person who was injured in the massacre died at the hospital.

The first 10 victims were all in their 50s, 60s or 70s, according to the L.A. County coroner. Only two – My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63 – have been identified by name. No age or name was immediately given for the latest victim.

A spokesperson for the LA County Sheriff’s Department told the Blade Monday that detectives are attempting to determine the motive that drove 72-year-old Huu Can Tran to kill 10 people and wound 10 others in the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom before traveling to the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra. Tran was forcibly disarmed and fled in a White cargo van.

Tran was later found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot would hours later after a stand-off with LASD and local police tactical units in Torrance.

Law enforcement sources said that the investigation is focused on Tran’s prior interactions at two dance studios targeted and whether jealousy over a relationship was a possible motive stressing that the investigation is in its early stages. But detectives believe that Tran had frequented both clubs.

Speaking to reporters, Congresswoman Judy Chu who represents the area and is herself a former Mayor and City Councilmember of Monterey Park stated: “I still have questions in my mind, which is: What was the motive for this shooter? Did he have a mental illness? Was he a domestic violence abuser? How did he get these guns and was it through legal means or not?” 

Brandon Tsay, 26, who helps run the Lai Lai dance hall with his family, spoke to ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America,” telling her he heard the front door click close behind him.

He told Roberts that the gunman was “looking around the room” as if he was “looking for targets — people to harm.”

“That’s when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was I was going to die here, this is it.”

“He started prepping the weapon and something came over me,” Tsay said. “I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. I needed to take this weapon, disarm him or else everybody would have died.”

“When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle,” he added. “We struggled into the lobby, trying to get this gun away from each other. He was hitting me across the face, bashing the back of my head.”

Tsay speaking with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America:”

As the community grieves the Langley Senior Center in Monterey Park has become a resource center for survivors and families of the victims. The American Red Cross, Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team and the Department of Mental Health are there to offer assistance. The center is located at 400 W Emerson Ave.

A GoFundMe has created a central page with all verified fundraising campaigns.

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Los Angeles County

Monterey Park shooter is deceased & identified, no motive known

Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna as the suspect in the mass shooting

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna (Screenshot/YouTube KNBC 4 LA)

MONTEREY PARK –Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna as the suspect in the mass shooting at a ballroom dance studio late Saturday night that killed 10 people and wounded an additional ten persons.

Sheriff Luna confirmed that the suspect was discovered deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being confronted by Torrance Police and LA County Sheriff Department’s tactical teams Sunday morning in the parking lot of a shopping center off Hawthorne Blvd near Sepulveda Blvd in Torrance. He was driving a vehicle sought in the shootings, a White cargo van with stolen plates Luna noted.

The Sheriff also told reporters in the late Sunday evening press conference that police recovered a semi-automatic assault style handgun with an extra capacity magazine. Less than 20 minutes after the mass shooting in Monterey Park, bystanders wrestled a gun away from a man at a dance hall in Alhambra, Luna added.

Luna said that at this time the motive for the shooting has not been established he also indicated that the majority of the victims appeared to be older past the age of 50 although victims have not been identified as the investigation is ongoing.

The White House released a statement from President Biden late Sunday:

Jill and I are thinking of those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park. While there is still much we don’t know about the motive in this senseless attack, we do know that many families are grieving tonight, or praying that their loved one will recover from their wounds. 

Even as we continue searching for answers about this attack, we know how deeply this attack has impacted the AAPI community. Monterey Park is home to one of the largest AAPI communities in America, many of whom were celebrating the Lunar New Year along with loved ones and friends this weekend. 

Early this morning, I directed my Homeland Security Advisor to mobilize full federal support to local and state authorities as they continue to respond and investigate this shooting.  As we await more crucial information from law enforcement, I want to assure the community of Monterey Park and the broader area that we will support you in every way we can. 

The President also issued a honoring the victims:

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on January 21, 2023, in Monterey Park, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 26, 2023.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

Watch Live: Monterey Park Shooting Update:

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Los Angeles County

Police in stand-off with mass shooting suspect in Torrance ends

UPDATE: LASD deputies gained entrance to the white cargo van. The person inside was found deceased

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Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7

TORRANCE – Multiple law enforcement agencies are on scene in a stand-off with the suspect in the mass-shooting at a Monterey Park ballroom at around 10:22pm Saturday night.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s tactical units have boxed in a late model white van in the parking lot of a shopping center off Hawthorne Blvd near Sepulveda Blvd in Torrance.

UPDATE: LASD deputies gained entrance to the white cargo van. The person inside was found deceased

Screenshot KABC 7 News

Though official confirmation has not yet been released, authorities believe the person inside the white cargo van is the person who killed 10 and wounded 10 others in Monterey Park, as well as possibly being the attacker who was disarmed in nearby Alhambra a few minutes after the initial attack.

That white van is currently boxed in by two SWAT vehicles, and a large police presence has established a wide perimeter around the van.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting by his homeland security advisor, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. He directed the FBI to provide support to local authorities and keep him updated.

“Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in last night’s deadly mass shooting in Monterey Park,” Biden tweeted. “I’m monitoring this situation closely as it develops, and urge the community to follow guidance from local officials and law enforcement in the hours ahead.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also issued a statement via Twitter:

“Monterey Park should have had a night of joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year,” Newsom said. “Instead, they were the victims of a horrific and heartless act of gun violence. Our hearts mourn as we learn more about the devastating acts of last night. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass extended her sympathies to the residents of Monterey Park also on Twitter:

LIVE coverage from ABC 7 Eyewitness News:

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Los Angeles County

Mass shooting in Monterey Park kills 10- police search for gunman

The Sheriff said that because of ongoing investigation & search for the suspect he was limited in being able to provide some specific details

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna addresses reporters (Screenshot/YouTube)

MONTEREY PARK – A man walked into a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night and opened fire killing 10 people Los Angeles County Sheriff Department spokesperson Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters in a press conference outside of the Monterey Park Civic Center Sunday morning that his agency, in partnership with other regional law enforcement agencies and the FBI, are actively searching for the shooting suspect, an Asian male between the age range of 30 to 50.

According to the Sheriff, the victims were 5 females and 5 males. The mass shooting, one of California’s worst in recent memory, happened at around 10:22 p.m., sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Meyer told reporters Sunday morning. “When officers arrived on scene, they observed numerous individuals, patrons pouring out of the location, screaming. The officers made entry to the location and located additional victims,” Meyer said.

Monterey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese said that because his agency was wrapping up the Lunar New Year event from earlier in the day and because the location of the shooting was so close to the department his officers was able to respond immediately to the 911 reports of the incident.

Sheriff Luna said that because of ongoing investigation and the search for the suspect he was limited in being able to provide some specific details, the Sheriff also did not label the incident a hate crime but indicated all options are on the table. Monterey Park Police Chief Wiese told reporters that his investigators think that it was unrelated to the massive Lunar New Year celebration.

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released a statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to the mass shooting in Monterey Park on Lunar New Year’s Eve:

“My heart breaks for the victims of last night’s shooting in Monterey Park, their families and loved ones. A day of celebration for so many in our API communities, as we welcome the Lunar New Year, has become a day of mourning. Equality California stands ready with our partners to support those impacted, as we continue to combat hate and gun violence that fueled this horrific attack.”

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Los Angeles County

Sheila Kuehl honored with Hero Award

Kuehl will be honored on Jan. 18 during the Los Angeles Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023 

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Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl/Facebook

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – “I haven’t been this happy since I was in my 20s,” says out former Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who will celebrate her 82nd birthday on Feb. 9. “The freedom of deciding or not deciding every day what you want to do without any weight on you, without any expectations on you, without any demands on you, is enormously freeing and really, really pleasant.”

After almost three decades as an elected leader and actively fighting for progressive issues, Kuehl’s final day in office representing the Third District was Nov. 22, 2022 — a day filled with celebration and grateful tears shed by colleagues and friends.

Now she’ll have time to write. The working title for her planned autobiography is “My Life As I Remember It: Probably a Novel.”

Much of that life has been in service of advancing LGBTQ rights, for which Kuehl is being honored by the Los Angeles Blade and the Ari Getty Foundation on Jan. 18 at 10 DTLA during the Blade’s Best of LGBTQ LA Readers’ Choice Awards 2023.

In an odd flash of fickle fate, Kuehl culminated her long legislative career in much the way as she began it — protected by bodyguards from threatening bullies. In 1994, the bullies were knuckle-dragging followers of Far Right rhetorical bombastic bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich. Today, the bullies are followers of Gingrich’s heir, Donald Trump, some of whom the Department of Justice considers domestic terrorists.

In Kuehl’s case, her primary bully was LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who LA Magazine dubbed “the Donald Trump of L.A. Law Enforcement.” Last Sept. 14, after two years of fiercely fighting Villanueva over alleged LASD wrongdoing, a slew of Sheriff’s deputies pounded on Kuehl’s door at 7:00am, served her with a search warrant in a corruption investigation, and escorted her outside barefoot to a face a throng of reporters and TV news cameras.

The raid was big news but backfired on Villanueva, who subsequently lost his bid for re-election. The LA Times reported succinctly: “A Times review of the case found it is based on the testimony of just one person, a former Metro employee named Jennifer Loew, who brought her bribery complaint to at least fourlaw enforcement agencies, but found a receptive audience only at the Sheriff’s Department. The Times found no evidence to support Loew’s allegation.”

1994 was also a year of living dangerously. Gingrich was elevated to the traditionally respected position of Speaker of the US House of Representatives and pledged to implement his anti-gay, lie-based Contract with America, civility be damned. Meanwhile Kuehl and her best friend Torie Osborn were watching a new LGBTQ movement grow and get stronger as thousands of LGBTQ people, AIDS activists, Queer Nationals and allies took over the streets in 1991 after California GOP Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 101, the gay rights bill he had promised to sign.

“Thousands and thousands of us were on the street, as opposed to just being in the closet and hiding in a lot of shame,” says Kuehl. “I had not really thought about running. I was engaged in more of the Women’s Movement, especially domestic violence issues, sexual assault issues, trying to get any law in California to deal with domestic violence, which it didn’t have at the time. We founded the California Women’s Law Center.

“There was a lot going on in the ’70s and ’80s and there was a lot to push back against,” Kuehl continues. “There’s a difference between working towards something when there’s nothing there and working to gain something back — like the loss of Roe v Wade (the federal law permitting abortion). Our expectations grew, but there was nothing in place to protect us. I actually had not thought about running. But I had been up and back to Sacramento many times testifying on new domestic violence bills that I helped to draft before I was elected and I understood from sitting for so many hours at committee hearings that there was no silver bullet genius talent in these members, that they were just like me — and in some cases, less capable because they hadn’t been to law school. They didn’t really understand the issues.”

Then, on Jan. 17, 1994, two earthquakes happened at once – the Northridge earthquake and Kuehl’s decision to enter politics.

“There was broken glass and fallen pictures and glasses and everything all over my house. I picked up the LA Times and it says, ‘Terry’s not running,’” she recalls, referring to Assemblymember Terry Friedman. “I think, ‘Okay, this is my chance if I’m going to be one of those people sitting in those chairs and try to make a difference.’ I started exploring running, and frankly, I didn’t think at that moment about how historic it would be. I didn’t think about being the first gay person if I got through whatever. I felt more like a feminist progressive that needed to be there to add that voice to the table.”

Kuehl quickly discovered that she was making history. But her victory as the first gay person elected to the California State Legislature was fraught with danger, with so many death threats, then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown ordered a bodyguard for her protection. “I had to wear a bulletproof vest the whole first year that I was in the legislature,” Kuehl told Spectrum News1.

But braving those threats and doing the work, then and now, is not the only reason Sheila Kuehl is an LGBTQ hero. She recognizes her place in the largely invisible long span of LGBTQ history.

“Just as people have said they’re standing on my shoulders,” Kuehl says, “I stood on a lot of shoulders, too.”

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Karen Ocamb is the former news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. She is an award-winning journalist who, upon graduating from Skidmore College, started her professional career at CBS News in New York.

Ocamb started in LGBTQ media in the late 1980s after more than 100 friends died from AIDS. She covered the spectrum of the LGBTQ movement for equality until June 2020, including pressing for LGBTQ data collection during the COVID pandemic.

Since leaving the LA Blade Ocamb joined Public Justice in March of 2021 to advocate for civil rights and social, economic, and racial justice issues.

She lives in West Hollywood, California with her two rescue dogs.

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Los Angeles County

LA County Sheriff’s deputy threatens to shoot unarmed rapper

The man involved is a Los Angeles-based rapper named Feezy Lebron, who was not arrested & instead got a ticket for a missing license plate

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Screenshot from Full body cam video of the Dec. 31, 2022, incident released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

LOS ANGELES – A New Year’s Eve incident involving South Los Angeles-based rapper Feezy LeBron and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department patrol deputies recorded on a deputy-worn body cam was released Friday by the LASD.

The video has since gone viral, sparking public outrage and concern.

In the footage two deputies are recorded aggressively confronting the rapper and after he starts to ask questions about their reasoning for investigating him, the situation quickly escalates with one deputy threatening to shoot the unarmed LeBron while he was sitting inside his car in Gardena, in a parking lot of a strip shopping center.

KTLA reported:

“If you take off in this car, I’m going to shoot you,” says the deputy in the video. “I’m going to make it super easy on you. You put this car in drive, you’re getting one right to the chest.”

Lebron said he was using his cell phone while in his car at a parking lot on the 14900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard when two passing deputies approached him, asking him to exit his vehicle.

As the first deputy tries physically removing him from the driver’s seat, the second deputy says, “I’m just going to spray you. Get out or you’re getting sprayed,” while pointing a pepper spray can at the rapper.

Eventually, it escalates as the deputy points a handgun toward Lebron. As Lebron stays seated with both hands raised, he asks the deputy why he wanted to shoot him. 

Full body cam video of the Dec. 31, 2022, incident released by the LA County Sheriff’s Department

The rapper is told that if he doesn’t comply, he’ll be arrested and his car would be towed. He eventually steps out of the vehicle and is taken into custody.

“Unfortunately for you, you shouldn’t smoke so much weed in your car and then we wouldn’t have to search you,” the deputy says as Lebron is being handcuffed.

“I didn’t smoke no weed in my car, it’s not illegal,” Lebron replies. 

“Do you have anger issues?” the deputy asks as the patrol car doors close on the rapper.

The L.A. Sheriff’s Department released a statement on the incident:

“One deputy displayed pepper spray, then drew his firearm and used unprofessional language, which later resulted in a complaint filed by that community member. The Sheriff’s Department has opened an investigation into the deputies’ actions and language.”

After the incident, Lebron was not arrested and was instead given a ticket for a missing license plate.

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From KTLA 5:

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Los Angeles County

Texas man arrested for antisemitic hate crime in Beverly Hills

The initial investigation revealed he carved Nazi symbols into the base of the Menorah. He was charged with felony vandalism and a hate crime

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Screenshot/YouTube surveillance video of Beverly Hills hate crime suspect 12-18-22

BEVERLY HILLS – Beverly Hills Police responded to a call Sunday evening of a reported suspect defacing a Menorah on private property in the area of Sunset Boulevard and Foothill Road.

Eric Brian King from Dallas, Texas, was taken into custody after surveillance video depicted him throwing objects at a Menorah. The initial investigation revealed that King carved Nazi symbols into the base of the Menorah. He was charged with felony vandalism and a hate crime.  BHPD Detectives are conducting a follow-up investigation, which may lead to additional charges.

“A despicable act such as this will never be tolerated in our City,” said Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook. 

Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County grew 23% from 641 to 786 in 2021. The number of reported hate crimes across the county has reached the highest total seen in 19 years, according to a report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs, and tables, as well as specific race/ethnicity data and examples, please visit https://hrc.lacounty.gov.

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Los Angeles County

Parks & Rec wraps Winter Wonderland for the year this weekend

Join Us for One Final Weekend Filled with Tons of Snow, Sled Rides, Toy Giveaways and a Visit from Santa Claus!

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time, Los Angeles County! Parks After Dark returns this weekend for one final installment of this year’s Parks After Dark Winter Wonderland events that will bring holiday cheer along with 40 to 80 tons of snow to 34 L.A. County Parks in the month of December.

New this year to the Winter Wonderland experience is a Teen Zone where young adults can enjoy their own space to hang out with their friends, create and design art, listen to music, silkscreen holiday shirts and make their own personalized Santa hat!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Also beginning this year, selected parks will double their fun with Mega Snow days, which will bring up to 80 tons of snow to Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, Val Verde Park, Belvedere Park, El Cariso Park, Loma Alta Park, Ted Watkins Park, Roosevelt Park and Valleydale Park.

The L.A. County Parks Winter Wonderland is possible thanks to the generosity of Los Angeles Department of Social Services, Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, and the L.A. County Probation Department.

“Parks After Dark brings family, friends, neighbors and community together in their local park,” County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Norma Edith García-González said. “The Winter Wonderland experience will provide youth and families a memorable snow day experience and much more to celebrate the joy of the holiday season. I am grateful to DPR Staff for all their work to bring 40 to 80 tons of snow to 34 parks this holiday season!”

Parks After Dark, launched in 2010, has proven to be a successful prevention and intervention program that provides multiple benefits to vulnerable communities, decreasing violence and crime, and increasing social cohesion and community well-being. In 2018, Parks After Dark was recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association, which presented L.A. County Parks and Recreation with is Best in Innovation award.

For more information on Parks After Dark Winter Wonderland, visit https://parks.lacounty.gov/winterpad


Winter Wonderland Banner

Locations, Dates, and Times for Parks After Dark
Winter Wonderland are listed below:

Friday, Dec. 16

  • Ruben F. Salazar Park – 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles (4-8 p.m.)
  • William Steinmetz Park – 1545 S, Stimson Ave., Hacienda Heights – (4-8 p.m.)
  • Amigo Park – 5700 S. Juarez Ave., Whittier – (4-8 p.m.)
  • Amelia Mayberry Park – 13201 E. Meyer Rd., Whittier – (4-8 p.m.)

Saturday, Dec. 17

  • Stephen Sorenson Park – 16801 E. Avenue P, Lake Los Angeles (12-4 p.m.)
    (Mega Snow)
  • Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E. Avenue R, Littlerock – (4-8 p.m.)
  • Mona Park – 2291 E. 121st St., Compton (12-4 p.m.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Park – 7600 Graham Ave., Los Angeles – (4-8 p.m.)
    (Mega Snow)
  • Rimgrove Park – 747 N. Rimgrove Dr., La Puente – (12-4 p.m.)
  • Allen J. Martin Park – 14830 E. Giordano St., La Puente – (4-8 p.m.)
  • Valleydale Park – 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa – (4-8 p.m.) (Mega Snow)
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Los Angeles County

The State of Hate: LA highest hate crimes reported in 19 years

Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County grew 23% from 641 to 786 in 2021. This is the largest number recorded since 2002

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LA vs HATE - LA County Campaign (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released a report Wednesday that showed that hate crimes in Los Angeles County have reached a total that is the highest recorded in 19 years.

Since 1980, LACCHR has compiled, analyzed, and produced this annual report of hate crime data submitted by over 100 law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and community-based organizations in Los Angeles County.

Crime data submitted by over 100 law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and community-based organizations in Los Angeles County was used showed that hate crimes in Los Angeles County grew 23% from 641 to 786 in 2021, according to the report. This is the largest number recorded since 2002.

The crimes overwhelmingly included acts of violence, and more than half were spurred by racism. Blacks, Latinos, Jews and LGBTQ individuals were the most-targeted groups. While Black residents only make up 9% of the county’s population, the report showed that they comprise 46% of hate crime victims.

“The year 2021 began with a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, led in part by white nationalist groups,” said Robin Toma, the Commission’s Executive Director.  “The shocking revolt was evidence of not only growing political polarization, but a country deeply divided along lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.  Against this backdrop, hate crimes across the nation, including L.A. County, skyrocketed in 2021.”

The report noted that transgender people experience the highest rate of violent crimes at 93%, and racial crimes against the Black, Hispanic, Asian and Muslim communities all increased.

“The rise in hate crimes across Los Angeles County is deeply distressing. Our most vulnerable neighbors are facing enough challenges, and now have to worry about a greater risk of being attacked or harassed because of who they are. That is unacceptable,” said Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “As Chair of the Board I’m looking forward to engaging with our partners across the County and with community groups to tackle these crimes. Hate has no place in LA County.”

The report’s significant findings include the following:

  • Hate crimes have grown 105% since hitting an all-time low in 2013.
  • The overall rate of violence increased from 68% to 74%, the highest rate in at least 20 years* Transgender victims experienced the highest rate of violence (93%), followed by homophobic (89%), racial (78%), and religious crimes (53%).
  • The 23% increase in hate crime was largely due to a 17% spike in racial crimes. Crimes targeting African Americans, Latino/as, Asians and Middle Easterners all rose dramatically. Racist offenses constituted 58% of all hate crimes.  
  • As in past years, Blacks were grossly over-represented. Although Blacks constitute only 9% of County residents, they comprised 46% of racial crime victims.  Anti-Black crimes jumped 30% from 169 to 219.
  • Latino/as comprised 25% of racial victims and anti-Latino/a crimes rose 10% from 106 to 117. Latino/as were the most likely of the larger targeted groups to be targets of violent racially motivated crime. In 78% of these crimes, anti-Mexican slurs were used.
  • Crimes targeting Asians grew 67% from 46 to 77 and comprised 16% of racially motivated offenses. In 23% of these crimes, the suspects blamed the victims for the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Crimes targeting persons of Middle Eastern descent rose 267% from 3 to 11.
  • Crimes in which suspects used specifically anti-immigrant slurs skyrocketed 48% from 56 to 83, the largest number ever recorded.
  • Sexual orientation attacks grew 15% from 124 to 142 and made up 17% of all hate crimes. Eighty-five percent of these crimes targeted gay men.
  • Religious-motivated offenses spiked 29% from 86 to 111 and made up 14% of all hate crimes. The rate of violence (53%) was the second highest on record*  The Jewish community was targeted in 74% of these cases.
  • Anti-transgender hate crimes rose 24% from 33 to 41. This number nearly tied the largest number ever reported (42, in 2019).
  • The largest number of hate crimes took place in the Metro Service Planning Area, which stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights, followed by the San Fernando Valley region. However, if one compares the populations of the areas to the numbers of reported hate crimes, the Metro region had the highest rate, followed by the Western region (which includes parts of West L.A., Beverly Hills, Culver City, and several affluent beach communities).
  • Hate crimes committed by gang members increased 69%, from 32 to 54. Seventy-four percent were racial and the majority targeted African Americans.

“There is no room for intolerance and hate against anyone in Los Angeles County. I am disappointed by the most recent statistics that show we are going in the opposite direction of being inclusive,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “My office is committed to prosecuting those types of crimes that are motivated by hate and anger toward any group based on their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation. We need to recognize, respect, and celebrate our differences so we can build a stronger foundation of healthy and safe communities.”

Since launching in June 2020, LAvsHate.org website content has been viewed over 1 billion times and has been shared more than 180 million times. Since September 2019, when L.A. vs. Hate and 211 began accepting calls, L.A. vs. Hate has received more than 1,900 reports.  Approximately, 90% of those callers have requested assistance via case management.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs, and tables, as well as specific race/ethnicity data and examples, please visit https://hrc.lacounty.gov.

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Los Angeles County

Investigation in death of LGBT Center worker still misgendering her

The discovery of her remains came after intensive efforts by family and friends who actively searched for her filed a missing person’s report

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – In an updated statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department into the death of Los Angeles LGBT Center staff member Day Rodas, a 27-year-old transgender woman, the agency continues to misgender her.

Rodas, who worked in the Community Health Program at the L.A. LGBT Center, was a San Fernando Valley native and UCLA graduate. The discovery of her remains came after intensive efforts by family and friends who actively searched for her and filed a missing person’s report.

 Day Rodas (Family photo)

Her body was left along the road in the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains north of El Matador Beach in Malibu. A motorist found her on the side of the road and pulled over to try to help, California Highway Patrol spokesperson Lt. Patricia Thomas told media outlets. However, Rodas was already dead.

In the updated statement issued Tuesday December 6th, 2022, which continued to misgender Rodas, the LASD said that an autopsy of the decedent was conducted on Friday, December 2, 2022, by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office. 

The Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office did not find any obvious signs of trauma and preliminary findings indicated there were narcotics in the decedent’s body.  LASD Homicide Investigators are treating this incident as a possible narcotics overdose and CHP spokesperson Thomas, said that it was likely the victim’s body was brought to the location.

GoFundMe post made on Sunday to raise money for her funeral expenses was created by her sibling Susie Rodas.

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