A deputy shot a knife-wielding man in El Monte last week. We were maxed out at work and just catching up on things now… Here’s a little more info from channel 7.
On October 14, 1997, Deputy Shayne York was murdered during a robbery in Buena Park. Two suspects robbed a hair salon and proned their victims out on the ground. As they went through the victims’ wallets they discovered Deputy York’s flat badge and executed him with a bullet to the back of his head. After leaving they committed another robbery. They were later arrested by the Fullerton Police Department.
Meanwhile, his accomplice, Andre Willis, was sentenced to life in prison so, naturally, is hoping to get out after 20 years.
ALADS has sent Governor Jerry Brown a letter urging him not to commute the sentence. You can view the letter by clicking here.
ALADS is urging departmental personnel to write their own appeals to Governor Brown, as well. An easy way you can do that is through this link.
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, which has the best and most frequent newspaper coverage of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, has a longer story about the effort to oppose commutation here.
Congratulations and thank you to Carson Station Deputies Jeffrey Rupert and Chad Micek on their recovery of a stolen U-Haul truck full of property a family was moving to their new home in Northern California (presumably because of the rising crime in Southern California!).
And as a training matter, this is a great reminder for everyone to always check out and run the plates of U-Hauls and other box trucks and vans. It looks like that’s what the deps did here and it paid off for them, for our county, and for this lucky family.
LASD responded in force to this morning’s reported active shooters at two Palmdale high schools. It now appears the incident was a dispute between two students, the Los Angeles Times is now reporting.
Though information is still coming in, it appears one student was shot in the arm at Highland High School and one juvenile suspect is detained. A report of a second shooter at Manzanita High School was a false alarm–or “hoax” as a CHP dispatcher referred to it on the air.
We expect many updates will follow throughout the day and while we loudly applaud the aggressive and competent response by Palmdale and Lancaster patrol personnel, we have serious questions about the Department’s response, its readiness for a true active shooter incident, glaring red flags in what we heard in this morning’s radio traffic, and about the Department’s support for the Antelope Valley area more generally.
- Listening to the radio traffic (beginning 15:30 in), it seems over five minutes went by before a response to an active shooter incident was coordinated on “the patch” (by dropping the busy tone).
- While responding deputies were self-mobilizing and requesting additional support from the LA basin, it sounded to us as if the Palmdale Station Desk (directed by the watch commander) ordered that only three units respond code-3 (with lights and siren). This is Parkland-response thinking and must be scrutinized.
- California Highway Patrol units were requested to assist LASD in “locking down” the school, yet deputies were still unable to communicate with them an hour after the incident began because their radio systems are incompatible. This is not new information; it’s a daily problem when the agencies must coordinate in response to vehicle pursuits and, as here, is done very sloppily if at all. Had this been a true active shooter incident, the consequences could have been catastrophic. LASD is responsible for the county’s radio system, so it’s on us.
- LASD could not get a helicopter to the incident because of clouds in the mountains between the basin and the AV. Again, this is a daily problem, and the lack of a dedicated and fully staffed airship in the AV poses a serious safety risk to deputies every day and, as we can see here, to the public.
- While CHP was able to get an airship to the scene, it was unable to directly communicate with deputies on the ground. The air crew’s frustration regarding this is evident in listening to the second half of the radio traffic.
- It did not seem like LASD could get a helicopter from the LA basin to the Antelope Valley due to weather in the mountains. However, this is a nearly daily occurrence and the AV’s dedicated airship is seldom actually in the air.
- LASD’s SWAT team (the Special Enforcement Bureau) was fighting traffic to get from East LA to the AV nearly an hour after the shots were fired.
- How many deputies in the field at the time had patrol rifles? We heard deputies responding with rifles from the station. Again, in a true active shooter situation, this is far too late. Deputies told Sheriff McDonnell four years ago they had too few rifles in the field, of too poor quality. We don’t think much has changed.
Why has the Department made the Lancaster and Palmdale areas so dependent upon resources coming up from LA, particularly when they are often unable to do so due to traffic and weather?
Do you work Lancaster or Palmdale? Were you a deputy or chippie taking part in the response? What do you think?
It appears the deputy saw a suspicious person and went to stop him. At some point he saw what appeared to be a handgun in the suspect’s waistband and that the suspect drew the apparent handgun and pointed it at the deputy, at which point a shooting occurred.
LASD.News found the radio traffic on a public website and it’s linked here. It starts about 7 minutes in.
In the recording you can clearly hear the deputy saying he has a suspect detained with a “417” (firearm). You can hear the deputies giving commands. A shooting occurs, they request additional units and an ambulance. You can also hear that the Sheriff’s Department’s radio system is a relic of the Cold War. (No, literally.)
We don’t know anything further and have nothing of value to add–except, mostly for the benefit of those outside the department or who have not done police work, that it’s actually very common for hardened criminals to carry pellet guns on the street and in vehicles.
The reason people carry pellet guns is because a fake gun is often enough to commit robberies or scare people, but it’s not illegal if you get caught with it.
So if you’re a felon and your intent is to intimidate or steal from people but not necessarily to hurt them, carrying a fake gun rather than a real gun is a far safer approach than carrying a real gun and risk getting caught with it.
That does not explain why in this case someone would knowingly point a pellet gun at someone with a real gun. Perhaps he didn’t know the deputy was a deputy. Perhaps he was high on meth. Perhaps it was suicide by cop. We don’t know and the investigation will hopefully tell.
But it’s important for people to understand that adults walking down the street with pellet guns, or driving with them in cars, are often up to serious no-good. They aren’t “toys”–they’re “imitation firearms”. And there is no way to tell they’re fake until you actually hold and manipulate it. Which is way too late.
The “man” who murdered Lancaster Station Sergeant Sheriff Steve Owen admitted to ambushing and executing Sgt. Owen, according to a new report published by the Los Angeles Times.
Suspect/defendant Trenton Lovell was recorded by investigators stating that after Sergeant Owen caught him fleeing from the scene of a burglary, Lovell ambushed Owen by shooting him and then “walked up and … finished the job”.
“Lovell is accused of shooting Owen once in the head before standing over him and firing several additional fatal shots,” the Times reported.
At the time he murdered Sergeant Owen, Lovell had been arrested 11 times and spent two stints in prison, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
The LASD Civilian Oversight Commission released a survey today for “community” input on what LASD’s body cam program should be like.
The survey is 18 questions, will probably take you 20-30 minutes to complete, and is full of leading and politically correct questions… So, you and other busy people probably won’t bother to do it, because you’ve got stuff to do. Except that the people who hate law enforcement, or who see LASD (like LAPD) as their toy, will do it. So we’ve got to bite the bullet and school some folks.
If you want to have any input in the rules we’re probably soon to live by, you’d best pour yourself a Titos and soda, strap in and make your views known.
Personally, our view is that while body cams will sometimes provide a helpful perspective on uses of force, they can hurt the community a lot more than help it.
- Let’s get past the idea that deputies don’t want to be on camera. In fact, they’re on camera all day anyway. Cell phone camera, CCTV, whatever. The real problem is that deputies are called to solve problems and body cams, and all the policies and expense around them, may just increase the walls between the community, not reduce them.
- Cams will likely protect deputies from made-up complaints and deputies will learn how to play to the camera, same as politicians and reporters do. Who will suffer is the community.
- Cams known to be regularly reviewed by managers will simply create an environment of micromanagement, producing rule-adhering behavior that provides a lesser service to the community than when deputies have the discretion to do their jobs as they feel appropriate.
- We should be really careful about using body cams to “shape officer behavior”. LASD does a good job of doing more with less; deputies do a good job of exercising discretion and LASD is well-liked in most of the communities it serves (especially the contracts, where LASD can be fired).
- Activists used to want the cameras but don’t as much now because of all the evidence they end up creating.
- These days, it’s mostly the media that wants body cams. Some reporters think virtually everything should be public (and who better to air it than them?).
- Civil libertarians rightly worry about the millions of hours of data stored for however long, in many cases (such as a use of force) probably forever
- In fact, it will be ordinary people who pay the price. Especially if deputies are concerned supervisors will regularly pull video, and given the huge increase under Sheriff McDonnell in firing people for failure to maintain “performance to standards”, they will follow the letter of the law rather than the spirit. This will translate into less discretion (warnings) and more arrests, especially of people at the socio-economic margins (most of whom are people of color).
- What activists and the media don’t understand is how many traffic stops and calls for service involve a situation where someone could easily be arrested but the deputy decides that isn’t how the community is best served. Body cams–particularly in a politicized disciplinary climate like at LASD–eliminates that. “Sorry, bro, I wish I could but I can’t. <points at body cam>”
- Also, we are dealing with the worst moments of peoples’ lives. That stuff just shouldn’t be on camera.
- And the stuff that should be on camera–deputy involved shootings and serious uses of force, often happen so fast that they’re easy to forget to record when your focus is on not dying.
- Beyond that, LASD management clearly cannot be trusted with body cam footage because they’re mostly a bunch of self-promoting sycophants.
- Unless we’re also down on brass wearing body cams all day, too? Since there’s more allegations of mismanagement and corruption and abuse in their ranks than ours…?
- The costs of a body cam program are *enormous* (tens of millions of dollars per year), to be borne by a county and department that cannot afford it, and it’s unclear that the value of the program will ever offset the costs to run it.
Sheriff McDonnell hasn’t asked for your opinion (duh), so at least these people are. If you don’t respond you can’t complain about the result.