LAPD releases photo of Grim Sleeper

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With all his appearances at award shows, trips with his reporter girlfriend and official appearances at big games, it’s hard to know how Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fit an appearance at LAPD HQ into his schedule today, but he did. Here’s the latest AP story on the capture of a suspect in the Grim Sleeper serial killer case:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the arrest of a suspect in the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killings ends 25 years of “terror” in the city.

The mayor told a press conference Thursday that he wished to thank a special team of detectives that worked on the case full time.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

The killings in South Los Angeles ranged from 1985 until 2007.

Police Chief Charlie Beck says the detective team made its investigation the largest current case in his department.

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Former LAPD Chief Gates “Seriously ill”

This from KTTV, the local Fox affiliate:

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Los Angeles – Police say former Los Angeles police Chief Daryl Gates, who resigned in the wake of the Rodney King beating, is seriously ill.

Current Chief Charlie Beck told the city Police Commission on Tuesday that the 83-year-old former chief has a serious malady and that he visited Gates in the hospital over the weekend. But he provided no details.

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LAPD catching up on DNA backlog

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — An audit says Los Angeles police have significantly reduced a backlog of DNA evidence from thousands of rape and sexual assault cases.
Controller Wendy Greuel said Thursday that the number of untested evidence kits has
dropped by 64 percent, from about 7,000 to around 2,500.
However, her audit says more precautions should be taken to prevent future backlogs.
The kits contain evidence such as body fluids or fingernail scrapings that could provide DNA
evidence of a suspect.
A proposed state bill would require police to notify the state of their progress in testing
rape evidence.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also has decades of untested rape evidence from
cases submitted to its labs by smaller police agencies.

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Three LAPD officers charged with perjury

From the DA’s office:

LOS ANGELES – Three Los Angeles Police Department officers who allegedly lied under oath about during a drug possession trial last year were charged today with conspiracy and perjury.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett with the Justice System Integrity Division said former LAPD Officer Evan Samuel, and Officers Richard Amio and Manuel Ortiz are scheduled to surrender on Thursday for arraignment.

Hassett filed a felony complaint for arrest warrant on Monday charging 37-year-old Samuel, 30-year-old Amio, and 36-year-old Ortiz with one count each of conspiracy. In addition, Samuel is charged with three counts of perjury. Amio is charged with two counts of perjury and Ortiz is charged with one count of perjury. All are felonies.

During a preliminary hearing and later during the June 2008 trial for Guillermo Alarcon, the three allegedly falsely testified about seeing the defendant Alarcon throw away a black object near a trash bin that turned out to be cocaine base. Ortiz allegedly denied under oath that he was in fact the officer who found a package containing cocaine powder near a dumpster while the other officers were searching a laundry room for drugs.

Samuel and Amio also signed under penalty of perjury a police report that was allegedly false.

Alarcon’s drug possession case was dismissed in June 2008 at the request of prosecutors after footage from the apartment building’s security camera contradicted the sworn testimony of the officers.

All three are scheduled for arraignment after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Criminal Justice Center, Department 30. Hassett is asking that bail be set at $120,000 for Samuel, $70,000 for Amio and $45,000 for Ortiz.

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Just the facts — Dragnet stamp with Sgt. Joe Friday on sale


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A stamp commemorating the 1950s TV show “Dragnet,” which dramatized the Los Angeles Police Department, will be issued Tuesday during a ceremony at the LAPD Academy in Elysian Park.

The stamp is one of 20 that commemorates early TV shows and the only stamp to pay tribute to law enforcement, according to the U.S. Postal Service. The stamps go on sale at noon.

Opal Webb, surviving spouse of “Dragnet” creator Jack Webb, who played Sgt. Joe Friday, will be at the ceremony, along with Harry Morgan, who played Officer Bill Gannon in the 1960s TV revival of the show. One of the show’s narrators, John Stephenson, is also to be at the ceremony, along with LAPD Chief William Bratton and Councilman Tom LaBonge.

At the event, people will be able to purchase an exclusive LAPD 140th anniversary postmark, complete with a commemorative envelope and a special “Badge 714″ photo stamp, designed and offered through the LAPD Historical Society.

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Bratton out at LAPD

There’s a lot of speculation in the news room this morning about Chief Bill Bratton’s sudden announcement.  Is something up? Or is it just time to go?

This from the wires:

Chief William Bratton, credited with guiding the LAPD out of a federal consent decree and pushing crime in the city to historic lows, is expected to announce today that he is stepping down midway through his second five-year term.

Quoting unidentified sources, the Los Angeles Times said on its Web site that Bratton will announce at a noon press conference that he is leaving to take over as head of a private security firm.

Bratton was hired by then-Mayor James Hahn in 2002, and his contract was renewed in 2007 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“I have said all along that Bill Bratton is the finest police chief in the United States of America,” Villaraigosa said after renewing Bratton’s contract..

At the time, Bratton insisted he would remain on the job for the entire five-year term. His first term was marked by repeated rumors that he would be leaving before he completed five years.

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LAPD SWAT team rescues hostage near Wineville

The LAPD and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Monday night rescued a man who had been kidnapped earlier in Van Nuys. Here’s the top of our story:

EASTVALE – A SWAT team from Los Angeles Police Department rescued a kidnapped man from a house full of narcotics in this unincorporated community in western Riverside County.

The kidnap victim, according to the LAPD spokesman, was apparently taken from the area of Van Nuys on Wednesday. No further details were given about the identity of the man or why he was kidnapped.

Police said he was injured but apparently not as a result of the rescue.

The police SWAT team surrounded the residence in the 6900 block of Delaware River Road.

In cooperation with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, they stormed the house about 6:30 p.m., according to witnesses.

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Victim’s father says he suspected LAPD involvement in homicide

Sherri Rasmussen was beaten and shot to death back in 1986. Originally police suspected burglars were responsible for the crime, but last week Detective Stephanie Lazarus, one of LA’s finest, was arrested on suspicion of the crime after detectives made a DNA link to the case.

Rasmussen’s father told the LA Times he believed after the slaying that there might be LAPD involvement in the homicide.
Here’s a bit of their story:

After Sherri Rae Rasmussen was beaten and shot to death in 1986, her father urged Los Angeles police to investigate a fellow officer who had had confrontations with his daughter in the months leading up to her death, according to attorneys for the victim’s family.

But Nel Rasmussen’s pleas, which he said he made during several interviews with police and in a letter to then-Chief Daryl F. Gates, apparently were ignored by detectives as they pursued a different theory of how his daughter had been killed.

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LAPD detective picked up in 1986 cold case homicide

This from LAObserved via the LA Times:

Stephanie Ilene Lazarus, 49, was arrested this morning at Parker Center. Cold case investigation into the 1986 beating death of the wife of her ex-boyfriend led to Lazarus, and her DNA was secretly gathered last week to help make the case.

In a City News story, the head of the Police Protective League is also quoted responding to the news:

Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said Lazarus’
arrest “is deeply disturbing to LAPD officers and the people of Los Angeles.”
“If convicted, the actions of one police officer should not tarnish the trust and
respect the public has for the more than 9,800 dedicated police officers who serve and
protect the community and its residents every day,” he said.

Here’s the LATimes story archive on the case.

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