#findpeter search for West Covina teen goes viral

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As his parents continue to search for missing West Covina High School student Peter “Gus” Abrechtson, posting fliers around town, other family members and friends have taken to social media in an effort to find the boy. 

Police believe he ran away after an argument with his parents Sunday night. 
Anyway, to follow the story on Twitter #findpeter seems best. 
Here’s a link to a photo on Instagram
As for Facebook? Here’s a link to a couple of posts. 
This information below comes from our story:

The teen is known to frequent the Cameron Youth Center at Cameron and Lark Ellen avenues.

Albrechtsen is Latino, stands 5 foot 8 inches tall weighs 130 pounds, has brown eyes, black hair and a thin build. He also has a 1-inch scar on his nose. He may be carrying a black backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call West Covina Police at 626-939-8500.


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Suit claims West Covina cops routinely hooked up with sex crime victims

The suit, filed by Montebello attorney Arnoldo Casillas on behalf of a man who was arrested by suspended officer Tyler Kennedy makes the explosive claim.
The man says Kennedy arrested him and asked a judge to hold him without bail so that Kennedy could carry on an affair with his wife. Here’s the relevant portion of the suit:


“Officers of the West Covina Police Department were permitted to and regularily did pursue and maintain intimate relationships with the victims in the sexual abuse cases they were investigating,”


Casillas’ suit also claims that West Covina officers routinely discriminate against minorities using illegal searches and seizures — and that city officials covered up the criminal activities of rogue West Covina cops.


Kennedy and West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills deny the claims. West Covina Mayor Shelley Sanderson said she backs the police department.

Here’s the story.


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Taxpayers fund West Covina PD junket at beach resort

Some would call this living large. The timing is questionable considering the state of West Covina’s finances are such that the city can’t even afford to pay to televise its council meetings and still faces lawsuits from two employees that could cost $100,000s. 

Here’s Tom Himes investigative piece:

WEST COVINA – The city’s police commanders started a three day and two night team building workshop on Monday at a four star resort and spa in Orange County.

Police Chief Frank Wills said 21 officers and two civilian staffers participated in the first day of the retreat at Marriott’s Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Dana Point.

“We need to develop a plan for the future,” Wills said. “We’re going to have to downsize (because of fiscal challenges) and we have to develope a plan for that.”

The resort offers two outdoor heated pools, whirlpools, yoga classes and full-service spa, according to its Web site.

The taxpayer funded California Commission on Peace Officer’s Standards and Training (POST) will reimburse the city for about $8,000 in expenses associated with the retreat, City Manager Andrew Pasmant said.

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Will Conklin challenge the West Covina PD next?

It’s probably only a matter of time before registered sex offender Steven Michael Conklin asks to appeal his 75-to-life sentence for possession of child pornography. That’s because West Covina sex investigator Tyler Kennedy played a role in putting Conklin back in prison.

Even if Conklin doesn’t appeal, several other cases he investigated could be coming back to the courts. On Monday Judge Thomas Falls ruled that prosecutors should have disclosed to an attempted rape suspect that Kennedy engaged in inappropriate behavior and may have even lied in court in a separate case. 
Folks in West Covina are secretly worried that as many as 25 sexual assault cases could be affected. As this takes place two West Covina City Councilmen are vying for the soon-to-be open state Assembly seat of Dr. Ed Hernandez, and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley wants to be the next state Attorney General
My last question is, how much of this stuff is going to start showing up on campaign mailers? 
It’s probably only a matter of time.
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Hit and run ends in fatal collision *UPDATED

*The California Highway Patrol originally reported incorrect information regarding this story. It has been updated below.

From the SGV Tribune:

WEST COVINA – A man was killed in a fatal crash Monday, California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday.

Gustavo Cesena, of West Covina, was killed about 10:30 p.m. Monday, said Officer Heather Hoglund. Cesena was not wearing his seat belt, Hoglund said.

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West Covina woman among those arrested at border on drug charges

This from Borderfire:

San Diego – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry along the California/ Mexico border seized almost 2,900 pounds of narcotics valued at $2.2 million, captured 13 fugitives, and stopped the illegal entry of 417 persons over the busy holiday weekend.

From 6 a.m. on Friday through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, CBP officers at the six land ports of entry intercepted 16 smuggling attempts involving marijuana and methamphetamine. The drugs were hidden in various areas of the vehicles such as in the gas tank, in the bumpers and the spare tire.

The largest seizure occurred at the San Ysidro border station on Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. after a detector dog alerted to a the back wall of a motor-home pulled by a Ford F-350 pickup as it and the two female occupants waited in line to be inspected. The women and conveyance were escorted into the secondary area for a more intensive examination.

Officers subsequently discovered 78 wrapped packages of marijuana in the rear wall of the motor home weighing 1,764 pounds, valued at more than $1 million.

Both the driver, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen from Big Bear, Calif., and her passenger, a 46-year-old U.S. citizen from West Covina, Calif., were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. CBP seized the narcotics and conveyance.

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Tuesday’s column (MLK Day in West Covina)

The portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a podium outside West Covina City Hall on Monday should have told the story: This is a city that respects due process, equal protection and civil rights.

And yet, there are people out there who might have a different story to tell – at least when it came to dealing with the West Covina Police Department and a cop who was assigned to investigate rape cases.

Sometime last year the cop, identified as Tyler Kennedy, investigated a spousal rape case involving a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship. She told Kennedy her soon-to-be ex-husband had raped her.

Kennedy took that information and arrested the ex-husband. He had the man locked up and then appeared before a judge asking that the man be held without bail.

Fortunately Superior Court Judge Lesley Green didn’t fully support Kennedy. But, the judge did increase the man’s bail to $100,000, according to court documents.

All based on the testimony of Kennedy – who was having an affair with the accused’s wife.

Sound fishy?

Eventually the husband was charged with three misdemeanors, but the case was thrown out in November when prosecutors learned of Kennedy’s relationship with the alleged victim.

That should be enough evidence of something foul right?

It wasn’t enough for many of those recalling Dr. King’s legacy outside City Hall Monday.

Prosecutors in the West Covina courthouse didn’t inform their superiors that there might be a bad cop on the streets – and his actions may have jeopardized other sex crimes investigations.

Is it likely he did this before?

Probably not, but each and every case where Kennedy was the lead detective should be re-examined by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office – not low-level prosecutors looking to clear cases.

What if there is some innocent locked up in a hell hole of a state prison on a rape beef simply because he crossed Kennedy?

What if some slime bag gets set free because of Kennedy’s alleged lies?

After all it was Kennedy’s testimony about kiddie porn in the possession of convicted child molester Kenneth Conklin that resulted in that predator being sent to state prison for 75 years.

Citing the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, city officials claim they can’t say much about Kennedy’s situation.

Maybe that’s the case. But, it sure seems as if someone wanted to sweep this one under the rug. Look at the facts.

Rather than take a bad cop off the streets, the West Covina Police Department simply demoted Kennedy and gave him some time off work. He was back in a patrol car within a month.

Based on advice from attorneys, members of the West Covina City Council didn’t bother to check out the man’s claims that his constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process and basic civil rights were violated.

They simply denied a claim from his attorney.

Right now the handling of the case makes justice in West Covina and Los Angeles County appear decidedly more Third World than the righteous democracy Dr. King struggled to achieve in the United States.

But, as Dr. King once said, “The dawn will come. Disappointment, despair and sorrow are born at midnight, but morning follows.”

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DA re-examines rape cases brought in by West Covina cop

This from reporter Thomas Himes. 

Court records seem to indicate a West Covina police officer may have arrested the husband of a woman he was having an affair with, and sources in the police department and district attorney’s office suspect that happened as well.
Himes reports that the West Covina City Council was made aware of allegations against the officer, and chose to deny monetary claims by the man who may have been wrongfully accused and arrested. Clearly if it happened it’s a civil rights violation. An attorney is asking the US Justice Department and FBI to step in and investigate the PD.
Here’s the top of a blockbuster story. Note: It is the policy of the newspaper to refrain from naming alleged victims of sexual assault:

A Los Angeles County prosecutor said Wednesday his office will re-examine rape cases investigated by a West Covina police officer in the wake of allegations of misconduct.

Deputy District Attorney Gary Hearnsberger, who leads criminal prosecutions in the Pomona branch of the District Attorney’s Office, said rape cases worked by West Covina police Officer Tyler Kennedy would be scrutinized.

“My understanding is Kennedy is no longer working sexual assault cases, so it won’t be a problem in the future,” Hearnsberger said. “… we will have to look back … at whether there have been cases in the interim that would cause a problem.”

Kennedy could not be reached for comment at the West Covina Police Department. A cell phone assigned to him had been disconnected.

On Monday, officials suspended Kennedy for the second time in less than a year, according to department sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. The action came after a 49-year-old woman alleged Kennedy sexually harassed and propositioned her.

Kennedy was assigned to investigate an apparent spousal rape involving the alleged victim, documents show.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills confirmed Wednesday his department is investigating Kennedy, but said the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights prohibits him from commenting.

Kennedy’s first suspension came late last year, sources said. The detective was demoted and returned to patrol after an internal affairs investigation, the sources said.

That investigation revealed Kennedy engaged in an intimate relationship with a 39-year-old woman who alleged she was sexually battered, harassed and secretly videotaped by her ex-husband in February, Hearnsberger said.

Kennedy opened an investigation into the woman’s case and arrested her ex-husband, according court documents.

On March 20, Kennedy appeared in West Covina court and asked the ex-husband, who had been released on his own recognizance, be held without bail, court documents show.

Based on Kennedy’s testimony, Judge Lesley Green increased the man’s bail to $100,000, according to court documents.

The ex-husband was subsequently charged with three misdemeanors, but the case was thrown out in November when prosecutors learned of Kennedy’s relationship with the alleged victim, Hearnsberger said.

“The relationship between Kennedy and the woman was ultimately reported to us” by internal affairs investigators, Hearnsberger said. “Because Kennedy was the investigating officer and (the relationship) calls his credibility into question … there was a decision that it wouldn’t be a viable case.”

This newspaper does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

An attorney for the woman’s ex-husband said Kennedy worked the system to keep the man in custody so the detective could continue his relationship with the 39-year-old woman.

“He had the bail imposed because he was trying to foster a relationship with the alleged victim,” said the man’s civil attorney, Arnoldo Casillas.

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Misconduct case makes waves in West Covina and Baldwin Park PDs

From Thomas Himes:

West Covina police have opened an investigation into one of their own after the victim of an alleged rape accused a sergeant assigned to sexual crimes investigations of propositioning her.

In a related, but separate investigation, officials said Thursday the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will probe allegations of misconduct against Baldwin Park police Chief Lili Hadsell, per her request.

A 49-year-old woman told West Covina police investigators Monday that a sergeant propositioned and sexually harassed her during and after a rape investigation he conducted.

The woman alleges she was raped by her estranged husband, a prominent San Gabriel doctor who is Hadsell’s brother. Her estranged husband did not return phone calls seeking comment.

“I was raped, going through a nasty divorce and then they stick me with this cop,” the woman said in an interview. “He harassed me through the whole investigation. I was scared. I’m still scared.

“Who do you trust?” she said.

The sergeant under investigation did not return calls seeking comment.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said his department will investigate the woman’s claims. He added the law limits what he can say about police personnel matters.

“The department is aware of the allegations and is taking appropriate steps to look into those allegations,” Wills said.

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