Southern California breaking news and trends

Neighborhoods respond differently to LAPD meetings on use of force


Andres Aguila/KPCC

LAPD officials continue to meet with community members in the wake of high-profile use of force incidents.

LAPD is in the middle of hosting a series of community meetings following three highly publicized use of force incidents in recent weeks. At Tuesday's meeting of the Police Commission, commissioners who've attended such gatherings across the city said that some meetings have been fairly sedate (such as in West L.A.) while others (like at the 77th Street Station in South Central) have given venue to considerable discontent.  

Wednesday night's meeting at the Bethel AME Church with gang interventionists from the Ceasefire program, saw an amicable but pointed crowd. 

The group has been meeting there nearly every week since its formation almost seven years ago at the funeral for Stanley "Tookie" Williams at Bethel AME. 

Ceasefire member Sister Herron said the group prefers to talk about its primary goal, reducing gang violence in L.A.'s most troubled neighborhoods. But the group also feels compelled to take the police department to task on behalf of the people of those neighborhoods when anger flares over use of force.


More details emerge in death of woman in LAPD custody


Andres Aguila/KPCC

LAPD is facing new allegations of excessive force, after a woman died in police custody.

On July 22, Alesia Thomas stopped breathing while she was in the back of an LAPD patrol car. Officers called paramedics and Thomas was rushed to Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, where she was pronounced dead. 

Now the question for Internal Affairs investigators at LAPD is whether Thomas died as a result of officer actions, and if she did, whether those actions were justified by the situation. According to LAPD, officers used force when they arrested Thomas, who they say was uncooperative, on suspicion of child endangerment.

According to LAPD, officers at the Southeast Station found two boys, 3 and 12, sitting on a bench by the station. 

"We interviewed the kids. They said they hadn't eaten anything in a couple of days, so we of course got food for them from a local restaurant, and did a follow-up to their house to find out what the story was with the mother," said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.


Police release details of El Monte man's death following altercation with police

Rina Palta/KPCC

A memorial outside the home of Khoa Anh Le, who died after an altercation with El Monte police.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has released information on 37-year-old Khoa Anh Le, who died June 14  after an altercation with El Monte Police. The department is investigating the incident.

Police were called to Le's home, which he shared with family, around 11:00 Thursday evening. Le had allegedly been fighting with his father and police decided to detain him on suspicion of elder abuse.

According to the sheriff's department, police had been to the home twice in the past on similar calls in 2005 and 2006. Both times, Le was taken into custody for mental observation (commonly known as a 5150 hold). In once instance, LASD says Le stabbed his brother.

When police arrived at his home Thursday, they say Le was coming out of a make-shift bedroom in the garage. When two officers entered and tried to detain Le, they say he immediately resisted and assaulted officers. In the scuffle that allegedly ensued between Le and police, Le was hit with a flashlight once, a baton three times, and a taser once, before being put in a carotid restraint (a form of choke hold) and handcuffed.