Southern California breaking news and trends

Chief Beck 'disappointed' with LAPD SWAT officers selling guns

Los Angeles Police Foundation's 10th Annual Fundraising Gala

Toby Canham/Getty Images

Chief Charlie Beck said he'll "at the least" discipline any officers found guilty of misconduct.

Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Tuesday he was "disappointed" when he first heard about members of the LAPD's elite SWAT unit buying and reselling guns at a profit of hundreds of dollars.

"It's an entity in the department that I depend on," Beck said. "It's an entity that this city stakes its life on. I hold them to the highest standards and I don't expect them to do this kind of thing."

Beck was speaking on the heels of a newly launched probe into whether SWAT officers violated any federal weapons laws, city ethics codes or department policy when they bought high-end .45-caliber pistols with a SWAT insignia from a weapons dealer that works with the city, and then sold the guns.

Speaking before the Police Commission Tuesday, LAPD Internal Affairs Commander Richard Webb described an initial investigation into the allegations as "thin," and promised a much more thorough accounting of what happened. He said the person who conducted the initial probe is no longer with the department, though it was not clear why.


LAPD under fire after violent arrest of Venice skateboarder

Ronald Weekley

Rina Palta/KPCC

Ronald Weekley Junior (second from left) with his mother, father and sister. Weekley says police used excessive force when they arrested him August 18 in Venice.

Venice is a beach town. And that means that on any given night — especially on Saturdays — you'll see hundreds of people out and about.

"People skate, they rides bikes," said longtime resident Ronald Weekley. "And you will not see one of them stopped for skateboarding. Backwards, forwards, this side of the street, that side of the street.”

So Ronald Weekley, who’s African American, wants to know why his son was stopped. Ron Weekley Junior, a student at Xavier University, says he didn’t think officers were after him when they yelled at someone to stop as he skated home. He was walking into his apartment when he was grabbed from behind.

"The other officer put his knees on my back," Ron Weekly Jr. described. "He grabbed my hair with his left hand and beat me with his right. He hit me twice, right away ... I started screaming and yelling because I thought I was going to die."


LAPD tells Los Feliz to lock its doors and windows

los feliz boulevard

Photo by Juice Stain is my contact via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Feliz is currently on LAPD's radar for a number of nighttime sexual assaults and burglaries reported in the area. 

Multi-unit buildings and single family structures along Los Feliz Boulevard have targeted by an individual that police say entered through doors or windows. 

The suspect -- who reportedly took computers, money, jewelry and clothes -- also made sexual contact with several sleeping victims, say officials. Suspect information was released by the Northeast Area LAPD:

  • Male
  • Hispanic
  • 5’7”-5’10”
  • 160-180 lbs.
  • 25-35 years old
  • Mustache, dark complexion and slim build

Residents are being advised to keep doors and windows locked, and to pay close attention to their surroundings. Detectives with the LAPD Special Assault Section, Robbery-Homicide Division are asking the public to contact them with any pertinent information.


Art Walk drama-free, police stand by while Occupy LA hosts ChalkWalk

Omar Shamout / KPCC

A gentleman with a striking resemblance to John Lennon stands next to a chalked-up wall in Pershing Square.

Omar Shamout / KPCC

A man models Chalk Knuckles at Pershing Square during Chalk Walk.

Erika Aguilar / KPCC

ChalkWalk was chill Thursday night. And ArtWalk was its usual boisterous, artsy, inebriated self.

As of about 11pm, at least, ArtWalk was a drama-free event Thursday evening, despite predictions of clashes between police and visiting Occupy Oakland activists. The crowd was also smaller than usual for an August night.

At July's event, members of Occupy L.A., protesting an LAPD crackdown on chalking, migrated into ArtWalk, spurring a melee that involved 17 arrests, bottles being thrown at police, and the LAPD's use of rubber bullets and other less lethal crowd control weapons.

August's event was a sharp contrast.

At an event last week, ChalkWalk organizer Richard Florence told Downtown community members that future events would steer clear of ArtWalk, to the best of their ability. Thursday's ChalkWalk was planned for Pershing Square, and largely stayed there.

Police stood by Thursday morning, as Oakland's Fresh Juice Party chalked a large mural in the northeast corner of Pershing Square. When security guards called police, they detained three people who were drawing and released two. A third, Dexter Williams of Oakland, was arrested on outstanding misdemeanor vandalism warrants and remained in custody as of press time. Later in the day, an Occupy L.A. member, Deandre Washington, allegedly punched a member of Occupy Oakland in the face and was arrested.


Police make arrests hours before start of ArtWalk/ChalkWalk [Updated]

Rina Palta / KPCC

Occupiers from Oakland drew a chalk mural Thursday morning, which remains on the Northeast corner of Pershing Square.

Police have already made several arrests even as attention focuses on Pershing Square and the rumored busload of Occupy Oakland members who have arrived in town for ChalkWalk, which will take place during Thursday night's Downtown ArtWalk despite warnings from LA police.

Arrests were made Thursday in Pershing Square, though none have to do with chalk.

A group of three Occupiers from Oakland was detained after police were called to the area because security reported chalking.

Two were released and one was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Later in the day, another Occupier was arrested, this time from the L.A. contingent. The L.A. man allegedly punched an Occupy member from Oakland in the face during an argument. The L.A. man was arrested and taken into custody.

It's not clear what the argument was about, but there appeared to be friction between the two groups all day.