LA CO. SHERIFF SUED OVER IMMIGRANT DEPORTATIONS
LOS ANGELES—Immigrant rights advocates will serve the Los Angeles County Sheriff 's Department with a summons to get information about the department’s participation in immigration enforcement programs and data about deportations. The National Day Labor Organizing Network, the National Immigration Law Center and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles asked for statistics that outline the cost of participating in federal programs to the county and its taxpayers, and arrest records which they say might be evidence of racial profiling.
The groups plan to serve Sheriff Lee Baca with a summons and hold a rally at the department's headquarters on Thursday, after filing their petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday. In February the groups filed a California Public Records Act request to get access to communications between the Sheriff ’s Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sheriff ’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said the information is ICE’s to release.
“It’s up to them. We don’t have anything to hide,” he said. The department said the records weren’t public, said Jessica Karp, staff attorney with the day labor organization. “Their response is completely inadequate and asserts that the records related to this program aren't public records. The California Public Records Act gives citizens broad rights to access documents generated by public agencies,” she said. “Our three organizations have been asking for this information since 2007. The Secure Communities program led us to file this new comprehensive request. We’re trying to get at how much it’s costing the county and who is being deported.”
Immigrant advocates say agreements between local departments and ICE mean more people deported, more families torn apart and more problems for community policing efforts. “We don’t want L.A. County to turn into Arizona. The numbers of deportations is disturbing. Los Angeles is a county of immigrants and we see ourselves as place where we respect people’s rights, their right to make a living and keep their families together,” Karp said. Los Angeles County was among the first to enter into agreements that authorized law enforcement officers to move immigrants into the deportation pipeline.
15-YEAR-OLD STUDENT FROM INDIA GOES MISSING IN LA
LOS ANGELES—Police are searching for a 15-year-old boy from India who went missing during a visit to Los Angeles. Police said Lovedeep Singh was last seen the morning of June 23 near the Radisson Hotel on South Figueroa Street south of downtown Los Angeles. Singh was visiting the city as part of an organized educational tour. Police said the boy speaks Hindu and limited English and is unfamiliar with the area. Police said the circumstances surrounding Singh’s disappearance are unclear, but there is currently no evidence of foul play.
VEHICLE BELONGING TO MISSING TRAVEL AGENT FOUND
LOS ANGELES—A vehicle found abandoned in Nevada belongs to a missing travel agent whose wife was found dead in a Southern California forest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department said Wednesday. Someone reported a suspicious vehicle parked behind an abandoned building in North Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, sheriff ’s Deputy Lillian Peck said. Los Angeles County sheriff ’s homicide detectives confirmed that the vehicle, a 1999 gold Jeep Cherokee, belonged to Dusan Klein. It was impounded as evidence in the investigation and was being towed back to Los Angeles County, Peck said. Dusan Klein, 59, a one-time travel agent, insurance salesman and trucking dispatcher, has not been seen since his wife, Renata Klein, was found dead in Angeles National Forest on June 15.
An autopsy revealed she was murdered but authorities have not released a cause of death. The couple, who have been married about 30 years, are both natives of the Czech Republic. Their 6-year-old black and white cocker spaniel, Cindy, is also missing. Dusan Klein is being called a person of interest in the case but authorities aren’t sure if he is also a victim or was involved in his wife’s death, authorities said.
Renata Klein was last heard from on the evening of June 11 when she spoke to a friend by phone, sheriff ’s homicide Sgt. Robert Martindale said. Investigators were exploring reports that Dusan Klein was seen the following morning, June 12, walking his dog and then driving out of the neighborhood “looking disheveled at a high rate of speed,” Martindale said.
The couple had lost their home in an upper-middle class Santa Clarita neighborhood to foreclosure in March or April and were facing a court-ordered eviction around the time they disappeared, Martindale said. Klein hasn’t contacted any friends or relatives in the U.S. or his native Czech Republic and hasn’t accessed any bank accounts or used any credit cards, Martindale said. Authorities have not ruled out a murder-suicide, but are concerned that Dusan Klein may also have fallen victim to foul play, Martindale said.
SOCCER COACH CHARGED WITH FELONY CHILD MOLESTATION
LOS ANGELES—Police said a youth soccer coach in Los Angeles has been charged with 15 felony counts of child molestation and detectives believe there may be more victims. Los Angeles police said Wednesday that 42-year-old Jose Duarte was taken into custody Monday, one day after a 13-year-old boy on his team said he had been sexually assaulted by the coach. The crime allegedly occurred at the boy’s home. Police said investigators also identified two other alleged victims whom Duarte had coached. Duarte was arraigned Wednesday on the 15 felony counts. Police said Duarte coached a soccer team called USA, which practiced and played at MacArthur Park, Vista Hermosa Park and the Gilbert Lindsey Recreation Center. He is being held on $2.2 million bail.
BLACK STUDENT SAYS HE WAS BULLIED WITH NOOSE
SANTA MONICA—Police on Wednesday were investigating allegations that members of a high school wrestling team put a noose on a brown practice dummy, chained a Black teammate to a locker and made racial remarks. The boy and his mother told police last week about the alleged May 4 incident, the Los Angeles Times reported. “The district welcomes the investigation and is fully cooperating” with police, said a statement Wednesday from Tim Cuneo, superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The teenager walked into the wrestling room at Santa Monica High School and allegedly found a brown practice dummy with a noose around its neck. He then went to the locker room to change but was grabbed by two white students who bound his pants to a locker with a cable and lock and made racial remarks, according to an account given to authorities that was cited by the Times Wednesday. The boy’s mother, Victoria Gray, told the newspaper that the school never notified her of the alleged attack and she only learned about it from another parent on May 31. A June 16 email to parents from Principal Hugo A. Pedroza called the alleged incident a “serious matter that warranted a swift and appropriate response.” He said the students were suspended or received other discipline, while the entire wrestling team received sensitivity training, the Times said. A call to the principal’s office and an email left for the school’s wrestling coach, Mark Black, were not immediately returned Wednesday. A civil rights activist, meanwhile, urged the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to investigate. The school’s disciplinary action against the students was inadequate and its delay in reporting the attack was “a shameless cover-up of an apparent vicious racially motivated attack,” said a statement from Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable. The students involved should be charged with hate crimes and anything less “sends the dangerous message that campus hate attacks will not be punished with speed and severity,”' Hutchinson said.
9 ARRESTED IN LA-AREA PROBE OF WEAPONS TRAFFICKING
LOS ANGELES—Federal authorities arrested nine men in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday as part of a yearlong investigation into a firearms trafficking ring. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the arrests came after an undercover probe in which an ATF agent infiltrated the group and exposed the selling of stolen firearms, machine guns and silencers. “These guys were out to cause mayhem,” said John Torres, special agent in charge of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division. “They had no regard to who they were selling guns to.” According to a federal indictment, some of the weapons had been stolen from homes. In all, more than 60 firearms, as well as methamphetamine and several apparent grenades were seized during the probe. One of the defendants was arrested on state charges unrelated to the case and three suspects remained at large.
1 OF LA’S MOST-WANTED UNDER ARREST
LOS ANGELES—The alleged leader of a drug distribution enterprise and one of the 15 most-wanted fugitives in the Los Angeles area is under arrest. Federal authorities and Los Angeles police said 45-year-old Keith Hasson was taken into custody Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service at an apartment in the San Fernando Valley. The Los Angeles Times said authorities are searching for a man who fled the scene and is believed to be one of Hasson’s associates. According to the U.S. Marshals Service website, Hasson is alleged to have been the head of a drug distribution enterprise that dealt exclusively in cocaine and marijuana. Authorities say Hasson has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1981, including arrests for attempted murder, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.