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City attorney begins closing illegal cannabis shops

LOS ANGELES — City Attorney Mike Feuer has announced his office, in coordination with the Los Angeles Police Department, has filed 120 criminal cases against 515 defendants associated with 105 illegal commercial cannabis locations across the city.

“Los Angeles voters wanted common-sense rules to regulate recreational marijuana so public safety is protected in our neighborhoods,” Feuer said. “Our message is clear — if you are operating an illegal cannabis business you will be held accountable.”

Since January, all businesses conducting commercial cannabis activity in Los Angeles are required to be licensed by both the state of California and the city. The new regulations follow the passage in recent years of state laws allowing recreational cannabis use and cannabis sales in the state.

Under newly adopted city guidelines, commercial cannabis activity is prohibited in certain designated zones or near sensitive sites including schools.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said police “will continue to work in support of the entire city family to ensure the responsible and lawful commercial sales of cannabis in Los Angeles.”

Moore also warned that illegal shops may be selling products that have not been legally tested and could be laced with dangerous substances.

“The price difference for a consumer who goes into a licensed establishment, versus an unlicensed establishment, can be their life, plain and simple,” Moore said. “The cannabis, or what is represented to be cannabis at unlicensed locations, many times is laced with all kinds of substances, including fentanyl.”

The City Attorney’s Marijuana Enforcement Unit worked with police to identify the locations and individuals that were charged. The filings primarily affect commercial locations but also include grow sites, extraction labs, and delivery services distributed geographically by council district, officials said.

All defendants face misdemeanor charges for violations of the Los Angeles Municipal Code regarding unlicensed commercial cannabis activity punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Feuer’s office said 23 locations of alleged illegal activity have been closed since the police investigations and criminal filings commenced. The city attorney said he will continue to work closely with the LAPD and the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation to identify and prosecute locations believed to be operating without a license.

“The Department of Cannabis Regulation commends the city attorney and the LAPD for their successful efforts and continued dedication to identifying and prosecuting unlawful cannabis activity within the city,” said Cat Packer, executive director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation. “We all encourage residents to help in this effort by reporting questionable cannabis activity in their communities through the city’s online complaint portal.”

Packer said there are 163 business currently operating legally in the city. Moore said there are hundreds believed to be still operating illegally.

Additional information on cannabis regulations, including how to get licensed and submitting a complaint about unlicensed commercial cannabis activity, can be found at the city’s cannabis regulation website at http://cannabis.lacity.org/.

WeHo begins annual tree pruning

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city began its annual program of tree pruning Sept. 10, with work expected to continue through February.

The city has approximately 12,500 trees that require maintenance and care. The city’s tree contractor, West Coast Arborists, is beginning pruning work along Sunset Boulevard, taking care not to disrupt westbound lanes until after 10 a.m. in order to minimize the impact on morning commute traffic.

During the coming weeks, crews will move to other commercial areas on Beverly Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard and other arterial streets.

Following commercial area trimming, work will commence on residential arterial streets. Each day, trimming will start at 8 a.m. and work will be finished by 3 p.m.

The city will communicate to residents, businesses and motorists in advance of pruning work, using several methods.

“No parking” signs will be placed a minimum of 24 hours in advance of work. The signs will reflect scheduled trimming activities for each day and they will be broken down into two time segments: before noon and after 12 noon.

Parking spaces will be reopened as soon as possible after work is completed.

Door hangers or postings on trees will be placed a minimum of 72 hours in advance of residential tree-trimming activities.

Electronic message boards may be placed at strategic locations several days before trimming, as well as during trimming activities, in order to provide commuters with advance notice so they can plan route changes.

Notification of trimming activity also will be posted on the city’s website and on the city’s social media pages.

 

Trader Joe’s shooting victim’s family angry with LAPD

Independent Wire Report

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police have released additional video footage and audio recordings from the July 21 chase and gun battle that ended with the fatal shooting of a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s assistant manager by pursuing officers.

But the family of the assistant manager — 27-year-old Melyda Corado — blasted the Los Angeles Police Department for what they called an orchestrated effort to frame the events that led to her death, and the agency’s alleged refusal to turn over requested video and documents.

“We are devastated by her loss,” Corado’s father, Albert, told reporters at a downtown Los Angeles news conference with his attorneys. “We have many questions about how Mely died, but we don’t have any answers. We are here to ask the Los Angeles Police Department to turn [over] evidence so we can move on with our lives.”

The LAPD previously released dash cam and officer body-camera footage of the pursuit of Gene Evin Atkins, 28, who allegedly shot his grandmother and a 17-year-old girl in South Los Angeles then led a pursuit in which he fired shots at police before crashing in front of the Trader Joe’s store.

Atkins is accused of exchanging gunfire with police as he fled into the store, where Corado was struck by a bullet fired at Atkins by an LAPD officer.

Atkins, who remains jailed on $23.1 million bail, is charged with Corado’s killing, even though he did not fire the shot that struck her. Under state law, he was charged with her killing because he allegedly set off the chain of events that led to her death.

The additional material released by the LAPD Sept. 4 includes 911 calls from the original shooting in South Los Angeles, and more dash cam video during the ensuing pursuit that appears to show the suspect firing at pursuing officers through a window of the car he was driving.

Despite the release of additional material, however, attorneys for Corado’s family called on the LAPD to release complete, unedited video and audio of the entire chase and shooting.

Attorney John C. Taylor called the video and audio released thus far nothing more than a “highly edited, narrated, slickly produced public relations piece” designed to “shine the most favorable light on the actions of officers involved in this shooting.”

Taylor called the gunfire an “out-of-policy shooting,” saying the officers opened fire toward the store “without assessing the background confronting them.”

“They shot toward the direction of Trader Joe’s and at least four or five visible people in front of the store and on the side of the store,” he said.

Taylor said Corado’s family “does not know what Mely Corado’s last moments were like or how she died or how long from the time that she was shot until she died or the location where she died.”

Attorney Ron Rosengarten said the LAPD has also blocked the release of Corado’s autopsy report.

“We’ve also been told that toxicology tests have been ordered on Mely that will further delay the release of this information and the report,” he said. “We have not heard a reasonable explanation for why toxicology tests were ordered for her.”

LAPD Chief Michel Moore previously apologized to the Corado family after revealing that she was killed by an officer’s bullet. But he has spoken out in support of his officers’ actions, saying they were under fire and did “what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles and defend the people in that store and defend themselves.”

Moore called the shooting “every officer’s worst nightmare, to harm an innocent bystander during a violent engagement.”

Atkins allegedly shot his 76-year-old grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, as many as seven times and shot a 17-year-old girl around 1:30 p.m. July 21 at his grandmother’s South Los Angeles home in the 1600 block of East 32nd Street. He then allegedly kidnapped the teenager and drove off in his grandmother’s 2015 Toyota Camry.

Police spotted him in Hollywood, sparking a chase in which Atkins fired shots at pursuing officers through the rear window of the Camry, according to Moore. A short time later, Atkins crashed into a light pole outside the Trader Joe’s in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue.

Atkins got out of the car and ran into the market, allegedly shooting at pursuing officers, who returned fire, striking the suspect in an arm but also hitting Corado, who had walked to the front entrance of the store when the car crash occurred, Moore said.

Atkins holed up inside the store for about three hours, holding multiple shoppers and store employees hostage, police said. Several hostages were released during the standoff, and Atkins eventually walked out and surrendered.

Atkins was originally facing 31 felony charges, but prosecutors later added 20 more counts — many of them based on the number of people determined to have been in the Trader Joe’s market when he ran inside.

In addition to murder, Atkins is facing charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, false imprisonment of a hostage, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, grand theft of an automobile, driving or taking a vehicle without consent, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and assault with a firearm.

He could face a life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

 

 

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