Jun 11, 2021
Los Angeles County deputies move into LAPD territory to address Venice Beach homelessness crisis
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva moved his deputies into Los Angeles police territory this week to begin patrols in Venice Beach in an effort to address the homelessness crisis in that area, prompting a scathing response from local leaders.
In a series of Twitter posts Thursday, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice Beach, called the presence of deputies in the area "disruptive & counter-productive."
Venice Beach boardwalk is in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department.
In a statement to Fox News, he called the move a "self-aggrandizing stunt" on the part of Villanueva.
"Sheriff Villanueva’s self-aggrandizing stunt is harming and disrupting efforts to house people, as evidenced by the disabled veteran that he loudly proclaimed to house, then left to fend for himself on the streets after destroying his belongings," he said, referencing a local report about a homeless veteran. "Fortunately, professional outreach workers sheltered the veteran in the nearby city-owned shelter that Villanueva supporters had sued to stop.
"It is harmful for the sheriff to strut in and simultaneously interfere with and claim credit for existing outreach and housing efforts. Housing people is made harder by the sheriff’s carnival sideshow and by threats to make arrests," the statement continued.
Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's HOST, Homeless Outreach Service Team, walk with a homeless man on Tuesday in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
On Monday, Villanueva visited the Venice Beach boardwalk, which is the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. The famous strand has seen an explosion of homeless people living in tents in the past year. Residents and business owners have complained of dangerous conditions at the famed Ocean Front Walk stemming from the encampments, including shootings, fires, explosions, littering, drug use, harassment and assault.
On Tuesday, a street performer was punched by a homeless man on the boardwalk and a security guard was stabbed at a local shop last week, police said.
Some residents previously told Fox News they stopped venturing to the area altogether amid concerns that the LAPD has been hamstrung by elected officials from enforcing laws meant to curb the quality of life issues related to the encampments.
"The city of L.A. created this problem," Villanueva told reporters during his visit. "This is a failure of leadership at the very top."
He said he'd like to see the Venice encampment cleared by July 4.Video
He noted the Venice encampments don't cross over into the neighboring city of Santa Monica. The sheriff's department declined to comment on the matter Thursday but cited tweets by Villanueva addressing what the department's Homeless Outreach Services Team does.
In an interview with KCBS-TV, the sheriff said he didn't want to start a turf war with the LAPD.
"I’m not going to blame LAPD whatsoever," he said. "I think they can definitely do the job. They’re more than capable, have good leadership. However, if they’re hamstrung by politicians that don’t want them to do their job, well then they’re left in a very, very bad situation."
The same day he visited the area, Los Angeles City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino spoke in Venice to urge a city crackdown in tents in parks, beaches and sidewalks. As he finished, a woman was seen near him holding a knife.
LAPD officers wrestled the weapon away from her and she was arrested.
In a statement to Fox News, the LAPD said it "is committed to working with all of our public safety partner agencies and elected officials to improve the safety of our communities, including efforts to increase outreach and provide needed housing and supportive services in the Venice Beach community and elsewhere."
A member of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department's HOST, Homeless Outreach Service Team, talks to a homeless man in Venice Beach. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In an effort to address the homelessness crisis, Bonin has proposed a plan to add "safe camping" sites or "tiny homes" in parks, property at the Los Angeles International Airport and county-owned parking lots.
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On Thursday, Villanueva attempted to clear up with the department's homeless outreach team does in response to the report on a Vietnam veteran who said deputies dropped him off a Veteran Affairs hospital, threw away his belongings and cheered as he was being housed.
He stated the HOST team does not provide housing but connects the homeless with service providers.
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40 Cows Escape Meatpacking Plant In Pico Rivera; 1 Killed By Deputies After Charging Family
PICO RIVERA (CBSLA) — About 40 cows escaped from a meatpacking plant in Pico Rivera Tuesday night and ran wild through the city’s streets for more than an hour, injuring a family in the process.
A group of experienced ranchers helped deputies wrangle a herd of cows Tuesday night that escaped from a Pico Rivera meatpacking plant. (CBSLA)
The incident began at around 7:30 p.m. when the cows escaped through a gate that had accidentally been left open at Manning Beef in the 9500 block of Beverly Road, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The herd galloped towards Beverly Road and Durfee Avenue and eventually ran into a residential neighborhood about a mile from the slaughterhouse. Authorities warned people to stay away from the area. Video posted to social media showed the large group of cows running down Beverly Road and into Marisela Alvarez’s yard.
“It was just like a stampede,” Alvarez said. “Boom!”
The cows left hoof prints, a busted fence and droppings in Alvarez’s yard. She said she went to the slaughterhouse to confront the owners about fixing her fence and was shooed away.
“It was careless what they did,” she said. “It was so careless. It could happen again. It’s not the cows’ fault, you can’t blame the cows for it.”
At one point, about 20 to 30 settled into a cul-de-sac on Calico Avenue, surrounded by sheriff’s deputies. The deputies attempted to round up the livestock, but were unsuccessful, and the cattle scattered throughout the neighborhood.
One cow was shot and killed by deputies after it charged at a family of four, knocking some of them to the ground, the sheriff’s department said. The family was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Some experienced ranchers who heard what had happened brought their lassos and came to help corral the livestock. It took several hours to round up the cattle and load them into trailers. The LASD Mounted Enforcement Detail was also called in.
“I tried holding it down a bit, and it was too heavy, so it dragged me a couple hundred feet,” rancher John Pitones told CBSLA of his experience trying to wrangle one of the escaped cows. “Once they start running, they get scared, they get anxious and they just don’t want to stop running. So you’ve got to give them the time and the proper procedures for how to capture them.”
By early Wednesday afternoon, all 39 of the remaining cows had been returned to the slaughterhouse.
The Manning Beef Company said it was investigating the incident. Neighbors said they hope the company will help pay for the damage caused.