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In Burbank, Protesters Marching In Honor Of George Floyd Are Encouraged To Vote

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Sara Tomko at the protest in Burbank. (Credit: Robert Garrova/LAist)

On Tuesday, the day of George Floyd’s funeral, there were protests across Southern California. In Burbank, more than 100 people gathered in the parking lot of the Empire Center mall for a protest and march.

Organizers came ready with snacks and water bottles to battle the 90-plus degree weather.

Burbank Police also showed up and offered their support, organizer Benjamin Abiola said.

The mood was at times somber, with Abiola calling the march in honor of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and “all those that we’ve lost to police brutality.”

But there was also joy and pre-march dancing in the sweltering parking lot.

“Of course some people are treating it like Coachella and there’s nothing we can do about that,” Abiola said. “But we want to make sure that those in attendance know why we’re out here.”

Using a PA system, Abiola reminded attendees to vote and to sign a Change.org petition “to get the officers who killed Breonna Taylor arrested.”

Sara Tomko sat on the roof of her car holding a sign that read: “Your Badge Will Not Protect You From Your Karma.” She said she was thinking of George Floyd and his family. And she’s encouraging people to be comfortable with being uncomfortable right now.

“This is going to go on for many, many months,” Tomko said. “In fact it’s going to be a lifetime of work. And it’s time to show up.”

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LA Supes Back Statewide Ban On Controversial 'Sleeper Holds'

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Sheriff Alex Villanueva has further restricted the hold's use. (L.A. Sheriff's Department)

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support a statewide ban on a controversial neck hold used by police.

Governor Newsom first proposed the ban on carotid holds last weekend amid protests over the killing of George Floyd. The state legislature could vote a ban later this year.

The technique involves an officer pressing his arm on one or both sides of a person’s neck to restrict blood flow to the brain. Also known as a "sleeper hold," it can almost immediately render someone unconscious, and can cause serious injury or even death if the flow of blood is restricted for too long.

It’s not what happened to George Floyd, but his killing has brought the tactic under renewed scrutiny.

On Monday, L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted that, from now on, deputies can only use the carotid hold if a suspect’s actions “rise to the level of deadly force." Previously, a suspect merely needed to be "assaultive or high risk."

Meanwhile, other local agencies are suspending use of the carotid hold. On Tuesday, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said it's suspending use of the technique to evaluate its "effectiveness as a compliance tool." On Monday, the LAPD suspended the use of carotid restraints pending further review by the Police Commission. And Pasadena Police Chief John Perez on Sunday suspended the carotid restraint, saying use-of-force experts will explore alternative techniques “for encounters involving dangerous and violent suspects.”

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LAPD Officer Charged In Beating Of Homeless Man In Boyle Heights

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NOTE: The above video contains profanity and images that may be upsetting.

An LAPD officer captured on video repeatedly punching a trespassing suspect in Boyle Heights has been charged with felony assault.

In a statement announcing the charges, District Attorney Jackie Lacey said:

“This is a disturbing case of the illegal use of force at the hands of a police officer. In this case, we believe the force was neither legally necessary nor reasonable.”

Lacey, who faces a tough reelection fight this November, filed the charges less than a week after getting the case from the LAPD.

Bystander video captured by @foosgonewild and body cam footage released by the department showed Officer Frank Hernandez and his partner removing the man from a vacant lot on April 27 after the owner complained of a couple living there.

In the video, the man repeatedly taunted Hernandez with expletives and slurs as he left the lot. When the officer tried to detain him, the man pushed the officer away. Then the officer punched the man repeatedly.

Bystander video showed Hernandez hitting the man at least 16 times in the head and body. At one point, the man asks the officer, "What's wrong with you?"

Hernandez has been charged with one felony count of assault under color of authority. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Lacey has come under sharp criticism from her opponent, former San Francisco DA George Gascón, as well as Black Lives Matter-L.A. and other groups who say she hasn't done enough to hold abusive officers responsible.

Last week in an interview with our newsroom, Lacey said that "charging police officers with a crime is one of the most difficult challenges I've faced as a district attorney."

Lacey, who spoke to us again today, said the combination of bystander video and the body cam video from both Hernandez and an officer standing next to him "clearly gave us enough evidence to charge Officer Hernandez with excessive force, which is a felony in California."

Asked about the speed of her decision to file charges, Lacey differentiated this case from police shootings, which she said often require additional investigation. "When this case was delivered by the LAPD, they had everything ready."

She noted the video evidence showed "clearly unprovoked force being used against someone who was submitting to arrest."

Lacey said she wasn't prepared to answer questions about three shootings by Hernandez, reported by the L.A. Times late last week, because she had not yet reviewed those files.

EARLIER COVERAGE:

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The Latest LA County And Other Southern California Coronavirus Numbers And Trends

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Here's a snapshot of today's coronavirus numbers, as well as a look at longer-term trends:

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

  • L.A. County reported 1,225 new coronavirus cases today, bringing the total positive cases in the county to more than 65,000. Health officials also reported 56 new deaths, bringing the county death toll to at least 2,707.

Here's a look at longer-term trends. These numbers are current as of Monday, June 8:

ORANGE COUNTY

  • Orange County reported 93 new cases today, bringing the total in the county to more than 7,600. County officials also reported 8 new deaths, bringing that total to 185.

Here's a look at longer-term trends. These numbers are current as of Monday, June 8:

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

  • San Bernardino County is now reporting 6,417 cases and 221 deaths.

Here's a look at longer-term trends. These numbers are current as of Monday, June 8:

VENTURA COUNTY

  • Ventura County reported 40 new cases, bringing the total there to 1,381. The county has had 35 deaths.

Here's a look at longer-term trends. These numbers are current as of Monday, June 8:

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

  • Riverside County reported 384 new cases, bringing the total to 9,590. Health officials also reported 9 news deaths, bringing that total to
    365 deaths.

Here's a look at longer-term trends. These numbers are current as of Monday, June 8:

LEARN MORE:

Our California COVID-19 Tracker dashboard provides a localized look at COVID-19-related cases and deaths in your county, as well as a risk assessment for your county’s population.

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LA Metro Has A Blueprint For Its ‘Transportation Revolution’ And Wants To Hear From You

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(Courtesy Steve Hymon/Metro)

What will it look like to get where you need to go in Los Angeles County in 2050?

L.A. Metro has outlined its vision for the future of public transit in a draft report, dubbed the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The agency is taking public comment on the plan through July 13. Metro's board of directors is expected to vote on the plan at the end of summer.

“The draft [LRTP] outlines what Metro is doing currently and what Metro must do for Los Angeles County over the next 30 years,” Metro spokesperson Rick Jager wrote on the agency’s website, adding that “current challenges” like the COVID-19 pandemic “present opportunities for Metro to take bold action and help achieve mobility improvements for the region.”

The agency’s blueprint calls for $400 billion to fund L.A. County’s “transportation revolution,” with nearly half of that money coming from county sales tax revenue. Another 28% is projected to come through state and federal programs.

The transit plan breaks down into four specific “priority areas”:

  1. Better transit
  2. Less congestion
  3. Complete streets
  4. Access to opportunity

Metro’s first goal is to “create a world-class transit system that is competitive with driving a private vehicle and that works for riders with different trip purposes and destinations.”

(Courtesy L.A. Metro 2020 Draft Long Range Transportation Plan)

Enticing more people to take public transit would counter falling ridership the agency has faced in recent years — which has plummeted even more amid the pandemic.

It would also help Metro with its second goal: reducing the county’s infamous congestion. But that’s not the only strategy — Metro is also studying how congestion pricing, charging people to drive on certain high-traffic routes at high-demand hours, might work in L.A. County. The agency estimates the strategies outlined in the draft plan would shave an extra 31% off 2047 projections for hours spent in traffic.

Metro officials also estimate that enacting the plan will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 19% by 2047 (again, based on projected trends for that time period).

Here are a few other projects highlighted in Metro’s plan, some of which we’ve reported on previously:

You can explore the draft plan in full detail below and submit your feedback to Metro online, via email (metroplan@metro.net), phone (213-922-2833) or through the mail.

The full report has not been translated in Spanish, but an overview of the LRTP and a comment submission section is available online for Spanish speakers.

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Most 'Pop-Up' Child Care Centers Were Already Watching Kids Before The Pandemic 

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Parents wait to sign in before releasing their children to staff members at Young Horizons child care facility. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California’s budget revision summary in May said, “to date, there are close to 500 temporary pop-up child care programs throughout California.

On March 16, California’s Department of Social Services rolled out waivers meant to “help ensure that child care services are available for working families in need while schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” The waivers allowed businesses to open “pop-up” child care centers and bypass the normal licensing process.

But as it turns out, few businesses took advantage of the program. Most of the programs labeled as “pop-up” child care were established in existing providers who sought waivers from the state to care for a few extra kids or watch children from different age groups.

California Department of Social Services Director Kim Johnson said at a May public meeting that 81% of the waivers went to existing providers.

El Buen Pastor Child Day Care Center in south Los Angeles is typically licensed to care for up to 14 children, from toddlers to age six. When a parent asked if owner Margarita Gutierrez could watch her school-age children, she sought a waiver from the state to do so.

“I feel like we help [parents] a lot,” Gutierrez said. ”I think they’re happy to have a place where they can trust and I feel good about the services that we have provided.”

READ THE FULL STORY:

RELATED:

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Moviegoers Can Go Back To The Movies

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Amid laser beams and searchlights, the new "Hollywood" sign near the top of Mt. Lee in Los Angeles, is unveiled after its dedication, Nov. 11, 1978. (George Brich/AP)

No popcorn. No Red Vines. And, of course, no movies.

But now your local multiplex might be reopening soon -- even if it has hardly any films to show.

California health officials say movie theaters can start selling tickets as soon as this Friday if they follow strict safety guidelines.

It’s unclear if the big chains, some of which have been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, will reopen if they can only sell 25% of their seats. But the makers of Tenet and Mulan, both set to premiere in July, no longer have to worry about postponing their release dates.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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LA's Black-Owned Restaurants See A Bump In Business Thanks To Google Doc

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John Jones III flips tortillas in preparation for Taco Tuesday meals given away to families in Watts on June 2, 2020. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid the protests against racial injustice that have taken over Los Angeles's streets the past few weeks, there's been a social media push to support the city's black-owned restaurants.

The effort has been driven, in large part, by a Google document compiled by Kat Hong, which lists more than 300 Black-owned restaurants in Los Angeles. (LAist wrote about Hong's list last week — as did several other media outlets.)

One of them is Comfort L.A., a soul food restaurant with locations in Inglewood and downtown L.A.

Donald Wilson, who manages the Inglewood location, says they've seen a huge amount of support the past few weeks with people coming from all over Southern California and even the Bay Area to try their chicken wings, cornbread and candied yams. Wilson says one customer came all the way from Florida.

"The support has been overwhelming," Wilson says. "We be having people lined up at the door waiting two to three hours before we even open. And some people are still waiting even when we close. We close at 10 and we're finishing orders, we're getting out here at 12."

We have no data to back this up but Wilson's observations track with what we, at LAist, have been seeing and experiencing — long waits (up to three hours, in some cases) when placing orders for pickup or delivery at some of the restaurants on this list.

There's also EatBlackOwned.com, a website that helps users find thousands of Black-owned restaurants, cafes and diners around the United States. The site is currently crowdfunding a campaign to create an app. (h/t @MonaEatsLA for spreading the word.)

Let's hope the bump in business for Black-owned restaurants continues and isn't a passing trend.

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The Rate of COVID-19 Infections Among Latinos In LA County Is Steadily Climbing

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Rina Chavarria and her 12-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter. (Rina Chavarria/UFCW770)

Starting at the end of April, L.A. County saw a surge in infections among Latinos, according to an LAist analysis of data from the county public health department.

Experts say the spike may be attributed to more testing, but certainly not all of it.

Many Latinos in LA county are essential workers like, grocery store clerks, janitors, construction workers -- Angelenos who cannot work from home.

In some communities of color, including Latinos, families are more likely to live with a number of family members, which can make it hard for someone who got the coronavirus to isolate.

READ THE FULL STORY:

Project Roomkey Has Moved Thousands Of Homeless People Indoors -- For How Long?

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Julie Mariane gathers her belongings in a motel room provided to homeless people by the NGO St. Joseph Center, as she gets ready to be transferred to a hotel room in Venice on April 26, 2020. (Photo by Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Governor Newsom announced Project Roomkey in April, a state program aimed at moving 15,000 homeless Californians into rented hotel rooms.

Unprecedented in scale, it was seen as ambitious, even audacious, though some doubted if the state had the ability to accomplish such a vast undertaking in such a short timeframe.

Two months later, according to the Governor's office, 9,400 rooms are now occupied, a third less than the 15,000 goal. Plus, about 5,000 more rooms have been "acquired," but not yet filled.

Should that be seen as a success? It depends how you view it.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Morning Briefing: ‘It’s About Freedom Struggle’

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Protesters outside the Magic Castle — Charlie Mount, right, is a magician and member of the institution. (Lexis-Olivier Ray for LAist)

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

During a memorial for George Floyd yesterday, Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A., had strong words for all present after hearing a clergy member suggest that her organization needed to "be reasonable with police":

"The best of black Christianity, it's about freedom struggle. You cannot claim to be a Christian and then bow down to white supremacy. So I'm putting it before you right now, that any hopes you had of using this moment to cozy up to power, that you release that from your spirit … It is our sacred duty to fight for the full freedom of our people, not a comfortable place in oppression."

The event was held in downtown L.A., and timed to coincide with Floyd’s memorial in Houston. Local clergy members were part of the L.A. demonstration, including those from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian faiths, and flowers and caskets served as a backdrop. Anti-racism protests are expected to continue in L.A. throughout the week.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, June 9

In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his plan to move 15,000 homeless Californians into rented hotel rooms to protect them from COVID-19. Now, 9,400 rooms are occupied. Matt Tinoco has the story of what comes next.

Newsom has often mentioned the more than 400 pop-up child care centers established in California since the start of the coronavirus. But data shows the majority of emergency child care waivers were granted to existing child care providers, reports Mariana Dale.

For the first time, the L.A. teachers’ union is openly opposing the L.A. School Police and calling for it to be defunded. Kyle Stokes reports on the rare clash between the teachers and the union representing school police officers.

Last week, thousands of people gathered in Hancock Park in front of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's home to demand systemic change. Contributor Samanta Helou Hernandez has the story in photos.

If you want a bit of a mental break, Christine N. Ziemba has a few online and IRL events to check out -- from a Project Involve film screening to the Hola Mexico online film fest to a gender equality roundtable discussion.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Protests And Policing: Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and local clergy held a memorial for George Floyd in downtown L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey say they won't prosecute anyone arrested for violating curfew. Yesterday’s L.A. City Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting was ostensibly "an opportunity to reassess a significant portion of funding," said Councilmember Curren Price, vice chair of the committee.

Not So Magic: The Magic Castle has faced a backlash on social media after offering their parking lot to the LAPD as a staging area amid protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Scooter Suit: The local branch of the ACLU is suing the city of L.A. over its electric scooter program, saying its collection of geolocation data violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and state privacy law.

Coronavirus In Numbers: There are now 64,690 coronavirus cases and 2,656 deaths in L.A. County, and at least 131,483 cases and 4,641 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are more than seven million cases and over 405,000 deaths.

Oh, It’s Also Wildfire Season: At least four wildfires broke out across L.A. County last night, as strong, dry winds pummeled the area.

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Photo Of The Day

Black Lives Matter L.A. leaders and local religious leaders lead a memorial for George Floyd in downtown L.A. Here, they speak to the crowd.

(Susanica Tam for LAist)

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