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DA Charges Bay Area Men with Auto Burglaries, Fleeing



HOLLYWOOD — According to the LA County District Attorney’s office, three Bay Area men have been charged with committing a series of vehicle burglaries in Los Angeles and fleeing police twice in June and July.

Xavier Pittman and Damillion Williamson , both of San Francisco, and Jaurice Laxa of Daly City are each charged with seven counts of second-degree burglary of a vehicle, two counts of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly and one count of vandalism over $400, all felonies. The defendants also are charged with three misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage.

The case was filed yesterday afternoon and arraignment is scheduled today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

According to prosecutors, the trio allegedly burglarized four vehicles on June 1 in Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire. Los Angeles Police Department officers identified the car being driven by the defendants and pursued them, but the men escaped.

Then on July 19, the defendants again are accused of breaking into three automobiles in Hollywood and the Fairfax district and then fleeing police. They allegedly damaged a parking lot gate arm and hit three vehicles during the chase before stopping at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

According to reporting from KTLA, LAPD Capt. James Roberts said the pursuit started in the Wilshire Division and at least one of the four people in the sedan was believed to be a member of an organized burglary crew of gang members from the Oakland and San Francisco areas.

Roberts said community members near the mall helped point officers to the suspects who parked in the parking structure and tried to walk out.

Three of the four people in the car were taken into custody as of 12 p.m. Friday.

The defendants each face a possible maximum sentence of seven years and six months in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail for each of them has been set at $310,000.

The case remains under investigation by the LAPD.

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Art & Galleries

‘afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city’ Exhibit Opens in Los Angeles Feb 22



LOS ANGELES — LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LA Plaza) presents “afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city,” an exhibition that explores the history and contemporary realities of the Afro-Latinx community in Los Angeles. 

It will exclusively feature personal objects and art from LA’s Afro-Latinx community and invites audiences of all backgrounds to understand this long-standing and vibrant history. The exhibition will be on view February 22 through July 20.

afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city is the first exhibition at a major institution examining the history and contemporary experience of Afrolatinidad in Los Angeles. 

The exhibition will be installed in LA Plaza’s 1,000 foot, 2 first floor gallery and will feature a recreation of an Afro-Latinx home, complete with personal objects, photographs, art, and digital media. 

“afroLAtinidad: mi casa, my city is co-curated by Walter Thompson-Hernández and Mariah Berlanga-Shevchuk, and advised by Samantha Blake Goodman, La Mikia Castillo, Mike Davis, Kimberly Drew, Kelly Lytle Hernández, Tanya Melendez, and Kaelyn Rodriguez. The exhibition is designed by Aviva Rubin.

The exhibition will explore the presence of Los Angeles’s Afro-Latinx community, beginning with the pre-American founding of LA by the pobladores, a group of settlers of mixed African, Indigenous, and Spanish descent. It will continue with the contemporary experiences of residents identifying as Black and Latinx, in the many forms that can take.

The Afro-Latinx community represented in the exhibition includes Latin Americans of African descent, as well as those of mixed African-American or Black and Latinx heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore cultural touchpoints that are assumed to be Latinx but are in fact of African origin.

Objects on view will include paintings, ceramic art, family photographs and video installations, as well as personal mementos, including musical instruments, devotional objects, clothing, jewelry, hand-written recipes, and a home-made plantain grinder made of washing machine parts. 

The exhibition also includes contemporary artwork and videos by June Canedo, Wayne Perry, Patrick Martinez, Carolyn Castaño, Nery Gabriel Lemus, and more.

When: February 22, 2020 – July 20, 2020 Hours: M, W, & Th, 12-5 pm, Fri-Sun 12-6 pm
Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Admission is free.

PHOTO: Esperanza Bandera with her mother Rosie Dominguez and father Rafael Bandera, ca. 1993. Courtesy of Esperanza Bander

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Police Oversight

LAPD Scandal Opens Window Into CA’s Secret Gang Database



LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) — Brian Allen was on the CalGang database, though he is not a gang member. In 2017, he was driving with a friend when police pulled him over for expired tags. A year later, Allen received a letter informing him he’d been identified as a gang associate.

Brian Allen wasn’t surprised when he recently heard officers in the Los Angeles Police Department may have fabricated evidence to label people as gang members.

He believes it happened to him, landing him on CalGang, the state’s secretive database of criminal street syndicates and their suspected crews that is in the middle of a contentious reform process.

In June, after a two-year fight that ended in front of a Superior Court judge, the Los Angeles city attorney agreed to take Allen off the gang […]

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Kenneth Anger Inspires Sunset Strip Pop-Up Art Exhibit



WEST HOLLYWOOD (Hollywood Reporter) — Jeffrey Deitch and Nicodim galleries will co-curate “Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,” an art show inspired by the experimental filmmaker and author in the former Spago restaurant space in West Hollywood.

Launching with an invite-only opening on Monday, Jeffrey Deitch and Nicodim galleries are co-curating a pop-up art exhibit inspired by the work of the experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, author of the 1965 book of scandalous film-industry tales, Hollywood Babylon . More than 25 artists will be included in the group show, which will take place in the original […]

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