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Assault & Battery

Strange Cases from LAPD: Fake Guns, Real Guns and Terrorist Groping



by Kate Lý Johnston

LOS ANGELES (Crosstown LA) — At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD data for anomalies. LAPD officers tag most crime reports in their system with MO codes, for “modus operandi,” Latin for operating method or style. The MO codes are shorthand for describing what happened in a crime incident.

Here are a couple recent examples of what the Detective has found, aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kate Lý Johnston.

Threats with fake guns are still illegal

Keep your BB guns at home, because imitation firearms are illegal to display publicly in California.

At 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, three people were arrested at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilson Pl. in Hollywood for possessing replica firearms.

The suspects used their fake guns to threaten to kill three Hispanic teenagers, according to publicly available LAPD data. One of the suspects was also experiencing homelessness.

Crime Code 931, “Replica Firearms (Sale, Display, Manufacture, or Distribute),” has been reported only three other times in 2019, and 29 times in total since 2010. In six of these cases, the weapon was described as a “toy gun,” which is classified differently from a BB gun or air pistol.

Replica guns made national news on Nov. 22, 2014 when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer while playing with an airsoft replica gun at a Cleveland, Ohio playground.

More guns this week, this time for real

At 6 p.m. on Sept. 10, a 21-year-old Hispanic male was murdered by a suspect defined by the LAPD as “Suspect is/was other religious confidant” what the LAPD calls on the 500 block of San Pascual Ave. in Highland Park.

According to publicly available LAPD data, the so-called religious confidant, who was apparently mentally challenged or disturbed, stabbed with a knife and shot the victim with a handgun. The data indicate that the suspect and victim knew each other, meaning the victim could have been murdered by his own confidant.

Terrorist groups and touching genitalia

At 2:20 a.m. on Sept. 15, an 18-year-old Hispanic female was groped on a train at the Wilshire / Western Station in Koreatown. According to publicly available LAPD data, the suspect touched the victim’s genitalia over her clothing.

However, the crime was also tagged with MO code 0905, “Terrorist Group.”

The LAPD Records and Identification Division was unable to verify by Crosstown’s deadline if the code was used in error or if the incident was, indeed, linked to a “Terrorist Group.”

Crosstown covers the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in a different way — through data — to help people make their neighborhoods and the city safer, healthier, and more connected.

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Assault & Battery

Disney Actor Jailed for Hollywood Domestic Violence Case



LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — Chris Tavarez, the actor from the Disney Channel hit “K.C. Undercover,” is going to jail for several months for an alleged domestic violence incident, and that’s after striking a plea deal.

According to the LA Superior Court … the 27-year-old pled no contest to 1 count of felony domestic violence with a prior conviction. He’s been sentenced to a suspended 5-year prison sentence but will only serve 300 days in county jail. He’s also getting credit for 153 days already served. That leaves him with a little less than 150 days behind bars. Tavares will also have to take a 52-week class on domestic violence awareness, and complete one year of an outpatient alcohol program.

TMZ broke the story … Tavarez was busted back in November after allegedly flying into a rage during a fight with his GF, who suffered a concussion. As we reported, he had a prior conviction for a June 2017 spousal battery case …. so, it was a near certainty he’d get a jail sentence this time around.

Tavarez is best known for playing Darien on ‘K.C.’ … which starred Zendaya.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Assault & Battery

‘Walking Dead’ Star Vanessa Cloke Attacks a Woman as Ex-Boyfriend Moves Out



'Walking Dead' Star Vanessa Cloke Attacks a Woman as Ex-Boyfriend Moves Out

ORANGE COUNTY (TMZ) — Vanessa Cloke — known for playing Anna on a seasons 6 and 7 of “The Walking Dead” — went ballistic while her ex gathered up his stuff at their apartment … and ended up getting hauled away in handcuffs.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … they were called to the actress’ residence in Orange County, CA to keep the peace while someone removed their property.

During the process, we’re told cops witnessed her strike someone … so she was arrested.

As you can tell by her mug shot … she was pretty emotional about it. Video of the incident paints a clearer picture of what happened. Cloke’s heard sobbing and screaming about her ex-boyfriend and his family members. At one point, the woman recording calls her a “drama queen.”

Vanessa then storms out of the apartment and appears to strike the woman … after calling her a “f***ing c**t.” She allegedly grabbed the woman’s phone and threw it off the staircase onto a parked car below, causing damage.

Sources close to the situation tell us … Cloke’s boyfriend had recently broken up with her, and called police to get his belongings at the home they shared because he anticipated problems.

We’re told cops tried to keep her calm during the process, but she became too unruly so they asked her to leave. After Cloke’s confrontation with the woman recording video … cops placed her under arrest.

We reached out to Cloke who told us, “Can you imagine what it takes to provoke a person to this point? (To person who took the video) ‘Tis the season for exploiting and demeaning another human being without the full story”

She was booked for misdemeanor assault and battery.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Assault & Battery

Lyft Driver Attacks Female Passenger on Melrose, Other Drivers Fight Back




Lyft Driver Attacks Female Passenger, Gets Beat Up By Other Drivers

LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — A Lyft driver pulled a female passenger out of his car, and allegedly started to attack her — kicking off a chain reaction of fights with concerned passersby.

TMZ got a hold of this WILD surveillance video recorded Tuesday afternoon in L.A., and it starts with the car — which has the Lyft emblem in the back window — parked curbside along busy Melrose Avenue. Then the male driver hops out, and pulls a young woman from the seat behind him and starts dragging her out of the vehicle while tossing her stuff out at the same time.

The woman, actress Alessandra Starr Ward, tells TMZ the whole thing started when she started playing a song called “Te Bote” from her phone. The driver demanded she turn it off, she refused, and they started arguing. He allegedly threatened to boot her from the car, and she told him she’d call police if he did.

In the clip, you can see Alessandra fighting back, but the driver pushed her down and knocked her over. Drivers in other cars saw it unfolding and a few guys stopped to help.

That’s when it really hit the fan … several guys teamed up on the Lyft driver, who continued fighting back, and in the scuffle … Alessandra got knocked down again. It took one guy putting the Lyft driver in a chokehold to finally calm things down.

We’re told nearby police officers were flagged down, and cited the Lyft driver for misdemeanor battery. As for Alessandra, she says she went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. She also says she has bruises all over her body, a sprained ankle and a black eye.

She tells us Lyft needs to vet its drivers, as this shouldn’t happen to anyone. It’s unclear if she plans to pursue legal action against the rideshare company.

UPDATE 12:50 PM PT — The woman who says she was beaten and tossed around by a Lyft driver recounted her experience to TMZ, and it’s harrowing to hear firsthand from the alleged victim herself.

Actress Alessandra Starr Ward came on “TMZ Live” Wednesday to give a blow-by-blow account of what exactly happened to her in that car, and what led up to it. She told us that she was innocently playing a song from her phone, and when the driver demanded she turn it off … things spiraled out of control and allegedly became violent.

Alessandra —  who pretty clearly has a black eye here — says the Lyft driver then pulled her out of the vehicle and tossed her around like a rag doll until a few good men stepped in to stop the mayhem. It also sounds like Alessandra didn’t even get a chance to finish her 911 call.

Check it out … we ask if she’s planning to hit up Lyft for some answers on this, and she tells us she and her family already have, but so far … have only gotten crickets in response.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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