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The Wing Publicly Responds to ‘Racist Incident’ in May



The Wing is Publicly Responding to a Racist Incident That Has Black Members Openly Quitting

WEST HOLLYWOOD (Jezebel) — In late May, as almost everyone involved has acknowledged, a racist incident took place at the West Hollywood location of The Wing, a glossy women’s coworking space we keep having to write about.

On Thursday, in September—several months after the incident occurred—The Wing founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan sent out an email to members apologizing for it. The email described an ongoing attempt to build a community that is more welcoming to women of color, acknowledging that “members and staff of color… haven’t felt adequately affirmed in our spaces.”

In the meantime, several black women have publicly quit The Wing—including the member who was targeted in the incident —arguing that the institutional response continues to be inadequate.

While some Wing members reading the email might have been left scratching their heads, the May incident was clearly described by journalist Char Adams in a piece for Zora in mid-August.

Asha Grant, the director of the Free Black Women’s Library of Los Angeles, told Adams that she and a guest were in the parking lot outside the West Hollywood location when they were confronted and followed by a white woman guest who accused them of stealing her parking […]

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Murder in Sneakerland: Man Dead in Unexplained Fairfax Shooting



FAIRFAX DISTRICT — Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau Homicide Division are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect(s) responsible for the shooting death of a man.

On January 20, 2020 around 2:13 a.m., Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department Wilshire Station responded to numerous calls of “Shots Fired” near the area of Melrose and Fairfax.

When officers arrived they found a blood trail leading Northbound on Fairfax. A crime scene was established and shooting evidence was located in an alley parallel to Fairfax.

CBS LA reported two “men have been detained, including one who drove the victim to the hospital” and that “police are investigating whether the shooting may have possibly stemmed from a drug deal gone bad or a robbery.”

Witnesses reported seeing a male Black wearing a red hoodie sweatshirt running Northbound and attempting to stop Southbound cars.  This male (a shooting victim) was picked up by additional male Blacks in a black sedan that left Southbound.  Officers contacted local hospitals and learned of a shooting victim at a local hospital.  This victim was transported by a private vehicle and had succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call Los Angeles Police Department, West Bureau Homicide, at (213) 382-9470.  During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to

Tipsters may also visit and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip.  Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

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Human Rights

Border Patrol Officials Dodged Congress’ Questions About Migrant Children’s Deaths



Border Patrol Officials Dodged Congress’ Questions About Migrant Children’s Deaths

by Robert Moore for ProPublica

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Trump administration sought to “conceal information” about the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy in Border Patrol custody, a House subcommittee chairwoman said at a hearing Tuesday.

Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., said the Department of Homeland Security has “consistently failed to maintain transparency by stymieing congressional inquiries. This raises concerns that they are hiding serious issues with management, in addition to the leadership vacancies at the top of the department. One example of this is the department’s decision to conceal information on the death of Carlos Hernandez Vasquez.”

Rice chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation and Operations, which had a Tuesday hearing to examine DHS efforts to prevent child deaths in custody. Six migrant children died in government custody between September 2018 and May 2019, the first such deaths in a decade.

Much of the hearing focused on Carlos, who died on May 20 in a Border Patrol cell in Weslaco, Texas. A ProPublica investigation in December, which included video of Carlos’ last hours and death, raised questions about his treatment by Border Patrol agents and contracted medical workers as his condition deteriorated.

“Despite information requests by this committee, it was not until a ProPublica report was released seven months later that Congress and the public learned more about what happened to Carlos, that his death may have been caused by the failure to provide urgently needed medical care and the failure to follow the most basic procedures to simply check on a sick child,” Rice said in her opening statement.

Two high-ranking Homeland Security officials testified at the hearing, but neither responded to Rice’s criticism. The two officials — Border Patrol Chief of Law Enforcement Operations Brian Hastings and DHS Senior Medical Officer Dr. Alex Eastman — used their opening statements to stress the unprecedented nature of the surge of families and unaccompanied children at the border last year.

They said DHS quickly scaled up medical care for migrants at the border following the deaths of two children in December 2018, using medical professionals from the Coast Guard, Public Health Service and private contractors. Eastman said the surge of migrant families and children was “an unconventional problem that required an unconventional solution.”

Under questioning from Rice, Hastings said the video of Carlos’ death revealed by ProPublica was “troubling” but sidestepped questions about his death because of an ongoing investigation by the DHS Office of Inspector General.

Hastings described one change in “welfare checks” made in the wake of Carlos’ death. Records obtained by ProPublica showed that a Border Patrol agent logged three welfare checks on Carlos in the four hours he was lying on the floor of his cell, dying or dead. The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Carlos told ProPublica that the agent looked through a window but didn’t enter the cell.

In July, then-Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders ordered that “any subject in our custody” receive welfare checks every 15 minutes and be documented in the system, Hastings said.

Hastings’ word choice drew a sharp rebuke from Rice.

“You mean person, not subject, in your custody. Because that’s what they are. They’re people, not subjects,” Rice said.

“Person, yes ma’am,” Hastings said.

Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care

Rice and other Democrats criticized reports released last month by the DHS inspector general into the deaths of two Guatemalan children in Border Patrol custody in December 2018. The reports found no wrongdoing by agents in the deaths of Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, and Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8.

“Publicly available summaries of these investigations are extraordinarily narrow in scope. They focus only on whether DHS personnel committed malfeasance and not whether the department’s policies and resources could properly protect the children in its care,” Rice said. She criticized the inspector general for declining an invitation to testify before the subcommittee.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., also criticized the inspector general for taking a year to complete investigations of the two deaths. Jakelin and Felipe were both held by Border Patrol agents in her district.

“Even more concerning, the OIG limited its investigation scope to only determine whether there was malfeasance by personnel and did not consider whether CBP’s policies and procedures are adequate to prevent migrant child deaths,” Torres Small said. “As I’ve said from the beginning, the reason for these investigations is not to punish people, it’s to keep this from happening again. It’s to make sure that we have the protocols in place in case we’re faced with this challenge again.”

The DHS Office of Inspector General did not immediately respond to requests from ProPublica a hearing about the scope of the investigation or the reason for not testifying at Tuesday’s hearing.

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force. We dig deep into important issues, shining a light on abuses of power and betrayals of public trust. Follow on Twitter at @ProPublica 

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Vigil Held for Off Duty Officer Killed at a Crosswalk



Amber Leist

by Genevieve Marie

WEST HOLLYWOOD– The community gathered at 7 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, Jan 14th for a vigil at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore joined LAPD officers and community members to mourn the unexpected loss.

12-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Detective Amber Leist was struck and killed by a vehicle at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue in Los Angeles at 11:05 am.

The 41 year old Detective was off duty when she observed an elderly woman fall in the roadway while attempting to cross at the intersection. Detective Leist stopped her vehicle and assisted the woman off of the roadway in order to prevent her from being struck.

As Detective Leist returned to her car she herself was struck by an oncoming vehicle, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a Sunday press conference, mentioning Leist was taken to the hospital where she subsequently died from her injuries. Villanueva said the light had just turned green, the driver remained at the scene and is cooperating.

“Right in the middle of the intersection, she stops, and she came, (and) my wife is too heavy to lift by myself and (Leist) just lifted her up,” Richard Mehana told NBCLA.

Los Angeles Police Commander Marc Reina said the driver of the car that hit Leist stopped and tried to help. “Fault has not been determined at this point,” Reina said.

According to KTLA reporting “Edgar Abou, who works nearby, said he saw Leist help out the woman, who was with her partner [Richard Mehana] at the time. Abou [said] the couple regularly went to the store where he worked, and that he was able to speak to the man later Sunday. “He didn’t realize that the lady had passed away, so he started crying,” Abou said, according to the report.

“This is a sad day for us,” said Villanueva,”She was an outstanding detective who would lead by example. He added Leist performed as a school resource officer and a patrol officer on her way to earning the rank of detective.

“Leist leaves behind her parents and two sons, one 20-years-old and the second, 17-years-old,” Villanueva said at the Sunday news conference. “The 20-year-old son is on
active duty with the U.S. Navy and we were able to reach him,” he said.

Her son Daniel Laney spoke to KTLA Monday, the day after his mother was killed. “It was heroic for her to go out that way,” Laney told them. “I love her for that. She’s always had a kind heart… I can’t believe this is happening right now.”

Leist started her career with the Sheriff’s Department at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, the LA Times reports.

“Bouncing around the station, [she had a] wonderful personality, so full of life and vibrancy,” her West Hollywood station coworker Capt. Ramirez told KTLA. “In my heart of hearts, I know that this world lost a little bit of its luster without Amber.” Ramirez also told KTLA that Leist was given a majority of the station’s domestic violence cases, because she was so empathetic.

Leist “was an outstanding detective who would lead by example, and she definitely led by example through her act of kindness, and we consider this an on-duty death,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference.

Councilman John Duran wrote about the loss of “a treasured member of our Weho family and we are in mourning,” on his Facebook page.

According to LA Times “Amber was never off duty, always looking to do a good deed, and unfortunately the good Lord decided to take her doing one of those deeds,” Ramirez said.

“She was a force to be reckoned with… her strength made everyone feel safe and secure,” said her sister Sumry Lemmenes, in an ABC report, which adds Daniel Leist said “My daughter was raised to do exactly what she did.”

Leslie and Richard Mehana, the couple helped by Leist on that fateful night, attended the vigil and shared condolences with Leist’s family.

There was a procession for Leist Sunday night, as her body was transported from Cedars Sinai Hospital to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

NBC reports Villanueva said the department assigned a psychologist to the station to help West Hollywood personnel deal with the loss of their colleague.

Flags were flown at half-staff Monday throughout West Hollywood in memory of Leist.

If you would like to make a donation to the family of Detective Amber Leist, you can do so on the ALADS website here. All donations will be greatly appreciated.

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