Tag: SMPD

SMPD Bike/Pedestrian Safety Operation For February 8

February 7, 2024 ·

SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday, February 6, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will conduct a Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation with focused enforcement efforts on primary collision factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists on Thursday, February 8 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The SMPD identifies locations where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions. Traffic officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Officers will be looking for violations committed by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries. Violations include speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield or provide right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.

“We all have places to be and not everyone gets there by car. Bicyclists and pedestrians have the same rights to the road but face even more risk without the protections vehicles have. We should all be looking out for one another,” said the SMPD.

Pedestrians
· Be predictable. Use crosswalks, when available.
· Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care.
· Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.
· Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear light colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk or at night.
· Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits.

Drivers
· Follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
· Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.
· Never drive impaired.

Bicyclists
· Obey traffic laws, use hand signals, use lights at night (front white light and rear red reflector), and wear a helmet.
· Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.
· Avoid the door zone: do not ride too closely to parked cars.
· If there’s a bike lane, use it, unless making a left turn, passing, or approaching a place where a right turn is allowed.
· Yield to pedestrians. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections.

Funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

By Trevor

SMPD Investigating Fatal Traffic Collision

January 15, 2024 ·

SANTA MONICA—On Saturday, January 13, Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News details about a fatal traffic collision that transpired.

On January 13, at approximately 1:50 a.m., officers responded to the scene of a fatal traffic collision in the 2900 block of Lincoln Boulevard. A vehicle was traveling southbound on Lincoln in the number one lane when it struck a pedestrian also traveling southbound in the roadway pushing a cart.

The pedestrian, a woman in her 50s who appears to be homeless, has not been identified. The coroner responded. The driver remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators. There were no signs of impairment. The name of the public has not been disclosed to the public.

Anyone with details related to this incident is asked to contact Investigator Raleigh at Evan.Raleigh@santamonica.gov.

By Trevor

Pedestrian And Bicycle Safety Operation January 4

January 4, 2024 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department is conducting a Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation with focused enforcement efforts on primary collision factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Police Department identifies locations where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions. Traffic officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries.

Officers will be looking for violations committed by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries. Violations include speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield or provide right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.

The extra enforcement efforts will take place on Thursday, January 4 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“We all have places to be and not everyone gets there by car. Bicyclists and pedestrians have the same rights to the road but face even more risk without the protections vehicles have. We should all be looking out for one another,” the SMPD stated.

Pedestrians· Be predictable. Use crosswalks, when available.· Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care.· Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.· Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear light colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk or at night.· Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits. Drivers· Follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.· Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.· Never drive impaired.

Bicyclists· Obey traffic laws, use hand signals, use lights at night (front white light and rear red reflector), and wear a helmet.· Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.· Avoid the door zone: do not ride too closely to parked cars.· If there’s a bike lane, use it, unless making a left turn, passing, or approaching a place where a right turn is allowed.· Yield to pedestrians. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections.

Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Photo by Gunnar Madlung.

By Trevor

Attempted Homicide Suspect Christopher Williams Arrested

December 26, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to the Canyon News that a suspect has been arrested to an attempted homicide on Sunday, December 24.

The SMPD reported at approximately 11:26 p.m., officers responded to an apartment in the 1300 block of 14th Street for an assault in progress. After arriving on scene, officers found a male resident inside the unit with serious facial injuries and stab wounds to his forehead, neck and back.

The victim was still conscious and able to describe his attacker, who he knew. Other officers were flagged down by witnesses who heard the argument and spotted the attacker, identified as Christopher Clay Williams, 29. He was taken into custody without incident in the 1300 block of Alley 14.

Williams was booked into the Santa Monica Jail for Attempted Homicide. The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for injuries sustained.

Anyone with details related to Williams or the incident is asked to contact Detective Tavera at Ismael.Tavera@santamonica.gov, Detective Sergeant Gradle at Ryan.Gradle@santamonica.gov, or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

By Trevor

Tamarquis Burke Arrested For Attempted Murder

December 11, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department disclosed on December 5 that a suspect has been arrested in connection to an assault that transpired at Palisades Park. The incident transpired on December 1, at approximately 8:55 a.m., when officers arrived at the 200 block of Palisades Park about an assault in progress.

Officers found a transient male later identified as Tamarquis Burke actively strangling another male. The officers immediately intervened. The victim, who was also experiencing homelessness, could be heard pleading for help as officers ran towards him.

Burke quickly responded to officers’ commands to release the victim and was handcuffed without further incident. During the investigation, several witnesses told officers that the attack appeared to be unprovoked.

Tamarquis Isiah Burke, 31, was arrested and booked into the Santa Monica Jail for Attempted Homicide. He is being held on $2,025,000 bail.

Anyone with details related to this individual or the assault is asked to contact Detective McCoy at James.McCoy@santamonica.gov, Detective Sergeant Goodwin at Chad.Goodwin@santamonica.gov, or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

By Trevor

SMPD Arrest Suspects In Felony Battery, Robbery Case

November 2, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Aklufi indicated in an email to Canyon News that two suspects have been arrested for felony battery, elder abuse and a robbery that transpired on October 31. The SMPD reported at about 9:50 p.m., officers responded to a call of a battery that just occurred in the 1200 block of Lincoln Boulevard. Officers located the victim of the battery, a 79-year-old female resident of the city suffering from a blow to the head and other injuries.

The suspects, four males in a Kia sedan and armed with a handgun, robbed the woman of her purse. A witness provided a description of the vehicle and license plate to authorities. The Kia had been reported stolen out of Long Beach.

Additional responding officers located the suspect vehicle on the south side of the city driving recklessly and initiated a traffic stop. The vehicle failed to yield and a pursuit commenced, which later ended at 11th and Wilshire when the driver of the suspect vehicle lost control of the car and crashed into a pickup.

Two of the suspects were located immediately and taken into custody. The third suspect was discovered hiding in a carport off a nearby alley and taken into custody without incident. The fourth suspect pushed his way into an occupied apartment in the 1200 block of 11th Street.

Kejon Stevenson.
Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Police Department.

The resident was able to force the suspect out of the apartment. This suspect was located hiding on the roof of the building by an assisting LAPD helicopter where he was taken into custody. A firearm was also located in the region.

The elderly victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries. The occupants of the other vehicle struck by the suspect vehicle were not seriously injured.

All four suspects were booked at Santa Monica County Jail on multiple felony charges. The suspects include:

Kejon Stevenson, 24, of Los Angeles; Jacob Pugh, 19, and two juvenile males, both 17 years old from Los Angeles.

Anyone with details about the incident is asked to contact Detective Tavera at Hector.Tavera@santamonica.gov, Detective Sergeant Gradle at Ryan.Gradle@santamonica.gov, or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

By Trevor

Yolanda Caldwell Arrested For Bank Robbery

October 27, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—On Friday, October 27, Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News that a suspect has been arrested for a bank robbery that transpired in September 2023. The SMPD reported that on September 22, at around 9:30 a.m., a solo suspect entered the First Citizens Bank on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, pointed a firearm at employee and demanded money.

The tellers handed over cash to the suspect who fled out the back door of the bank. Officers from the SMPD responded and commenced an investigation. Upon reviewing security camera footage, photos of the suspect and getaway vehicle were released in a public bulletin.

Detectives from the SMPD were able to identify the suspect and obtain a warrant for her arrest. Yolanda Denise Caldwell, 52, of Los Angeles was taken into custody on October 25. She was booked into the Santa Monica Jail for 211 PC, Robbery.

Anyone with additional details on the incident is asked to contact Detective Burciaga at George.Burciaga@santamonica.gov, Sergeant Gradle at Ryan.Gradle@santamonica.gov, or the Criminal Investigations Division at (310) 458-8451 during business hours.

By Trevor

Tyler Keating Arrested For Felony Battery And Robbery

September 24, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News that a suspect has been arrested connected to felony battery and a strong-arm robbery that transpired on Tuesday, September 19.

Authorities indicated at about 3:30 p.m., officers responded to a call of a battery that just occurred in Palisades Park near the intersection with Santa Monica Boulevard. Officers located the victim of the battery down on the ground and suffering from injuries to his face and head. A suspect description and direction of travel were broadcasted to other responding officers.

According to statements from the victim and witnesses, the victim was recording video of Palisades Park on his cell phone when he focused the camera on the suspect. According to the SMPD, the suspect was currently experiencing homelessness and laying on the ground in the park. The suspect did not want to be filmed and stood up to confront the victim, demanding he stop recording. The suspect struck the victim at least one time in the face, knocking him to the ground and took the victim’s phone, which fell to the ground before fleeing the scene.

Officers located the suspect, identified as Tyler Jordan Keating, 35, and the victim’s nearby. He was arrested for felony battery, robbery, and elder abuse and booked into the Santa Monica Jail where he is being held. The case will be presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney for filing.

The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. Anyone with details on the incident is asked to contact Detective Davis at stephanie.davis@santamonica.gov, Detective Sergeant Goodwin at chad.goodwin@santamonica.gov, or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

By Trevor

Traffic Collision/Felony DUI Arrest By SMPD

September 21, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department reported that a SMPD Traffic Services Officer was injured during a traffic collision on September 13. The Police Department reported at 2 p.m., patrol officers responded to a report of a traffic collision with injuries at the intersection of Yale Street and Santa Monica Boulevard on a green light.

Officers found the occupant of the scooter, a SMPD Traffic Services Officer, was ejected from the scooter and was suffering from significant injuries. The Santa Monica Fire Department transported the officer to a local hospital for treatment where she is currently listed in stable condition.

The California Highway Patrol was called to handle the crash investigation and reporting. Officials with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division assisted with a DUI exam of the driver of the Audi for suspected drug use. The driver was ultimately arrested for Felony Driving Under the Influence. The name of the driver and age has not yet been disclosed to the public.

“Our hearts are with our injured employee as she begins the long road to healing. This is a hard reminder that we are all at risk, anytime and anywhere, when drivers choose to use drugs or drink and drive. For the safety of all of us in the Santa Monica community, if you see someone who appears to be driving under the influence, call 9-1-1 immediately,” the SMPD indicated in a statement.

Lt. Erika Aklufi of the SMPD informed Canyon News via email that the suspect is Susan Weiss, 66. “Our Traffic Services Officer is still hospitalized but on the road to recovery,” said Lt. Aklufi.

By Trevor

Traffic Collision/Felony DUI Arrest By SMPD

September 18, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department reported that a SMPD Traffic Services Officer was injured during a traffic collision on September 13. The Police Department reported at 2 p.m., patrol officers responded to a report of a traffic collision with injuries at the intersection of Yale Street and Santa Monica Boulevard on a green light.

Officers found the occupant of the scooter, a SMPD Traffic Services Officer, was ejected from the scooter and was suffering from significant injuries. The Santa Monica Fire Department transported the officer to a local hospital for treatment where she is currently listed in stable condition.

The California Highway Patrol was called to handle the crash investigation and reporting. Officials with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division assisted with a DUI exam of the driver of the Audi for suspected drug use. The driver was ultimately arrested for Felony Driving Under the Influence. The name of the driver and age has not yet been disclosed to the public.

“Our hearts are with our injured employee as she begins the long road to healing. This is a hard reminder that we are all at risk, anytime and anywhere, when drivers choose to use drugs or drink and drive. For the safety of all of us in the Santa Monica community, if you see someone who appears to be driving under the influence, call 9-1-1 immediately,” the SMPD indicated in a statement.

By Trevor

SMPD Receives Funding For Retail Theft Crimefighting

September 18, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department was awarded $6.125 million in state grant funding to enhance efforts to combat organized retail theft in the region Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week.

Funding will directly support the ongoing targeted, innovative, and technology-based efforts by the SMPD to improve safety for residents and business owners.

“We are glad that the state has joined forces with local agencies to acknowledge that organized retail theft doesn’t just affect large corporations — it hurts our small businesses, puts employees and shoppers in danger, and it creates feelings of unease and fear in the community,” said Police Chief Ramon Batista.

In an email to Canyon News, Lt. Erika Aklufi noted that further establishes the Santa Monica Analytical Real-Time Center, or SMART Center, which will bring together technology and support staff to synthesize and interpret real-time data to strategically allocate police resources to address crime throughout the region. The SMART Center will help aggregate data and coordinate police response by using existing and coming technology including:

  • Closed-circuit television cameras and a video management system
  • Automated license plate readers, both mobile and at fixed locations
  • Unmanned aircraft systems that can respond to incidents quickly and start collecting information for officers
  • Live911, a program that allows officers to hear 911 calls as they are being received

“There is no understating the benefit our entire community will realize with the establishment of the SMART Center. This cutting-edge hub of information will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public safety in Santa Monica,” Batista said. “The SMART center will support proactive police work that can prevent crime, acting as an additional layer of safety, identifying crime as it happens.”

Santa Monica was one of 38 local law enforcement agencies awarded funds through the Organized Retail Theft (ORT) Prevention Grant Program. This initiative compliments the continued work the SMPD is doing locally by adding focused deployments in major shopping areas and in conjunction with other local agencies — including joining the Los Angeles County Retail Theft Task Force created to collaboratively address high-profile retail theft incidents.

“Promoting a Clean and Safe Santa Monica is a top priority to support the safety and wellbeing of all who live, work and visit our great city,” said City Manager David White. “I commend the Police Department for the work they’ve already done securing this grant and look forward to seeing the tangible impacts of this funding and future strategic initiatives.”

By Trevor

Cordell Studley Wanted For Attempted Rape, Burglary

September 4, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department is asking for the public’s help to locate Cordell Dionte Studley, 29, for attempted rape and burglary. Lt. Erika Aklufi of the SMPD indicated in an email to Canyon News that on September 2, at approximately 1 a.m., Dispatch received a call from a resident on the 1500 block of 15th Street.

She informed authorities she woke up and found a nude man standing next to her bed. They struggled briefly, before the victim was able to open the front door of her apartment and force her attacker out.

The Santa Monica Police Forensics Unit, in addition to detectives responded to the scene.  Authorities identified that Studley was observed at the apartment complex two times on the previous day. He is wanted for 220(b) PC – Assault with intent to commit rape, 459 PC – Residential Burglary, and 236 PC – False Imprisonment.

Anyone with details about Studley or his whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Brian Spencer 310-458-8420, Sgt. Chad Goodwin 310-458-8931, or the Watch Commander (24 Hours) 310-458-8427.

By Trevor

Terrence Allen Arrested For Rolex Theft

August 28, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—A suspect has been arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department who attempted to steal a $40,000 Rolex from the Rolex store located on 159 Santa Monica Place.

On August 21, the SMPD arrived to the Rolex store for a robbery in progress. During the robbery, multiple employees activated emergency alarms, triggering a police response. While officers were enroute, Santa Monica Dispatchers relayed that onsite security were attempting to detain the suspect who was combative during the process.

Upon arrival, officers took Terrence Allen, 26, of Florida, into custody.  During the investigation, officers learned that Allen entered the store, requested to view a watch valued at $40,000 and once in hand, he tried to flee. Allen encountered armed security stationed outside and after a brief struggle the property was recovered.

Allen was booked into the Santa Monica Jail and later charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney with armed robbery (211PC) and Grand Theft (487PC). Bail was set at $125,000.  The suspect was found to be wanted for a robbery out of the state of Georgia.

The SMPD is asking anyone with details of the attempted robbery to contact Detective I. Tavera in the Criminal Investigations Division at 310-458-8451, or the Santa Monica Police Department’s Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8426.

By Trevor

Attempted Murder Suspect Nathanael Roger Lavoie Arrested

August 16, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department announced on August 10th that a suspect was arrested after attacking another man who was found injured near the Santa Monica Public Library, Ocean Park Branch on August 9th.

The SMPD reported at 8:09 a.m., officers responded to the scene after a call of service for a Check the Status. An employee at the library informed authorities they attempted to wake up an individual who was near the front doors who may have been homeless and was badly injured.

The name of the victim has not yet been disclosed, but police indicated the 41-year-old male suffered from blunt force trauma to his face and had a swollen forehead. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and is listed in critical condition but is expected to recover.

At approximately 12:35 p.m., detectives spotted a person of interest loitering in the front of the library. Upon making contact with the individual, he became uncooperative and displayed threatening behavior. Additional officers arrived and deployed a Taser after the subject attempted to assault uniformed officers.

The suspect has been identified as Nathanael Roger Lavoie, 40, who was arrested and booked for attempted murder, felony battery on a police officer, giving a false name to a police officer, and resisting arrest.

Canyon News spoke to Lt. Erika Aklufi with the SMPD via email who stated:

“I don’t have anything for you about motive as this is still under investigation.  Similarly, I cannot share if he has an outside criminal record.  I can tell you that we had no contact with him prior to this incident; I understand that he was from out of state and may have only come to the area recently.”

Anyone with details on the incident or with information about the suspect is asked to contact the SMPD Investigations Division during business hours at (310) 458-8451 or the Watch Commander 24-hours at (310) 458-8427.

By Trevor

Pavilions, CVS Clerks Cited For Selling Alcohol To Minor

August 16, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department revealed that detectives conducted a Minor Decoy Operation on August 9. During the operation, a minor who was supervised by department agents tried to buy alcohol from 6 retailers in Santa Monica. Clerks at PAVILIONS, located at 820 Lincoln Blvd., and CVS located at 500 Wilshire Blvd. were cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

As a result, individuals will face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first time violation. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Department (ABC) will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor. This includes a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

According to a press release, ABC is conducting the compliance checks statewide to decrease the availability of alcohol to minors. Stats have details individuals under 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.

“Minor Decoy operations hold accountable those who sell alcohol to minors,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “Keeping alcohol away from youth is a priority.”

Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement in California since the 1980s, where the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or lower. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

ABC encourages licensees to sign up for ABC’s Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) training free of charge. Licensees and their employees can take the training course online or in-person during a classroom setting.

To learn more about ABC enforcement and prevention programs that help increase public safety visit: Enforcement programs and Prevention programs. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

By Trevor

Gunnar Zausniewski Sentenced 12 Years For Attempted Murder

August 7, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department announced in a press release on August 4, 2023, that Gunnar Zausniewski, 37, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison on July 28. Zausniewski was convicted of attempted murder, mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon on July 3rd for a crime committed on August 6, 2020.

The SMPD reported that at 9 a.m. on August 6, 2020, officers responded to a 911 call about a homeless individual brandishing a large knife at Reed Park.

Officers arrived and observed Zausniewski stab someone who was sleeping on the ground before running away. A short foot pursuit occurred, and the suspect was taken into custody. Zausniewski attacked another homeless individual, a 29-year-old, in his abdomen. The victim was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries sustained, from which he recovered. The name of that victim has not been disclosed to the public.

The SMPD indicated that it was proud of the detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division that took the suspect off the streets.

By Trevor

SMPD To Conduct Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Operation

July 31, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department will conduct a Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation on August 3 and August 4 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Officers will be “patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries,” according to a notice by the SMPD. 

The SMPD will be leading “extra enforcement efforts” during the Safety Enforcement Operation, looking for traffic violations committed by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians that can lead to “life changing injuries.” 

These violations include “speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield or provide a right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.”

The SMPD advises that pedestrians use crosswalks when available, avoid running in the path of vehicles, and remain visible by wearing light colors or reflective material and carrying a flashlight during dawn or dusk hours.

Drivers are advised to follow the speed limit, slow down at intersections, and be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks. Additionally, the Police Department reminds drivers to avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn and refrain from driving impaired. 

Bicyclists are reminded by police to obey traffic laws by using bike lanes where available, hand signals, lights at night (including a white light and rear red reflector), and a helmet. Bicyclists are also advised to be cautious of proximity to parked cars and to yield to right-of-way pedestrians on marked and unmarked crosswalks.

By Paige Strickland

SMPD Apologizes For Playing Classical Music At Intersection

July 14, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department has issued an apology after initiating a program meant to deter crime in the neighborhood. SMPD stated that the system would play classical music at traffic lights as a part of a broader city-wide initiative. The new system was installed on Thursday, July 6 near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Broadway.

Residents complained that the music was too loud and made it difficult to sleep.

“The cameras were installed on Thursday and the volume was set at an acceptable level and unfortunately the software glitched on Tuesday and reset the volume to the highest level possible,” the department explained. “We truly do apologize to all those impacted.”

According to the SMPD, the system was designed to prevent trespassers in the neighborhood protecting the community and enhancing public safety.

Some residents took to social media and expressed their opinion on the new initiative.

“I think it’s a fine idea as long as cameras playing classical music are not a replacement for officers on duty,” wrote Suzie Mannara.

Donn Umber wrote, “Maybe intersperse the classical music with an occasional play of Hawaii Five O’s theme song.”

“Hearing about this today from various friends disturbed me to my core. I can’t describe to you how the lack of consideration for the mental health of residents made me feel,” said Helen Zielinski Landon.

The music has since been turned off and the department welcomes any suggestions and feedback for alternative solutions.

By Christianne

Armed Robbery Suspects Arrested By SMPD

June 28, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department arrested two people in connection to an armed robbery that occurred on June 15. The SMPD reported on its Facebook page that they received a 911 call after 1 a.m. of an armed robbery that just occurred near the 1200 block of 3rd Street.

Two suspects, a male and female, threatened the victim at gunpoint and stole his wristwatch and cash. The male suspect had a revolver style pellet gun in his waistband. The female was carrying a bag with a black bandana that she used to cover her face during the incident.

Both suspects were located nearby and placed under arrest by officers. They remain in police custody pending a court appearance. Bail was set at $50,000 each for both suspects. Their names have not yet been disclosed to the public.

Jordan Thomas Franzino Arrested For Bank Robbery

June 21, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News that a suspect has been arrested for attempting to rob a bank on Tuesday, June 20.

The SMPD reported at about 9:30 am, a lone suspect walked into the Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Monica located at 120 Broadway and used a demand note to rob the bank of approximately $1,100.

The suspect fled the area on a bicycle, and details of the suspect and direction of travel were given to police officers. He was found a short time later in the 2000 block of Ocean Front Walk.

The suspect, who was still in possession of the stolen money, was positively identified by witnesses and arrested for robbery. Jordan Thomas Franzino, 29, who is from out of the state was taken into custody. The SMPD reported the suspect was currently experiencing homelessness.

No additional details about the incident have been disclosed to the public.

By Donald

SMPD Conducting Motorcycle Safety Enforcement June 1 And June 2

May 31, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will have extra officers on patrol Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2, looking specifically for violation made by drivers and motorcycle riders. The primary crash factors for motorcycles are unsafe speed, improper turning, right-of-way violations, driving under the influence and unsafe lane changes. Speeding is the most common, accounting for nearly a third of all crashes in the state.

To help protect individuals and others on the road, people should keep the following tips in mind while driving or riding:

Drivers

  • Always check twice for motorcycles in your mirrors and blind spots.
  • Use your signal when changing lanes.
  • Never follow a motorcycle too closely. Always keep a safe distance.
  • When at an intersection, allow enough space before turning.

Motorcyclists

  • Always wear a DOT compliant helmet and protective gear.
  • Consider adding reflective tape to make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  • Always keep your lights on, even during the day.
  • Don’t assume drivers see you: signal well in advance before changing lanes and watch for turning vehicles.
  • Although lane splitting is legal, the practice is not encouraged at high speeds in free-flowing traffic.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jonathan Peck Arrested For Assault On Santa Monica Pier

May 30, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Alufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in a press release to Canyon News that a suspect was arrested for an assault that occurred on Saturday, May 27. The SMPD reported at 7:30 p.m. that DART officers were patrolling the Santa Monica Pier when they were flagged down by the victim of an assault.

The victim was a tourist from Mexico, who informed the officers that about 10 minutes prior, a male suspect approached the victim and grabbed her breast. The suspect, later identified as Johnathan Peck, 25, continued walking past the victim, but stayed in the region.

Jonathan Peck.
Photo courtesy of SMPD.

After the victim told her friend what happened, the friend approached the Peck and confronted him about the sexual assault. Peck responded by using a large, sharpened stick to stab the friend (victim 2) in the face and neck.

The suspect fled the scene, but was quickly apprehended by additional officers to the Pier. While they were conducting their investigation, officers learned that Peck was responsible for additional assault that occurred shortly before the one described above. Peck attacked another female, grabbing her breasts, and another male victim who was also stabbed with the stick.

Two of the victims requiring medical attention were transported to local hospitals and treated for minor injuries. Details on the current condition of the victims have not been disclosed to the public. No additional information about the incident has been disclosed by the SMPD.

By Casey.

Stolen Credit Cards And Loaded Gun Found During Arrest

May 2, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Two suspects were arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department on Monday, May 1 for possession of stolen credit cards and a loaded gun.

Officers pulled over the two suspects after discovering that they were driving a stolen vehicle. During their investigation, authorities seized stolen credit cards and a loaded gun that were found inside the car. 

The names and details about the suspects have not been released to the public.

Canyon News reached out to the Santa Monica Police Department for more information but did not hear back before print.

By Christianne

Man Assaulted By Two Teenagers With Skateboards

May 1, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—A man was attacked by a group of 8 teenagers two of which have been charged with assault after they were caught beating a man with their skateboards on a Santa Monica E-Line Train.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, April 19, at around 11:24 a.m. It began as a confrontation on a westbound E-Line and escalated to an assault once the train arrived at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department arrived at the platform and summoned medics to treat the injured victim. 

The victim who was later identified as Eric Lewis and multiple witnesses were able to describe the assailants and the direction they were heading. According to reports, the group of teenage boys were delaying the train by preventing the doors from closing. Many of the passengers were headed to work and pleaded with the boys to stop so they could make it to work on time.

The group of boys targeted Lewis. They began to taunt, harass and throw items at him. According to Lewis, he kept his head down and tried ignoring them. As the train made its last stop the boys exited. Lewis left the train through an emergency exit located in the opposite side of the train. When he got off the train he was hit in the back of the head and turned around a saw one of the boys swinging his skateboard. 

“The first thing out of my mouth was ‘did you just hit me with your skateboard?’” Lewis said to Santa Monica Daily Press in an interview. He took his phone out and said he was going to call the cops then the group of boys started screaming and yelling at him. They tried taking Lewis’s phone away from him as he was trying to dial. 

Image of the injuries the victim sustained.

The group of boys beat Lewis with their fists, feet, and skateboards. One of the assailants was able to reach into the victim’s pocket and grabbed his phone. The group stopped and Lewis fled in the direction of the nearby Marriott Courtyard Hotel.

He found a security guard at the hotel and asked for help. 

Lewis looked for his phone and work clothes that he left at the scene when one of the assailants met with him. This assailant was described as the “leader” of the group of teenagers. Lewis asked for his phone back when the suspect raised his hands with his skateboard and slammed it against the victim’s head which cracked his skull. 

The group of teenagers ran away as Lewis sat on the sidewalk waiting for help. 

Officers located the suspects and arrested them with no incident. The victim was able to identify them after he was shown some images. 

Lewis was encouraged to go to the hospital by authorities but at the time was confused by their question. He was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica where he arrived at the emergency room around 12:30 p.m. He was suffering from a deep laceration to his scalp requiring eight staples, as well as a cracked rib, multiple abrasions on his back, arms and shoulders, and a concussion that he was told was the cause of his light sensitivity, dizziness, headaches, word comprehension and nausea.

An officer found Lewis’s phone later that day and it had been smashed to pieces. 

Two suspects were taken to the police station, processed and released to their parents or guardians per county rules relates to youthful offenders. 

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed assault charges against two minors who officers said were seen striking the victim with their skateboards. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact SMPD Criminal Investigations during business hours at 310-458-8451.

By Christianne

Felony Assault Occurs At California Pizza Kitchen

April 24, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Lt. Erika Aklufi of the Santa Monica Police Department indicated in an email to Canyon News that the department are investigating a felony assault that transpired at a California Pizza Kitchen on Thursday, April 20.

At approximately 7:43 p.m., the SMPD received a 911 call of an assault at the California Pizza Kitchen located at 210 Wilshire Boulevard. Patrol officers assigned to the Department’s Downtown Services Unit were on scene within two minutes.

In the outdoor seating area at the restaurant, officers found a table on its side and broken dishes and food on the floor. The victim of the attack was bleeding after suffering cuts on his hand. When authorities arrived, the suspect had already fled the scene.

The victim and several witnesses told officers that just a few minutes before, a male suspect, who was not known to the victim, without provocation approached the victim and his dining partner while they sat at their table, picked up two chairs, and slammed them on the table.

During the incident, the victim fell to the ground and cut his hand on broken dishware on the floor. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment for the lacerations.

The suspect is described as White male, standing 5 foot and 8 inches tall and weighing 180-200 pounds. His age is unknown. He had a full beard, wearing a green or brown jacket, orange sweater, white undershirt, blue jeans, and blue framed glasses. No further details about the suspect has been disclosed to the public.

Anyone with information about the incident or person(s) involved is asked to contact SMPD Sergeant Goodwin during business hours at 310-458-8451, chad.goodwin@santamonica.gov, or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

By Casey