Police have arrested a man who they say tried to kidnap a woman while she was at work in an Irvine baby store, authorities said.
Irvine police arrested Charlie Choi, 47, on suspicion of attempted kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, said Irvine Police Department spokeswoman Kim Mohr.
Police found Choi on Monday around 4:30 p.m. in his Irvine home in the 300 block of Fountainhead, according to an Irvine Police Department news release.
“Police used investigative leads as well as information from the community to apprehend Choi,” according to the news release. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Surveillance video released Monday shows a man in a white shirt and plaid shorts talking to an employee at Mon Beau Bebe in the Woodbury Town Center around 7:20 p.m. He followed her around the store before grabbing her hair and trying to drag her into the storage room by her ponytail.
The woman crouched down on the floor and tried to free herself, and “told him there were video surveillance cameras in the store,” according to an Irvine Police Department news release. After about 15 seconds the man let go of the woman and ran out.
Police are still looking for a motive, Mohr said. “There’s no indication at this point that they knew each other.”
Disappointing some immigrant advocates, Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to authorize $3 million for legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation but to bar those who have violent criminal pasts.
The Board of Supervisors’ vote came a day after the city’s Budget and Finance Committee approved up to $2 million for the same purpose.
The votes ended a debate about which immigrants should qualify for help through the newly created L.A. Justice Fund, although the proposal that the city is considering would include an exemption for individuals with a “meritorious claim.”
“The county’s $3-million contribution to the L.A.J.F. can only go so far,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, a champion of the fund, in a statement.
Emi MacLean, an attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, argued for broader inclusion. “This county’s proposal would define people by their worst act,” she said at the meeting Tuesday.
The L.A. Justice Fund, which will include an additional $5 million from private philanthropic groups, was unveiled last December by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Solis in anticipation of a crackdown on immigrants by incoming President Trump. Implementation of the fund was held up in April over protests regarding the exclusion of immigrants with a history of violent criminal offense.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said she wished there were a way to include some of those immigrants.
“Many people have paid their dues to society — have paid their price and served their time,” she said in remarks before the vote. “I simply want to speak up for those people.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who opposed the creation of the fund in December, cast the lone dissenting vote. “County taxpayers should not be forced to bear the cost to provide free legal representation for those facing deportation,” she said in a statement.
The county will enter into an agreement with the California Community Foundation to manage and disburse the funds.
The foundation will award nonprofit agencies money to provide legal advice to immigrants and to represent them in court.
The proposed county agreement lists family members of citizens and other lawful residents as priorities to receive services, as well as children, veterans and victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.
The decisions this week come about five months after Trump signed executive orders to begin planning for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and to step up immigration enforcement.
In May, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that arrests of people living in the country illegally during Trump’s first 100 days in office were up nearly 38% over the same period in 2016. Arrests in Southern California, however, have remained relatively flat.
The decisions also follow the state Legislature’s passage last week of a budget that would funnel $45 million to community organizations to provide immigrants with legal assistance and other services. Gov. Jerry Brown has until the end of the month to sign budget-related legislation, but he has indicated he supports the idea.
Nearly 10% of the nation’s 11.1 million undocumented immigrants live in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the Pew Research Center.
A 2016 report found that immigrants in California who have legal representation are four to five times more likely to succeed in immigration court than their counterparts who lack such representation.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the immigrant rights advocacy group CHIRLA, said in an interview that her organization has seen a jump in clients since Trump took office, sometimes meeting with more than 100 new clients in one day, compared with a previous daily average of 20 new clients.
“The demand is high, and I think the fund will really help us see more people,” Salas said.
Kardashian dipped her toe into beauty in April by collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics, the runaway success founded by her social media phenom sister, Kylie Jenner. The KKW by Kylie Cosmetics crème lipstick set was a litmus test. According to an industry source, 300,000 of the $45 kits sold out in minutes, the equivalent of $13.5 million in sales. This sell-through gave Kardashian, as well as her partner and manufacturer, Oxnard, Calif.-based Seed Beauty (also the parent company of ColourPop), the confidence to go big with the first “drop.”
“We have a good model, and even from our lip kit, we have a really good general idea of what our customer is going to be like. We are definitely prepared for the demand,” Kardashian said, noting that her lipstick collaboration with Jenner sold out in mere minutes.
Industry sources expect that KKW will blow through the reported 300,000 units that were produced of her $48 Creme Contour & Highlight Kit in less than five minutes, amassing $14.4 million in sales. These estimates are proof that even with no prior experience at the helm of a beauty brand, Kardashian — as well as 19-year-old Jenner — wields a selling power that rivals behemoths in the space from L’Oréal and Estée Lauder to P&G, Coty and Unilever.
An expert at building buzz online, Kardashian started teasing the KKW Beauty line to her 101 million Instagram followers last week, leading up to the launch of kkwbeauty.com on June 21. A sneak peek at packaging, campaign images and even three videos with a flashing release date of the collection have garnered millions of views and likes so far — an early indication of the frenzy that’s sure to take place when the site goes live in two days.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is buying online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash, showing that its appetite for hip clothing brands shows no sign of abating as it looks for ways to gain on Amazon.com Inc.
It’s a sign of the aggressive direction Wal-Mart is taking since buying Jet.com last year and keeping that company’s founder as head of its online division. Wal-Mart has since bought clothing seller ModCloth, footwear retailer ShoeBuy.com and outdoor gear seller Moosejaw as it focuses on brands appealing to younger shoppers.
Bonobos, which started out selling pants online, caters to male shoppers looking for help putting together a wardrobe.
Targeting Bonobos is a good move for Wal-Mart as it tries to compete with Amazon, which has been quickly expanding its clothing business, Internet consultant Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodal said.
“If you roll up enough of these online startups, you create a meaningful share” of business, she said. She also said Wal-Mart can learn from millennial customers.
The Bonobos deal, announced Friday, is expected to close at the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this fiscal year. Bonobos Chief Executive and founder Andy Dunn will report to Marc Lore, the CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. online operations.
“Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Wal-Mart,” Lore said. “They’ve created an amazing product and customer experience, and that will not change.”
Bonobos sought to reassure customers that the deal wouldn’t hurt its brand. “Everything from our product quality, to design, to our customer service will stay the same,” it said on Twitter.
Bonobos started online but, like many similar startups, has also opened some showrooms. Customers at the Guideshops can try on pants, shirts, ties, belts and jackets with suggestions from stylists. They can order online at the store and have their clothes delivered to their homes or offices a few days later.
The company operates more than 30 stores in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Atlanta, and it has planned to have 100 by 2020. The acquisition by Wal-Mart will help Bonobos expand its business.
Still, Mulpuru-Kodal said, it is a bit of “a game of Monopoly.”
“Wal-Mart has huge coffers. Even if one of them shows promise, it pays for the rest,” she said.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart’s online business is gaining momentum but remains a distant second to Amazon. It increased 63% in the fiscal first quarter, up from 29% growth in the previous period. That marked the fourth straight quarter of gains.
Under Lore’s direction, Wal-Mart also has been working to accelerate the integration between Walmart.com and Jet.com, and trying to take advantage of its scale in areas such as shipping and sharing its products. Wal-Mart also is starting to offer discounts on thousands of online-only items when customers elect to have them shipped to one of the company’s stores for pickup rather than shipped to their homes.
Wal-Mart is also launching an incubator lab focused on projects in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence as it aims to compete more aggressively with Amazon.
A man in Central California discovered that the Anti-Piracy Warning Seal and message that plays before every Hollywood movie is not just for show.
Just eight days after the February 2016 release of the Marvel film “Deadpool,” federal authorities said Trevon Maurice Franklin illegally uploaded it to Facebook, allowing more than 5 million people to watch it for free.
It did not take long for the FBI to notice.
On Tuesday, federal authorities arrested the 21-year-old Fresno man, charging him with copyright infringement, according to a U.S. District Court grand jury indictment.
The felony offense carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said.
Federal authorities said Franklin illegally uploaded the action flick starring actor Ryan Reynolds and posted it on his Facebook page using the screen name “Tre-Von M. King.”
He is accused of reproducing and distributing at least 10 copies of “Deadpool,” the indictment said.
Federal authorities estimated the total retail value of the copies was $2,500.
From onstage at the Blue Diamond Gala, a benefit for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine took a break to describe the day he first “experienced the power of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
He then recalled that as a 9-year-old Oakland Athletics fan, he accompanied his grandfather to the first game of the 1988 World Series, all decked out in A’s attire, expecting the Oakland team to win.
“Then what happened was … one of the best moments in sports history — the unthinkable, the craziest thing happened,” Levine said. “Kirk Gibson hit that home run, and though my dreams were temporarily crushed … this place was so loud … I couldn’t help but understand and appreciate the entire legacy that had gone on here.”
Levine said he decided at that moment, “I’m going to stick with the Dodgers from now.”
Featuring hour-long sets by two Grammy Award-winning bands, Maroon 5 and Earth, Wind & Fire, the June 8 gala began with a festive cocktail party and dinner buffet beneath a tent at Dodger Stadium.
Although an intimate affair for a concert, at which guests enjoyed the show from plush sofas and small seating sections on the baseball field, the gala raised an impressive $1.5 million.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, host Kevin Frazier of “Entertainment Tonight” and team chairman Mark Walter took turns at the podium, with Walter thanking the bands, event chairs and players, “who gave up one of their very rare nights off at home during the summer for being here tonight.”
A short live auction then offered guests a chance to travel with the team to San Francisco, enjoy owner’s perks at Dodger Stadium or play softball on the field. The lots surpassed the goal of $100,000 to build the 48th Dodger Dreamfields program in underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area.
Celebrities Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates, Lonnie Chavis, Vanessa Grimaldi, Nick Viall, Haley Joel Osment, Heather Morris, Loretta Devine, and TV personalities Mario Lopez, Alfonso Ribeiro and Larry King as well as Prince Jackson joined Dodgers players Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Logan Forsythe, Corey Seager, Josh Fields and others, along with Orel Hershiser, Steve Garvey and more.
Chatting with us on arrival, Devine said she and husband Glen Marshall attend most of the Dodgers’ home games. “The Dodgers are all here tonight in suits. So that’s going to be something exciting to see,” she added.
On asking Osment, a self-described “huge Dodger fan,” about his iconic “I see dead people” line in “The Sixth Sense,” he told us, “It’s amazing how long a life that line has had. One of the most bizarre things happened last year when the Dodgers did movie quotes on the big screen. Yasiel Puig said the line. That was a pretty cool moment.”
With tickets beginning at $1,000 and sponsorship packages ranging up to $100,000, the gala attracted 1,500 guests to raise funds, which will go toward expansion of the foundation’s Dreamfields and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs.
Former FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was watched by an estimated 20 million television viewers on Thursday, according to Nielsen data provided by the networks.
Nielsen will release an official total later Friday.
Cable news networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC typically broadcast congressional hearings. But Comey’s session — in which he called President Trump a liar — was a bona fide major media spectacle and received live coverage across the four major broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
The broadcast network carriage boosted the ratings for the hearing, but its weekday morning airtime limited the size of the audience available to watch on TV.
There is no official total for online viewing, as many outlets don’t disclose their streaming numbers. CNN said its online audience peaked at 11:35 a.m. Eastern, with 767,000 simultaneous users watching its coverage, an indication that it was a significant audience across all available streams. CNN said there were 3.9 million “starts” to its online stream of the testimony.
The last major news event carried across both broadcast and cable networks was the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Trump, which had an average audience of 30.6 million TV viewers.
Thursday’s testimony made for some dramatic television. Those who tuned saw Comey tell the committee that Trump tried to impede an FBI probe into his fired national security advisor Michael Flynn’s contacts with a Russian ambassador during the new administration’s transition. Comey, who was dismissed by Trump on May 9, also accused the president and his administration of lying about him and defaming the FBI.
ABC had the largest audience, with 3.295 million viewers, followed by CBS (3.286 million viewers), Fox News (3.096 million), CNN (3.049 million), NBC (2.73 million), MSNBC (2.719 million), Fox Business Network (210,000) and CNBC (164,000). The hearing was also carried by PBS and was offered to Fox broadcast affiliates, which had the option to air it. Ratings for those outlets were not available.
Something wasn’t right when John Berry drove up unannounced to his family’s home one day two summers ago. He’d been fired from his job at a pizza parlor and had been getting little sleep — not a healthy scenario for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia who appeared to be off his medication.
So when Berry’s brother, a sworn law enforcement officer, called the local Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in Lakewood, he requested a mental evaluation team to try to calm Berry down and transport him to medical care.
Instead, after deputies responded to the call about an “insane person” on the residential street where Berry was parked on July 6, 2015, a struggle ensued. Berry was shot 18 times and killed by deputies, according to a memorandum by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $3.3-million settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Berry’s mother and other family members, who alleged that deputies used excessive force against Berry.
Prosecutors decided last year not to file any charges against the deputies — Anthony Johnson, Michael Bitolas, Roberto Solorio and Eric Saavedra — saying they acted in “lawful self-defense and in defense of others” when they shot at Berry to stop him from ramming his BMW into one of their fellow officers.
Berry, according to prosecutors, resisted deputies as they tried to pull him out of his vehicle. The memo says the 31-year-old was pepper-sprayed, Tased and struck with a baton before he suddenly backed his car up and knocked over a deputy, leading other deputies to believe the lawman was in danger of being run over.
But Berry’s family said he did not ram his car into a patrol vehicle and that he was unarmed and not acting violently.
“This is not how you treat the mentally ill,” Berry’s brother, Chris Berry, 39, said Thursday.
“They absolutely escalated the situation,” said Berry, who works as a federal police officer at a veteran’s psychiatric facility in Long Beach and witnessed the entire incident. “They treated him like he was a suspect and they were gonna take him into custody.”
Chris Berry said that although the episode eroded his trust in the justice system, he commends the department for trying to improve how its deputies handle mentally ill people.
Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida sent a statement in an email saying that the agency convenes a weekly review panel to learn and improve from critical incidents, many of which involve the mentally ill. About 70% of incidents in which deputies use force involve people suffering from some form of mental illness or substance addiction, she said.
A video filmed by a neighbor shows deputies struggling with someone in a car before shots are fired, but the shaky clip doesn’t display the precise moment before Berry’s shooting.
The settlement comes as the department is trying to train its deputies to better handle calls involving the mentally ill. In December, the department began a new crisis intervention training course, which involves 32 hours of instruction on different types of mental illness and how to de-escalate encounters. Nishida said 518 deputies have completed the course.
Every deputy and sergeant assigned to field operations — which includes patrol, transit stations and the parks bureau — is scheduled to complete the course within the next four to five years, said training bureau Capt. Scott Gage. All deputies already receive 32 hours of verbal resolution instruction just after they finish the academy, he said.
The Board of Supervisors voted in January to expand the department’s Mental Evaluation Teams — specialized units of deputies paired with mental health clinicians that respond to calls involving people believed to be mentally ill who are threatening others or being disruptive.
The county spent nearly $51 million in settlements last fiscal year to resolve legal claims against the Sheriff’s Department. From 2011 to 2016, 74% of the department’s excessive-force payouts, which totaled nearly $89 million, stemmed from shootings.