The Rundown: This Week in Brief 9/4/20

Canal by Robert Spencer

Painting Missing for 25 Years from LA Gallery Recovered in Pennsylvania

A valuable painting by American impressionist artist Robert Spencer that was stolen from an unnamed Los Angeles gallery in 1995 was recently recovered after it was found on exhibit in Pennsylvania. Authorities announced on September 3, 2020, that detectives from the LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Division were tipped off in November 2019 that “Canal,” which Spencer created at an unspecified point in his art career (approximately 1906 to 1931), had been consigned and was on exhibit at a museum in Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania. Authorities contacted the unnamed individual in possession of the painting, who was unaware that it had been stolen, and voluntarily released it. “Canal” was one of four high-value paintings taken from the LA gallery in 1995, but to date, is the only one that has been recovered.

Police Officer Charged for Fatal Shooting of Black Man in San Leandro

The New York Times and other sources have reported that a police officer in San Leandro has been charged with felony manslaughter for the shooting of a Black man, Steven Taylor, during a confrontation in April 2020. San Leandro PD officer Jason Fletcher responded to a call from an area Walmart that Fletcher was reportedly attempting to leave the store without paying for two items, including an aluminum baseball bat. As media sources reported, Fletcher’s body-cam footage showed that the officer encountered Taylor and within the space of less than 40 seconds, attempted to relieve him of the bat before shooting him with a Taser. Fletcher then shot him in the chest with his service pistol, and Taylor died at the scene. In a statement that accompanied the announcement of the charges against Fletcher, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley said, “We understand the frustration and anger and grief this killing has brought to you. And I assure that you we will seek justice.” Fletcher is expected to be arraigned on September 15.

Man in Jetpack Sighted at LAX

Both a Southwest Airlines and American Airlines pilot approaching LAX this past weekend reported seeing a man in a jetpack flying near them at around 3,000 feet. (The Mandalorian? The Rocketeer?) In the amusing audio transcript, the Tower responds, “Only in L.A.” David Mayman, CEO of the company Jetpack Aviation, claims that it was more likely to be a drone (in the shape of a man in a jetpack?), but I for one hope not. This is a new one for the FAA, who will be reporting it to law enforcement and the FBI. – Simone Snaith

New LA Re-Opening Guidelines: Barber Shops Yes, Malls No, Schools Sort Of

According to new guidelines for Los Angeles counties issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, hair salons and barber shops may open for indoor business under certain restrictions, but shopping malls must remain closed. The ruling specified that salons and barbers can operate indoors at 25% capacity as long as they continue to observe social distancing practices and employees wear masks. Additionally, the Los Angeles Times reported that  LA health officials stated that K-12 schools can offer in-school services for small groups of students with individualized or specialized education plans, including instruction for English in a second language. Shopping malls, however, must remain closed, which disappointed business owners and their employees; some barber shop and salon owners also expressed concern over the limited indoor ruling. “Landlords won’t be reducing their leases by 75%,” said Fred Jones, legal counsel for the Professional Beauty Federation of California, to the Times.



About Paul Gaita

Paul Gaita lives in Sherman Oaks, California with his lovely wife and daughter. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Variety and Merry Jane, among many other publications, and was a home video reviewer for from 1998 to 2014. He has also interviewed countless entertainment figures, but his favorites remain Elmore Leonard, Ray Bradbury, and George Newall, who created both "Schoolhouse Rock" and the Hai Karate aftershave commercials. He once shared a Thanksgiving dinner with celebrity astrologer Joyce Jillson and regrettably, still owes the late character actor Charles Napier a dollar.
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