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Today’s Headlines: LAPD officers are supposed to wear masks, but many aren’t

LAPD officers patrol Union Station.
Unmasked LAPD officers patrol Union Station on Aug. 11.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

LAPD officers are supposed to wear masks, but many aren’t

With coronavirus cases once again rising across Los Angeles and within the ranks of the city’s police, LAPD officers have been ordered to wear face masks “whenever in public or in the workplace.” More than a few cops, however, are ignoring the directive — and getting caught.

Officers have been seen and filmed without face coverings at crime scenes and traffic stops, on patrol and even inside police stations. At times, they have been recorded scoffing at the notion they should wear a mask or offering vague reasons why the rule doesn’t apply to them.

“You guys have nothing else better to do than to be on our butts about that?” an officer responded recently when William Gude, an activist critical of the LAPD, filmed a second officer making an arrest without a mask on and asked why he wasn’t complying with the department’s order.

“I’m inside the Hollywood LAPD station. The cops are maskless while helping civilians,” Gude wrote in another tweet Tuesday, which quickly racked up hundreds of likes.

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Nearly half the LAPD remains unvaccinated. New cases in the department — particularly among sworn officers — have spiked in recent weeks, with more than 50 LAPD employees infected in the last week, Moore said. Four LAPD personnel were hospitalized with severe cases of the virus as of Tuesday, and two others had been in the intensive care unit this last week but were released, he said.

Ten LAPD personnel and three spouses of LAPD personnel have died from complications of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic; more than 2,800 LAPD personnel have contracted the virus.

More top coronavirus headlines

— The chasm in coronavirus case rates between unvaccinated and vaccinated Californians is continuing to widen. State data show coronavirus case rates among unvaccinated Californians are six times that of the vaccinated.

— The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that it appears safe to relax restrictions on methadone, the oldest treatment drug for opioid addiction.

— Medical experts say there’s no evidence that any vaccination, including the COVID-19 vaccination, influences your chances of getting pregnant.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

2020 census shows slow growth and declining white population, as redistricting frenzy begins

The U.S. population has become increasingly diverse, powered by growth among Latinos, Asians and multiracial Americans. At the same time, the white populace registered historic declines, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Thursday.

The release of detailed data from the 2020 census paves the way for a frenzied rush to redraw congressional and legislative districts and shape the political landscape for the next decade.

“Our analysis of the 2020 census results show that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more racially and ethnically diverse than what we have measured in the past,” said Nicholas Jones, director of race and ethnic research and outreach for the Census Bureau’s population division.

White people make up 57.8% of the total population, the largest racial or ethnic group in the nation, but its overall number and its share of the populace shrank.

Latinos make up 18.7% of the country’s population, the second most prevalent group overall; in California, Latinos were the largest ethnic group, making up 39.4% of the state’s residents.

The findings, which had been delayed because of the pandemic, show the national population increasing by 7.4% over the last decade — the second slowest growth rate, after the Great Depression era, in the country’s history.

Biden sends troops to move U.S. Embassy staff from Afghanistan

The Biden administration, struggling to contain the rapid collapse of much of Afghanistan to Taliban forces, announced it was pulling many U.S. Embassy personnel out of Kabul and urged American citizens to leave the country immediately for the second time in a week. Several thousand U.S. troops will be dispatched to the Kabul airport to help with what is shaping up as a military-run partial evacuation.

It was a significant escalation in a violently deteriorating situation. The urgent moves came as the Islamist Taliban group, in its quest to topple the U.S.-backed government, reportedly conquered Afghanistan’s third-largest city and pushed its second city, Kandahar, to the brink. Afghan refugees have flooded Kabul, many sleeping in the streets, and talks to reach a political solution are going nowhere.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the administration will substantially reduce its “civilian footprint” in Afghanistan to a “core diplomatic presence” in the face of the grave violence spreading across the country. Many employees will be relocated to the fortified Kabul airport for safety.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1951, William Randolph Hearst, 88, founder of a publishing empire and for more than half a century — one of the dominant figures in the newspaper field, died at his Beverly Hills home.

At his bedside were the publisher’s five sons, William Randolph Hearst Jr., publisher of the New York Journal-American; David Hearst, publisher of the Los Angeles Evening Herald & Express; Randolph Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Call-Bulletin; and George and John Hearst.

William Randolph Hearst
(Associated Press)

YOUR WEEKEND

— There are plenty of things for Southern California plant lovers to do and learn this month, even in the heat of summer. Here are some of our top suggestions.

— We’ve paired together 18 parks and 18 restaurants in the L.A. area — from chorizo in San Pedro to fried chicken in La Cañada Flintridge — to have the perfect picnic. (L.A. Times subscribers get special access to this guide)

CALIFORNIA

— A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed a count of sexual battery against Harvey Weinstein on Thursday morning, agreeing with a defense motion that the statute of limitations had expired.

Back-to-school 2021 marks the third academic year that the education of California’s 6 million children has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening of schools this month is unfolding under the shadow of the surging Delta variant, supplanting the joy and relief families anticipated with new worries about masks, positive coronavirus tests, illness, vaccines, quarantines and outbreaks. We are here to answer your questions.

— California state officials and private businesses are increasingly prepared to request proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a precondition of both work and play. Here’s where California currently stands on vaccine mandates — and what you need to know about presenting proof of vaccination.

Sign up early for our California Politics newsletter, to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the latest action in Sacramento.

Support our journalism

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.

NATION-WORLD

— The head of Scotland Yard said Thursday that the department is reviewing its files on, but not opening, an investigation into Britain’s Prince Andrew, who faces sexual assault allegations in a U.S. lawsuit.

— Suddenly propelled to lead New York, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul vowed to set a better tone in state government after the sexual harassment scandal that spurred Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.

— Texas state Sen. Carol Alvarado ended a 15-hour filibuster Thursday morning of a controversial Republican-backed voting bill, which then passed just minutes after she wearily left the floor.

— A private bidder is willing to pay up to $120 million to purchase the Miami-area oceanfront property where the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building once stood. The offer was revealed during a hearing before Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who is overseeing the dozens of lawsuits that have been filed since the condo tower collapsed June 24, killing 98 people.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Jamie Spears will step down as conservator of daughter Britney Spears’ estate, a position he has held since 2008, and go along with an “orderly transition” to a new conservator, according to court documents.

— Amid a takeover attempt of CNN-owner WarnerMedia, U.S. media company Discovery has found itself in an escalating dispute with the Polish government over the future of independent broadcasting.

— Fans of actor LeVar Burton are vowing to boycott “Jeopardy!” after executive producer Mike Richards and actor Mayim Bialik were named new hosts.

BUSINESS

— Some companies are slashing how much space they rent as remote work becomes a permanent fixture. Others take a hard line on requiring workers to return.

— Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather has mansions in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and, now, Miami Beach. The undefeated fighter just dropped $18 million on a waterfront stunner on Palm Island, a human-made island on Biscayne Bay.

SPORTS

— Jake Funk endured two torn ACLs and a third surgery on his left knee before being drafted by the Rams and getting a shot as a backup running back.

— In this “All In” excerpt, Billie Jean King talks about her first time playing tennis. “That night I asked my father, ‘Daddy, which sport would be best for a girl? You know, in the long term.’ ”

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OPINION

— The latest coronavirus wave is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. It didn’t have to happen, writes Los Angeles physician and professor Mark Morocco.

— The industry should give the HFPA a chance to implement its new standards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which began in 1943, has a respectable history; past members interviewed Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. The HFPA deserves a chance to get its act together, writes The Times’ editorial board.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Megan Thee Stallion gets candid on protecting her personal space. With a new album on the way, staying balanced is of utmost importance to the Houston rapper. (Essence)

— Welcome to Montclair, where a large swath of the New York Times is working from home and the local paper’s advisory board resembles “the Pulitzer committee,” as one resident put it. Amid such suburban splendor, will they ever want to commute back to the newsroom? (Vanity Fair)

ONLY IN L.A.

There’s a wormhole to 1979, just a short trip down the coast from Los Angeles International Airport. Step inside and discover a hypnotic world of disco, glitter and roller skating where “music flows and magic grows.” Here, L.A.’s coolest lewks come out; everyone boogies. Music up, inhibitions down. At least for tonight. Tomorrow, the botany heaven, the rink, the dance floor at the South Coast Botanic Garden will simply be a memory of a groove.

The DiscOasis is a pop-up roller-skating experience like no other. The second you step onto the grounds of the Palos Verdes Estate garden, the energy of the party envelops you, echoing throughout the space, which includes palm trees that jut from the center of a roller rink, blinged out in more neon and mirrored signage.

Guests attend VIP Night of the DiscOasis at South Coast Botanic Garden.
(Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Constellation Immersive)

Today’s newsletter was curated by Daric L. Cottingham. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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