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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Fight Back Venice Provides Bomb Threat Scenario and LAPD Summary Statements

Was there really a bomb threat to the Bridge Housing project on the MTA lot at Sunset or was it a couple of NO2 and CO2 cartridges modified to spin like tops? Were they really on the lot or in an adjacent area? — or both? The rumors continue. Venice Update eagerly awaits an official statement by the police.

Fight Back Venice has written a scenario of the events that have transpired  and provided a summary of the LAPD statements.

Bonin Triggers False Media Reports of Anti-Homeless Terror in Venice
Publicly Available Information from LAPD Contradicts Bonin’s Facebook Post

We originally intended to provide a look back at 2019 and an outline of our plans for 2020 in this email, but in light of the false reports that are circulating (and the damage that is being done to Venice as a result), we wanted to provide Venice residents with a summary of the information we have collected to date regarding the “suspicious devices” found last week at and around the Bridge Home Venice site.

As set forth below, publicly available information from the LAPD appears to indicate that there were never any explosive devices at (or near) the Bridge Home Venice site and that the LAPD does not believe there was a connection between the construction of Bridge Home Venice and the (non-explosive) devices found in Venice over the New Year’s holiday. Indeed, several of the (non-explosive) devices at issue (which unconfirmed sources have described as NO2 and CO2 cartridges modified to spin like tops when dropped) were found at locations other than Bridge Home Venice.

In short, Bonin’s narrative about terror activities targeting homeless in Venice appears to be without merit.

Here is what we have at this point:

Bonin’s January 3 Facebook Post
Bonin activated a Facebook post at 9:10 a.m. on January 3 (https://www.facebook.com/MikeBoninCD11/photos/last-night-the-los-angeles-police-department-responded-to-a-report-of-suspicious/2943919072293282/ ) stating that the LAPD had “responded to a report of suspicious devices that looked like bombs at the site of the future bridge housing in Venice.” Bonin further states that “there were three separate devices” that were “apparently designed to look like explosive devices,” but that “LAPD’s bomb squad determined that none of them contained the necessary fuel to cause an explosion.” Further, Bonin states that placement of these “suspicious devices” was “an appalling incident perpetrated by a disturbed and cowardly person or persons” that may have been “meant to slow or halt progress on providing bridge housing.” Then, he writes: “We will not be intimidated, and we will not back down from providing solutions to our homelessness crisis.”

Bonin’s Venice Deputy for Venice Bridge Home, Allison Wilhite, doubled down on that messaging in a news release furnished to Venice Update (https://veniceupdate.com/2020/01/03/venice-deputy-responds-to-venice-bridge-home-bomb-threat/ ) restating Bonin’s Facebook post in full – including Bonin’s theory that the “suspicious devices” were placed by “a disturbed and cowardly person or persons” seeking to “slow or halt progress on providing bridge housing” and intimate homeless advocates.

Police Chief Michel Moore, for his part, chimed in with a comment on Bonin’s Facebook page stating in its entirety: “Councilman Mike Bonin we will continue our investigation and appreciate your appeal for the community’s assistance with tips/leads to identify the individual(s) responsible.” Further, Chief Moore stated in a January 4 email to Christian Wrede that “[t]he councilman’s remarks” – as set forth on Facebook – “[we]re accurate and fair.” Chief Moore ignored Wrede’s requests to provide additional information as to the characteristics of the devices or to help address inaccuracies in news reports.

News Coverage Spawned by Bonin’s Statements

1) A comment accusing two sitting members of the Venice Neighborhood Council of planting the devices in question was posted to the comment section of Bonin’s Facebook post, and numerous print and television outlets ran stories adopting Bonin’s published theory that said devices were directed at the Bridge Home Venice project and Venice’s homeless community.

2) The local NBC affiliate, for example, ran a piece quoting Bonin extensively and stating that “homeless in Venice” were “possibly targeted with pipe bombs.” ((https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/lapd-investigating-fake-explosive-left-at-future-site-of-venice-bridge-home/2285119/)

3) Fox LA ran a story, under the headline “LAPD Working to Determine if Homeless Community Was Target in Suspicious Device Investigation,” stating that authorities believed that “the suspect or suspects responsible for leaving the suspicious devices there may have possibly been targeting the new housing project or the homeless community.” ( https://www.foxla.com/news/lapd-working-to-determine-if-homeless-community-was-target-in-suspicious-device-investigation ).

4) And Los Angeles Magazine ran a piece, under the headline “Fake Explosive Devices Were Found at the Site of a Controversial Homeless Shelter,” stating that “[t]he threat came amid ongoing controversy over” Bridge Home Venice and noting in the very next paragraph that “the Venice Stakeholder’s Association sued the city to halt the project.” ( https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/fake-bomb-homeless-shelter-venice/ ).

Publicly Available Information as We Currently Understand It

Disturbed by this incendiary reporting, a number of concerned Venice residents have continued to push Bonin and the LAPD to provide accurate information to the public and to correct the false and injurious storylines in the press.

True to form, Bonin has completely ignored such requests.

The LAPD, for its part, has declined to provide pictures – or even descriptions – of the devices, but has made several public statements contradicting Bonin’s Facebook post (and the false news reports it triggered), including the following:

 

“I can assure you that none of the devices recovered from the site would meet the definition of an explosive.” Captain Steven Embrich, LAPD, January 4 Email to Christian Wrede, et al

 “We don’t believe it’s related to the homeless shelter construction.” Officer Bob Long LAPD Major Crimes Division (as quoted by Zoie Matthew in “Fake Explosive Devices Were Found at the Site of a Controversial Homeless Shelter,” Los Angeles Magazine, January 3, 2020).

A law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Los Angeles Times that “none of [the devices in question] had the capability to detonate” and that “the shelter site was not the target of the incident.” Colleen Shelby, “Devices Resembling Explosive Found Outside of Future Homeless Shelter in Venice,” Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2020.

The devices in question were not limited to the Bridge Home Venice site. They “were found on and near” the Bridge Home Venice site and “an adjoining street.” January 3, 2020 LAPD News Release.

“The motive is unclear ….” January 3, 2020 LAPD News Release.

In short, the LAPD has expressly stated that: (i) the devices Bonin wrote about in his Facebook post were not explosive; (ii) the Bridge Home Venice site was not the only location at which the devices were found; and (iii) there is no apparent connection between the devices and Bridge Home Venice.

Further, while we cannot vouch for the accuracy of such information, we have been informed by sources we find trustworthy that detectives investigating the devices have shown residents in the vicinity of the Bridge Home Venice site photographs indicating that the devices in question were NO2 (i.e., laughing gas) and CO2 cartridges modified to flit around on the ground across distances of up to 20 feet when dropped from a height sufficient to trigger the release of gas. According to these sources, the first of the devices was found by a Venice resident on New Years Eve, but no report was made until other devices of similar design were found in various locations. Apparently, five devices in total were found.

We will provide additional information as we receive it. In the meantime, we will leave you to formulate your own hypotheses as to what really transpired with respect to Bonin’s mystery “devices” over the New Year’s holiday in Venice.

Comments (4)

  1. Mike Bonin

    Gotta keep the trash in the dump

  2. Thomas Washburn

    You would think Fight Back Venice wouldn’t be dumb enough to put words into the mouth of a LAPD Captain that he never said. Or anybody else at the LAPD for that matter. But you’d be wrong.

    https://argonautnews.com/bomb-scare-at-bridge-housing-site-ignites-incendiary-online-frenzy/

  3. Nicholas Antonicello

    Bonin got what he wanted which was to demonize those of us who think defecation, drug use, urination and criminal activity in public for all to see is acceptable behavior. We’re dealing with a very disturbing event with an equally offensive public official who hates his own constituency he claims to represent. It is a scary time for Venetians as long as Mr. Bonin hold this council seat.

    • Eileen W

      Bonin is a jackass. And you’re right Nic, he doesn’t give a crap about Venice residents. We’re just obstacles to his grand plan to be Mayor in 2021 by sucking up to the social services industry money. Bonin only cares about PP and Brentwood for their money and his not-so-secret-deal to keep encampments in Venice and out of PP and Brentwood.

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