We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
This story has been updated.
Stanley Tookie Williams must be turning over in his grave right now.
Williams, commonly referred to as the co-founder of the Crips gang was executed in 2005 for the 1979 murders of four people in Los Angeles. While incarcerated, he authored several books, including anti-gang and anti-violence literature and children’s books. In late 2005, a campaign began to urge then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency for Williams in consideration of his work as an anti-gang activist and that he was a rehabilitated man. Thousands of people signed online petitions calling for Schwarzenegger to commute his death sentence. Those who campaigned against the execution included entertainers like rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Jaime Foxx, politicians, Nobel laureates and even South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Williams became the subject and symbol of a massive debate over the death penalty in California.
On the flip side, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, along with other law enforcement leaders, victims’ rights groups and the families of those murdered urged that the execution move forward, citing Williams’ lack of remorse and seminal role in gang violence.
Bratton got his wish because in the end, Williams was in fact executed by lethal injection.
Now almost ten years later it seems that the LAPD may look at convicted killers who author, co-author and/or ghostwrite books in a different light.
On Wednesday evening the LAPD (and taxpayers) facilitated a meet and greet promotional book tour-ish event for Los Angeles’ wealthy elite good doers with convicted killer and ex-member of the Mexican Mafia hitman Rene “Boxer” Enriquez.
Complete with the LAPD air support and a convoy fit for a President, the not so top secret shindig took place in downtown Los Angeles in the basement of a building located at 650 South Spring Street.
When asked about the event the department claimed that it was for a group of business leaders and local police chiefs and that it was a “LAPD-sponsored event” where attendees listened to Boxer describe his experience with a “transnational criminal enterprise.” Now why in the hell would business leaders need to learn from a convicted killer’s experience in the Mexican Mafia? Are these strategies and tactics they are hoping to adopt in how they conduct business. Do tell.
But I digressed.
Maybe none of them read Fox 11 reporter Chris Blatchford’s book “The Black Hand: The Bloody Rise and Redemption of ‘Boxer’ Enriquez, a Mexican Mob Killer.” But that’s really no never mind because as the attendees filed out of the catered and posh event complete with valet parking—most of them were carrying their very own personalized copies of Blatchford’s book, who might I add was there and from what I heard and was told did an excellent job of pitching and selling the book to the group. And even though California has law in place that allows the state to seize money earned from entertainment deals like books and films to compensate the victims of convicted killers like Boxer—it is rumored that money from Blatchford’s book sales are somehow being funneled to Boxer’s family. It could be just a rumor, it could not be.
Just like it could also be a rumor that Boxer’s pardon paperwork is sitting with Governor Jerry Brown right now and is expected to be signed upon the conclusion of Brown’s second-term in office. A pardon that is allegedly being granted based on Boxer’s cooperation with the federal government by becoming an informant on the Mexican Mafia. A role I might make mention of that earned him the status of being a wanted man—dead or alive.
But why Boxer Enriquez and not Stanley Williams? Both were convicting of multiple killings. Both have books and films about their lives and their redemption. Both played leading roles in a criminal enterprise. But only one is dead and the other is getting the royal treatment and seemingly planning for life after prison. We could be looking at the makings of the next highly paid law enforcement consultant.
Earlier this week LAPD Chief Charlie Beck made headline news when he criticized the Google Waze app for endangering the lives of officers. The popular app lets users share traffic information including if there are police in the area so that they can slow down or choose an alternate route.
One might argue that nothing puts the lives of officers in danger more than bringing a wanted convicted Mexican Mafia shot caller big baller hitman killer into downtown Los Angeles in the middle of the day just so that wealthy people can hob knob with him and buy his book. Because I have to tell you, contrary to what the department is putting out, this was not a meeting of law enforcement officials trying to get the upper hand on organized crime. I mean not unless law enforcement officials in Los Angeles got a massive bump in pay to be able to afford brand new Bently’s, Rolls Royce’s, Tesla’s, and Audi’s.
Sure the group behind the event can, should and probably will reimburse the City of Los Angeles for Boxer’s SWAT escort. But had someone—an officer or civilian been killed during this little escapade—well there’s no amount of money that can bring someone back to life. And for what? This wasn’t a court appearance or Boxer’s mother’s funeral where one could argue Boxer Enriquez had to be there. No, this was a secretly planned convention of wealthy donors to various political and civic causes near and dear to the hearts of members of the department’s brass. Plainly put, it was a favor for a favor and that my friends is some straight up bullshit.
This is the kind of madness that if I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would have never believed could happen. But it did happen and I saw it from beginning to end.
It’s not enough for the brass to come back to the public and the police commission and say that they are going to get reimbursed for any of the costs associated with Wednesday’s event. The lives of everyone involved in escorting this guy to his own party as well as the lives of everyone along the route to and from and in the downtown area, including yours truly, were all put at risk for no plausible reason other than to cater to the desires of a group of people who give a lot of money to apparently all of the right people. Remember—Boxer Enriquez is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, not the LAPD. So as reporters climb higher and higher up the ladder to find out who green lighted this massive lapse of good judgment, I am sure fingers are going to be pointed and heads are going to roll–as they should.
Stay tuned. I think this story is far from over. Oh, plus there’s also the issue of the video that I understand was made of this little event for some reality show Boxer is allegedly pitching for life after prison.
Updated 1/29 7:30 p.m.
So in addition to both Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti being less than pleased with the department’s decision to host a Mexican Mafia hitman in the heart of the city, Chief Beck issued the following statement:
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s Statement Regarding January 28, 2015, Transnational Crime Lecture
Los Angeles: “Mistakes were made in holding this event,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “I have directed the Department to more thoroughly review future events before committing LAPD resources.”
Reports that the Office of the District Attorney was involved or approved of this event were inaccurate. The LAPD is looking into the source of that inaccuracy.
Now I don’t want get to get into a tit for tat with Chief Beck because honestly I have better things to do with my time, but this event was okayed by him. Sure Deputy Chief Mike Downing played an integral role in putting it all together on the department’s end, but come on now, deputy chief’s don’t pull off events like this without the sign off of the police chief. Not to mention all of the assistant chief’s who also played their role in this madness. But like I said earlier, as you go up the ladder and chain of command, there are several agencies and offices that had a hand in this massive lapse of good judgment. While the LAPD has a lot of explaining to do, especially about what the “value” exactly is in having a convicted killer speak to wealthy business leaders and their spouses over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres –I am sure we will hear more about the role of the CDCR and possibly more in this. In the meantime, the department could send a clear message by actually disciplining all of those involved–no matter what their ranking, and I don’t mean a comment card either.