Check out AM The Answer 870’s Randy Economy show on the LAPD’s Boxergate scandal with guest yours truly.
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).
It’s finger pointing time at LAPDHQs and everyone is invited.
The shit is hitting the fan literally over at 100 West 1st Street as it relates to what I have dubbed as Boxergate—and the show is far from over.
Just a quick recap for those not up on game. Someone (and we’ll get into that later) thought it would be a great idea for the Los Angeles Police Department to utilize police resources to essentially host the January membership meeting of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) while simultaneously providing an opportunity for ex-Mexican Mafia convicted hitman turned informant Rene “Boxer” Enriquez to talk about his life and sign copies of a book written about him.
The event took place back on Jan. 28 at a place called The Reserve in downtown Los Angeles near 6th and Spring streets. And while the LAPD tried to spin it in the media as a meeting to educate local authorities and private sector tycoons about the workings of a “transnational criminal enterprise,” we have since learned (in my best impression of Maury Povich), that was a lie—or as the department likes to say, false and misleading information.
The summary I got from those in attendance was that it was basically a YPO membership meeting with a special guest star, Boxer, courtesy of the LAPD.
The event featured valet parking, waiters, cocktails, appetizers, a buffet, a bar and even a stage for the guest of honor. Boxer was free to sign copies of the book written about him. He was situated right next to the bar. I still haven’t been able to get confirmation on whether or not he actually partook in the consumption of alcoholic beverages but if he did, that wouldn’t surprise me either.
Boxer was escorted into downtown Los Angeles like he was a visiting president complete with LAPD air support up above keeping a watchful eye. I can tell you that this was huge production at the taxpayer’s expense and a huge waste of resources in a city with soaring crime rates.
And while the department flip-flopped on their excuse saying that this was some sort of training event for local authorities, I shall prove before it’s all over (cue Maury Povich) that too was a lie.
According to my sources, Deputy Chief Michael Downing announced the LAPD/YPO event on Jan. 17, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. at a Bureau meeting with his captains. It was number 16 on the agenda. At this time he did not reveal the location and I’m told only said that it was for the YPO members to get a perspective on this person who built an empire in criminal life.
Below is a department email dated Feb. 7, 2015 from one of our favorite subjects the newly transferred Captain Ed Prokop to Deputy Chief Downing detailing the resources that went into “handling” Boxer for the event—as if he didn’t know already. But whatever.
So let’s fast forward to the present.
Thanks to our friends in the news media, currently there’s a fascinating version of the blame game going on in the upper echelons of the LAPD. So fascinating that I brought a bag of popcorn (forgot the Red Vines) to Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting to further enjoy the fallout up close and personal—I was not disappointed.
At issue is who to blame for the okaying of this event and who knew what when.
From the jump Deputy Chief Downing vigorously defended the event as being some of sort of training for local authorities and an elite group of top business executives about the workings of a “transnational criminal enterprise.”
First and foremost, what kind of sense does it make for wealthy business executives to learn about the workings of a “transnational criminal enterprise” courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department? None. Another common sense question to have asked would have been why would the LAPD be training members of the YPO?
Second, let’s say that it was a training for local law enforcement authorities, it wasn’t, but let’s say it was. Since when does the LAPD hold trainings with alcohol being served? And why would you be training people who arguably are on their last leg any damn way with one foot out of door headed for retirement? But the kicker is, why would over 100 YPO members get the invitation first before law enforcement officials—I mean if it was really about a training for local authorizes. Exactly.
The reality is that out of 150 guests, less than 10 percent were official law enforcement officers and the rest were members of YPO and their wives.
But who knew what when? And who okayed what?
Below is a January 15, 2015 email from Lieutenant Helen M. Lopez to Michelle Messina who works directly for Assistant Chief Michel Moore.
Notice that in paragraph three Lt. Lopez explains that Captain Vito Palazzolo requests that they refer to the “training location” simply as Downtown Los Angeles – Spring Street.
As already proven and explained, this was not a training by any stretch of the imagination—not unless that training was an exercise on how to misuse taxpayer money and misappropriate police resources to show off to “friends” of the command staff. If that was the training then they nailed it.
From what I’m told, Lt. Lopez has quite the history with Boxer having been a partial handler of his during his previous speaking engagements while she was supervisor of the LAPD/FBI gang task force. Apparently she works for Deputy Chief Downing at Major Crimes. Many folks in the department believe that she is directly responsible for making the connection to Boxer for Downing.
From the jump this was all about appeasing a group of wealthy people who donate to the campaigns and causes near and dear to the hearts of the Los Angeles Police Department’s leadership. Now that the shit has hit the fan so to speak, folks are trying to scramble to place the blame.
I didn’t say it was your fault, but I am going to blame you…
So let me make a couple of things crystal clear.
If you think for one moment that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck wasn’t fully aware of the planning of that event you are not thinking. He is the chief of police and as easy as it would be to place all of the blame squarely on Deputy Chief Downing, he is not the chief of police and would not have been able to pull something like this off without the express permission of Beck. So let’s start there.
While Chief Beck likes to speak incessantly about accountability, truth, honesty and transparency—don’t expect any of that from him on this issue. He’s already revealed to us that he’s playing the starring role of the deer caught in the headlights in this show and knows nothing. Or wait–what was it I heard? That he was misled into believing the event was something other than what it was.
Basically in my opinion, that was code talk for he was deceived by Deputy Chief Downing—whom he coincidentally initiated a personnel complaint investigation against last week but only AFTER the LAPD’s independent watchdog Inspector General Alex Bustamante released a scathing but not surprising report.
For the record, the only folks who were deceived in all of this were the public, the men and woman who had to follow the orders of command staff and put on this event and my guess Boxer. himself. Boxer probably was assured that he’d be getting parole because of his work with agencies like the FBI and LAPD, but Governor Jerry Brown put an end to that pipe dream and back to prison he went.
The Inspector General’s report concluded that LAPD officials spent weeks (but I believe it was more like months) — and $22,000 — planning the event at the request of the YPO. It was also revealed that the LAPD probably broke the law when they used an expired writ to remove Boxer the state custody and bring him to this shindig.
If I was the judge that signed that writ, I’d be pissed off right about now because that event had nothing whatsoever to do with assisting the LAPD in the prosecution of a murder case.
It is alleged that Chief Beck was told that the event was a “law enforcement training event.” Which again makes no sense whatsoever when you consider the fact that YPO suggested Boxer as a speaker and out of 150 guests, less than 15 were actual law enforcement officers.
To quote Chief Beck, “I have said in the past, and I’ll continue to say it: I have issue with the way the event was conducted. There are some issues about the degree of notification that I received, there are some issues about the propriety of the venue and there are some issues about the removal of the inmate. So we’ll look at those things.”
I find it hard to digest that Chief Beck didn’t know exactly what was going on. If he didn’t then he has no business leading the Los Angeles Police Department and if he did, then someone needs to initiate a personnel complaint investigation against him.
Then there’s Deputy Chief Downing who clearly from the emails that I have read was intricately involved in the planning of this event.
Downing is a well-regarded and connected 32-year LAPD veteran who heads the counter-terrorism and special operations bureau.
But Downing isn’t going to be the fall guy for this latest massive lapse of good judgment involving LAPD command staff.
At Tuesday’s police commission meeting when the issue of Boxergate came up, Downing had his attorney issue a stern warning to the Inspector General, commissioners and Chief Beck about not discussing a personnel matter in public and to follow the law.
From what I’ve heard Downing is pointing the finger back at Chief Beck and Assistant Chief Michael Moore. I’ve heard there are a string of emails between Downing and Moore regarding this matter that may be used as evidence.
But Downing has enough issues to deal with without Boxergate.
There’s still that little issue of those Colt guns and that order by ASD—we’ll call it the Kimber scandal part two until I can come up with a better name. Just because I haven’t written about doesn’t mean I don’t know about it.
And in the middle of all of this finger pointing, now there’s word that rank-and-file members of Metro Division might find themselves in trouble behind Boxergate.
Something about a lieutenant from internal affairs insinuating that they might be disciplined for following command staff’s orders in the transportation and securing of Boxer.
That’s some bullshit right there.
There are those who make the orders, give the orders and those who must follow the orders. It takes some audacity to look into the faces of the men and women forced to follow bad orders and tell them that they could be in trouble for it.
But you know, maybe that’s what needs to happen. Maybe then the rank-and-file will be motivated enough to press their union for a vote of no confidence in Police Chief Charlie Beck.
I think Boxergate is far from over and it will be interesting to see what happens next or who blames who next between Beck, Moore and Downing.
Between the false and misleading information provided by Chief Beck and Deputy Chief Downing and the lack of a valid court order to move Boxer into LAPD custody— I do believe that a grand jury needs to be convened ASAP because it’s clear that laws were broken.
I mean the fact alone that Chief Beck said “The Inspector General isn’t privy to all the information that I am regarding this particular writ, but we’ll look into all that,” should make people sit up and take note. Could it be that I’m getting more information about Boxergate than Bustamante?
The Inspector General is supposed to be the watchdog for us civilians when it comes to the LAPD. If they aren’t privy to all of the information on Boxergate, can we assume it’s the same when it comes to officer-involved-shootings and other LAPD shenanigans?
Well until the next chapter in this saga is ready to be told, many thanks to the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department who serve the City of Los Angeles with the decency and integrity that sadly many of your bosses don’t seem to possess. I hope that you’re enjoying all of this as much as I am.