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).
The fact that a wealthy group of donors to various political and civic causes near and dear to the hearts of members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s brass is now willing to pay for their meet-and-greet and book signing with former Mexican Mafia shot caller and hitman Rene “Boxer” Enriquez is beside point.
What is more troubling and can’t be fixed with a check and a statement admitting that “mistakes were made” is that a group of business leaders were able to use their influence and money to get an audience with a man allegedly in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. A man one could argue who unless he is going to court or his own mother’s funeral should not be getting escorted as if he were a visiting president to a posh shindig complete with valet parking and catering where he is the guest of honor.
Contrary to the false and misleading statements provided by the department after the story broke in the news, this was not an event to “inform and create awareness” for local police officials and help the private sector attendees “think about developing different strategies” to counter criminal enterprise activity.
The LAPDs own list of law enforcement officials RSVP’d to attend the event showed that roughly 10 percent of the audience were legitimate crime fighters. The other 100 or so guests were members of an elite group of business magnates and members of the Young Presidents’ Organization, the group that originally approached the LAPD about hosting the event through one its members Steve Robinson. Robinson just happens to be a reserve officer for the Hawthorne Police Department and a major financial supporter of the LAPD’s pet project Operation Progress Los Angeles.
According to the LAPD, the group which refers to itself as “the world’s premier network of chief executives,” originally asked if the department could help them talk to someone who had experience “building a transnational criminal enterprise.”
Why would executives from companies that include The Los Angeles Times, Fox Broadcasting Company, Verengo Solar, Wells Fargo Bank, MGM Studio, The Walt Disney Company, CBRE and more need to hear from anyone—let alone a convicted killer in protective custody—on how to build a transnational criminal enterprise?
I don’t know which is scarier—CEOs being aided and abetted by the LAPD in learning how to run their businesses more like a criminal enterprise or the fact that my police department was so eager to appease these CEOs that they put unknowing civilians lives in danger not to mention their own officers just to make it happen.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck recently 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 (and civilians) in danger more than bringing a wanted convicted Mexican Mafia shot caller big baller hitman killer into downtown LA in the middle of the day just so that wealthy people can hob knob with him.
While it may seem that Boxer Enriquez has already been paroled by Governor Jerry Brown given last week’s book signing soirée, the fact is he’s still an inmate of the CDCR—hence the need for the high level of security in transporting him from Orange County into downtown Los Angeles and throughout the duration of the event. And even though YPO is willing to now pay for the cost of Enriquez’s appearance, had there been an attempt to spring him from custody or worse assassinate him, no amount of money could have brought back to life any civilian or officer killed in the process. That’s what every Angeleno should be concerned about.
Last week it was everyone to and from Los Angeles and in the vicinity of 7th and Spring that the department was all too willing to sacrifice just to make a group of rich philanthropists happy. Next time it could be the Westside or maybe even the San Fernando Valley if the price is right.
Which takes me back to the different LAPDs that continue to exist.
There’s the LAPD that the powerful, privileged, and connected experience. This would be the LAPD of command staff and their friends and relatives.
Then there’s the LAPD that is a corrupt and oppressive organization that most cops, the majority of cops, experience. Work is a daily grind. Their careers consist of patrol, patrol, and more patrol. They work nights, weekends, and holidays. Their contacts with the disciplinary system are harsh, prolonged, and include a presumption of guilt. Promotions are few and hard earned.
And finally there’s the idealized LAPD. This is the LAPD of Dragnet and Adam-12. It is the LAPD where the organization’s motto, mission statement, core values and management principles are important. It is the LAPD of equality. It is the LAPD that is free of corruption. It is the LAPD in which promotions are based purely upon ability. In many ways, this last LAPD is a pipe dream of sorts. Nonetheless, this is the LAPD to which most of the rank-and-file are loyal. And, it is why so many of them become so angry when they feel their LAPD is being hijacked by a corrupt command staff and being used for corrupt ends. This is also the LAPD that I’ve gotten to know over the years and has proven to me at least, that there are a lot of good cops out there that are oftentimes incorrectly labeled guilty simply by association with the first LAPD I described.
Boxergate is just another example of the LAPD that is powerful, privileged and deliberately participates in the very same misconduct and corruption that the department’s brass constantly claim to be against, but was proven (again) to also be complicit in helping to orchestrate.
For that reason alone every Los Angeles elected official should be more than just outraged—they should be moved to make sure that this never happens again and that can only happen by holding the two people responsible for green lighting this massive lapse in good judgment accountable—Deputy Chief Michael Downing and Chief Charlie Beck. If for no other reason than show that transparency and accountability is achievable—even in the LAPD and even with command staff.
Because had Boxergate been the brainchild of some lesser ranking individual in the department, that person would be looking at the end of their career as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Am I wrong?