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LAPD Took Mexican Mafia Killer to Dinner for $22,000

Chief Beck, LAPD (Damain Dovarganes / Associated Press)
Damain Dovarganes / Associated Press

On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department released a report delineating the details of the appearance of a former shot caller for the Mexican mafia at a dinner for some members of the LAPD and business leaders.

The LAPD admitted that it spent $22,000 and relied on an invalid court order to bring Rene “Boxer” Enriquez, jailed since 1993, to bring Enriquez before 175 people invited by the Young Presidents’ Organization, four police officers and 10 other “high-ranking law enforcement executives” from other agencies.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who had acknowledged after the event that “mistakes were made,” and his office would “more thoroughly review future events before committing LAPD resources,” according to the Los Angeles Times, stated through his office on Friday that he had asked his professional standards bureau to investigate the incident. Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff praised Beck for for taking “the action necessary to do a thorough personnel investigation.”

38 LAPD employees spent a total of roughly 320 hours preparing for the event, according to the inspector general of the city’s police commission. The court order that was used derived from a 2012 murder case that was subsequently completed; even when that order had been in force it only allowed Enriquez to be released from jail to act as a witness.

LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing acknowledged after the event for the Young Presidents’ Organization that Enriquez had addressed the police before to educate them and offer information on how the Mexican Mafia worked. His cooperation with authorities had led the FBI and several prosecutors to ask for his parole from his 20-years-to-life sentence, but Governor Jerry Brown denied parole in February, saying Enriquez still was “an unreasonable danger to society if released.”

Some of the expenses incurred by the event included police visiting Enriquez three times prior to his speech, the use of a police helicopter to protect the entourage on its way to the event, and SWAT officers to guard the area around the building in downtown Los Angeles, where the meeting was held two floors below ground. Enriquez was shackled at the waist and legs as he spoke. After his speech, Enriquez’s autobiography, The Black Hand: The Story of Rene “Boxer” Enriquez and His Life in the Mexican Mafia, was distributed; Enriquez signed the book for the attendees. The book acknowledges that Enriquez killed a rival gang leader and ordered the shooting of a female drug dealer, among his many violent activities.

On Friday, Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff credited the police chief for taking “the action necessary to do a thorough personnel investigation.”


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