Report casts more doubt on LAPD officials’ rationale for killer’s talk

By Kate Mather | LA Times
March 20, 2015

boxer speaks to LAPD mexican mafiaFrom the beginning, Los Angeles police justified their decision to bring a convicted murderer serving life in prison to downtown Los Angeles for a speaking engagement by saying the former Mexican Mafia shot-caller provided valuable insight to the police officials in attendance.

But on Friday, a report by the LAPD Police Commission’s watchdog cast doubts on that explanation, as well as other decisions made by L.A. Police Department officials in organizing the private Jan. 28 lecture featuring Rene “Boxer” Enriquez.

The commission’s inspector general concluded that the main point of the event was for Enriquez to speak to about 150 members of an elite group of business executives and that only 14 law enforcement officials attended the talk, which promised attendees would be “amazed, shocked, blown away and maybe even a little scared.”

Subordinates had told LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that the event was a “law enforcement training event,” the report said, even though it was a member of the business group who suggested Enriquez as a possible speaker.

Inspector General Alex Bustamante’s inquiry also questioned if the LAPD had the proper court authority to remove Enriquez from the detention facility where he was being held. The security and planning of the event cost the LAPD $22,000, Bustamante found.

In response to the report, Beck initiated a personnel complaint investigation, the LAPD announced Friday.

A source familiar with the situation said a high-ranking department official would be a focus of the inquiry: Deputy Chief Michael Downing, a well-regarded 32-year LAPD veteran who heads the counter-terrorism and special operations bureau.

Downing declined Friday to comment on the report and investigation. His attorney said only that they were “looking forward to Tuesday,” when Bustamante’s report will be presented to the Police Commission.

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