Are you interested in forming a transnational criminal enterprise? If so, the Los Angeles Police Department will host and provide security for you and your friends to spend 90 quality minutes with  Rene Enriquez, a former “shot caller” for the Mexican Mafia who is serving two life terms for murder.

I’m not kidding. This is not an Onion piece, although I wish it were.

The Los Angeles Times reported late last week that the LAPD hosted such an event a private group of prominent business leaders and local law enforcement officials.

LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing defended the department’s involvement, saying that the event helped “inform and create awareness” for local police officials and private-sector guests.

He said the roughly 90-minute event stemmed from a request by the Young Presidents’ Organization, an international nonprofit group of business executives that has several local chapters. Downing said a member of the group approached him and asked if the LAPD could help the group talk to someone who had experience “building a transnational criminal enterprise.”

Downing said the LAPD decided to sponsor the event and invite local chiefs and other law enforcement officials from the region. Several hundred people attended, he said.

“They really saw how an individual on the opposite side of what they do — kind of the underbelly of society, the violence and criminality — how he grew an organization,” Downing said. “I think it was really interesting for them to listen to something that they’ve never really been exposed to.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti was not amused. Speaking through a spokesperson, he said what you might have expected him to say. The event “was inappropriate and should have never happened. We expect a full accounting of why this occurred and we are going to make sure this sort of thing never happens again.”

I suspect LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing is being encouraged to resign in order to spend more time with his family.

Meanwhile, in the Big Apple NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced late last week that the NYPD is forming a new elite unit that will be called the Strategic Response Group or SRG that will be made up of hundreds of officers tasked specifically with counterterrorism and “disorder” policing. The Intercept reported,

“They’ll be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” the commissioner said. “They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.” Bratton said the SRG “is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”


When asked if New Yorkers should expect to see police officers with “machine guns” at city protests, a spokesman for the NYPD told The Intercept, “No. They’re not carrying them at protests.” In general, however, the spokesman said officers would have access to the weapons “either on them or in their vehicles.”

Pretty obvious what Commissioner Bratton thinks about the Black-Lives-Matter nonviolent protests. Maybe the LAPD can make Mr. Enriquez available to instruct him and the NYPD/SRG on the finer points of assassinating trouble makers.

Our two largest police departments are out of control and they are not alone.



Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.