Psst, Hey Buddy! Are you interested in forming a transnational criminal enterprise?

February 3, 2015

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.”

/snip/

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.


NYC asks federal court to approve mass arrests of protesters

December 22, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Good evening:

With our nation in crisis regarding the epidemic of police killings of innocent unarmed citizens, most of whom are young black males, including Michael Brown, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, to mention a few, the NYPD police union president Patrick Lynch pushed back hard on Saturday against people who protest against the killings. In classic right wing nonsequitur fashion, he blamed the predominantly peaceful protesters, Mayor De Blasio and President Obama for the ambush murders of two NYPD officers sitting in a parked patrol vehicle in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. Never mind that the killer was not involved in any of the protests and apparently decided to bag two cops after shooting his ex-girlfriend in the abdomen.

Terrell Jermaine Starr of Alternet reports,

It was just hours after officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by a lone gunman, when further inflamed tensions between the police and the minority community during a shockingly divisive and incendiary speech to the media.

“There’s blood on many hands tonight,” Lynch said. “Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday. We tried to warn, ‘It must not go on. It cannot be tolerated.’ That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor [Bill de Blasio]. When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.”

Fortunately, some cooler heads are attempting today to pull back from the abyss. However, the NYPD continues to rattle the saber as the NYC Law Department will be attempting to persuade the Second Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc to reverse an earlier decision by a three judge panel that held the NYPD had violated Occupy Wall Street protester’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and their Fourth Amendment rights to privacy by making mass arrests without individualized probable cause.

The City is arguing in its legal brief that the three judge panel’s “decision will frustrate, not further, the work of police attempting to facilitate peaceful demonstrations while ensuring both the safety of demonstrators and those among whom demonstrations are staged.” This argument is ridiculous because the Fourth Amendment specifically states that police cannot arrest a person without probable cause to believe he or she committed a crime. Police are also prohibited from entrapping law abiding citizens into committing crimes they did not intend to commit. In this case, officers from the NYPD entrapped Occupy Wall Street protesters by leading and escorting them onto the Brooklyn Bridge only to arrest them en masse for violating an order not to go on the bridge that no one heard.

Steven Rosenfeld of Alternet reports,

“This is the most significant and most defining legal case on protesters’ rights in the last 40 years, since the mass arrests of May Day 1970,” said Carl Messineo, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund legal director, which represented the protesters. “Mayor de Blasio seeks the authority to arrest today’s protesters in the same manner Mayor Bloomberg falsely arrested Occupy Wall Street protesters by the hundreds.”

Seeking to legitimize a practice of widespread false arrests by entrapping protesters is an egregious Fourth Amendment violation that deserves condemnation. This is no way to calm troubled waters. Instead it’s yet another reason, as if we needed one, to increase the protests.

Obviously, the NYPD doesn’t get it.


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