On September 28, Elias Chavez and Tlaloc Chavez, both 23 and unrelated, were each given two life sentences for the 2021 murders of David Lara, 59, and DeAngelo Tafoya, 59 — acts that the Denver Police Department has tied to gangs.
The outcome was expected, but it still shook attorney Jason Flores-Williams, who represented Elias Chavez. Flores-Williams has observed the corrosive influence of Latino gangs in Denver for years, and he feels it’s time to speak frankly about those who participate in such activities.
“The system has culpability here,” he acknowledges. “But ultimately, these kids are destroying themselves and doing the white man’s job for them.”
Flores-Williams stresses that his comments are not at his client or the friends and family who support him — and he doesn’t want his words to give aid and comfort to those he considers enemies.
“I run the risk in saying this stuff of coming across like some jerk-off Sean Hannity,” he notes. “The attitude of people like that disgusts me. They come out of a place of hate for the Latino people and their culture, and I come out of a place of profound love. These statements aren’t made to all of Latino culture. They ‘re made to a certain set that, through almost no choice of their own, are engaging in gang culture and gang activity. And really, at the end of the day, they’re taking all of the potential out there and sticking it in a cage — and that’s killing me inside.”
At around 4:01 pm on April 1, 2021, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, DPD officers responded to a 911 call regarding “a shooting involving a tan SUV” near the intersection of Alameda Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The cops found Lara and Tafoya at a bus