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Justice Department Finds That Phoenix Police Department Has Patterns Of Civil Rights Violations


The Justice Department's investigation into Phoenix police revealed extensive misuse of force and discriminatory actions against Black, Hispanic, and Native American individuals. The 126-page report identified constitutional and statutory violations across all areas examined, including excessive force, discriminatory and retaliatory policing, and mistreatment of homeless and disabled individuals. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated that the Phoenix Police Department's practices deprived residents and visitors of their constitutional rights.


“The Justice Department has concluded there is reasonable cause to believe that the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives its residents and visitors, including Black, Hispanic and Native American people, of their rights under the Constitution and federal law,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.


City officials claim to have implemented changes since the investigation began in 2021. Unlike other federal probes initiated by specific incidents, this review, covering 2019-2022, stemmed from broader concerns. Notably, Phoenix had the highest fatal police shootings in the U.S. in 2018, with 23 deaths, highlighting a troubling history of mistreatment toward minorities and vulnerable populations.


In one instance, officers knelt on the neck of a man who had injured himself and was sitting alone in his car in a parking lot. In another, officers fatally shot a resident at a group home who had a small pocketknife and did not comply with an order to drop it and stop. Officers also shot a man holding a knife to his own throat. When they threatened to shoot him, he responded, "That's what I want."


Despite the Justice Department's desire to collaborate on efforts for change, Phoenix officials are resistant to federal involvement.

 

Will update as the story continues to develop.


Link: NY Times

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