AP

Justice Dept begins probe of Massachusetts police department

Nov 15, 2022, 1:17 PM | Updated: 1:53 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced an investigation into whether the police department in Massachusetts’ second-largest city routinely uses excessive force or discriminates against residents based on race or gender.

The civil investigation into the Worcester Police Department will review how the agency addresses misconduct complaints and discipline; review department policies, procedures and training; and evaluate how officers interact with the public, collect evidence, and complete investigations, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said in a statement.

“Based on information provided to the Justice Department, we find significant justification to investigate whether the Worcester Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of racially discriminatory and gender-biased policing, and uses excessive force,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

The city and police Chief Steven Sargent are cooperating with the investigation, said U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins.

The “majority of Worcester’s officers do their jobs with honor, pride, restraint and distinction,” but she added that the investigation’s “ultimate goal is to ensure that policing in Worcester is constitutional, safe, and effective all while the civil rights of their residents remain intact.”

Voicemails and emails seeking comment were left with spokespeople for the police department and the city manager’s office.

Worcester has roughly 200,000 residents and is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Boston. More than 23% of its population is Latino or Hispanic, and 13% is Black or African American, according to Census Bureau statistics.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of rights protected by the Constitution or federal law, federal prosecutors said.

The Justice Department conducted a similar investigation of the Springfield Police Department that was settled earlier this year with a consent decree.

The U.S. attorney’s office did not point to any specific incidents that spurred the investigation, but in April, a Black man sued the city and five officers saying he was wrongfully charged with murder based on his race and what his attorneys called fabricated evidence.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

9 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

10 hours ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

11 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

12 hours ago

Biden to require more gun dealers to run background checks....

Associated Press

Biden administration will require thousands more gun dealers to run background checks on buyers

New Biden rule to require thousands more firearms dealers across the United States will have to run background checks on buyers.

1 day ago

Instagram blurring out nudity with new app tools....

Associated Press

Instagram blurring nudity in messages to protect teens from sexual extortion

Instagram says it’s deploying new tools to protect young people and combat sexual extortion by blurring nudity.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Justice Dept begins probe of Massachusetts police department