ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s the latest on the DOJ investigation into the Phoenix Police Department

Aug 3, 2023, 5:18 PM | Updated: Nov 28, 2023, 4:49 pm

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan...

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan. (YouTube Screenshot/Phoenix Police Department)

(YouTube Screenshot/Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — After months of negotiating ways to share law enforcement information with the federal government, the city of Phoenix said they have turned over thousands of police bodycam videos and documents for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the department.

In a press release Thursday, the city said it provided more than 20,000 body-worn camera videos and 80,000 documents.

They came to an agreement on how to share the information in late 2021. The city of Phoenix said it follows FBI rules for Criminal Justice Information Services, which regulates the sharing of sensitive information like fingerprints, documents and other evidence blowing to individuals involved in the criminal justice process.

The sharing of information is part of a two-year Justice Department investigation of the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department’s pattern or practice — which accessed all types of force used by officers, including deadly force.

In addition to the information provided, city and police leaders have done interviews, ride-alongs and access to training sessions with the department.

What is DOJ investigating Phoenix police?

The Pattern or Practice investigation is looking to determine if the Phoenix Police Department engages in retaliatory activity against people for conduct protected by the First Amendment.

DOJ is also investigating if the department participates in discriminatory policing or unlawfully seizes or disposes of the belongings of people experiencing homelessness.

Also, the Justice Department is looking into the city and police department’s systems and practices for its response to people with disabilities.

It will include a comprehensive review of police policies, training, supervision and force investigations along with systems of accountability, misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition and discipline.

What’s the latest update on the DOJ investigation?

Justice Department investigators did a site visit in April and interviewed Community Assistance Program and Field Training Officer program staff members.

During the visit, the DOJ took part in a session to understand Phoenix’s public records request process, the city said in the release.

Investigators also observed Phoenix Regional Police Academy’s Small Team Tactics and High-Risk Vehicle Stop training.

What’s next in the DOJ investigation?

The city of Phoenix said it’s welcoming the next steps in the process and will continue an open dialogue with Justice Department leadership.

DOJ will issue a public report detailing the findings at the conclusion of the investigation.

If no violations of constitutional or federal statutory rights by the police department are found, the investigation will be closed.

If the Justice Department investigation reveals patterns or practices of misconduct, it will note what they are and create Recommended Remedial Measures to correct them.

RRM usually takes the form of a negotiated and then court-ordered agreement overseen by an independent monitor.

The DOJ can bring a lawsuit to secure the recommendations if they are unable to negotiate an agreement, the release stated.

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Here’s the latest on the DOJ investigation into the Phoenix Police Department