Phoenix PD concludes investigation on excessive force complaint filed by Wall Street Journal reporter

Aug 13, 2023, 5:45 AM

Phoenix police units. (Phoenix Police Department)

(Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department completed its investigation on a complaint filed by a Wall Street Journal reporter, it announced Wednesday.

Dion Rabouin filed the complaint in November 2022 with the department’s Professional Standards Bureau against Officer Caleb Zimmerman.

Rabouin, who is Black, claimed the officer used excessive force while unlawfully detaining him, detained him based on his race and threatened to assault him if he did not comply.

“We found a number of the allegations were unfounded and I would just encourage people to go back and look at the entire body-worn video,” Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

The department conducted an internal investigation into the incident.

The investigation’s findings

Phoenix police said during the investigation, an issue came to light that was not part of the original complaint.

“The officer legally detained Mr. Rabouin, then identified him by removing a wallet from his pocket. Retrieving Mr. Rabouin’s wallet violated Department search and seizure policy,” according to a press release from the Phoenix Police Department.

“The investigation found the allegations of unlawful detention, detention based on race and use of excessive force were unfounded.”

Rabouin was in Phoenix to visit his family during the Thanksgiving holiday last year when the incident happened.

The journalist was conducting man-on-the-street interviews for a story about savings accounts at a north Phoenix Chase Bank before he was detained by police, according to an ABC15 Arizona report.

Change in policy

As a result of the complaint, the department said it reviewed its trespassing policy.

The revisions clarify the differences in procedures when detaining subjects for trespassing and arresting for trespassing.

“While a written reprimand would be appropriate for the policy violation noted, the lack of clarity in policy, and the fact that the incident did not involve malicious intent, repeat offenses, or a reckless or willful disregard for policy, the decision has been made to require the officer to receive training,” the release stated.

For the last two years, the Phoenix Police Department has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for its “pattern or practice” — which accesses all types of force used by officers, including deadly force.

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Phoenix PD concludes investigation on excessive force complaint filed by Wall Street Journal reporter