ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Police Department pushes DOJ on resolution method for civil rights investigation

Jan 11, 2024, 11:34 AM | Updated: 12:31 pm

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Police Department is pushing for a resolution to a long-running Department of Justice investigation into alleged civil rights violations that doesn’t involve cumbersome federal oversight.

An attorney for Arizona’s largest law enforcement agency said in a letter to the Department of Justice on Thursday it wants the process to be resolved through a technical assistance letter rather than a consent decree, which arguably would create restrictions that impede ongoing reform efforts.

The four-page letter was accompanied by a 53-page report detailing the department’s commitment to reform, including changes implemented before and since the DOJ started its investigation.

Why does Phoenix want to avoid DOJ consent decree?

“Although the City and PPD [Phoenix Police Department] welcome the additional insights that the DOJ findings report may bring, they are not willing to hand over PPD’s continuing reform to a consent decree process that is complicated, expensive, and cedes control to the DOJ, an independent monitor, and a federal judge,” the report says.

The letter from attorney Michael R. Bromwich accused the DOJ of locking into “a one-size-fits-all approach to police reform” over the past 12 years, specifically citing consent decrees following recent high-profile investigations into the Minneapolis and Louisville police departments.

“During that time period, the DOJ has insisted on negotiating a consent decree with the city and police department under investigation in every case in which it has found a pattern or practice of Constitutional and/or statutory violations,” the letter says. “It has not varied the solutions according to the size, history or culture of the individual city and law enforcement agency.”

Why is Phoenix Police Department under federal investigation?

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has been reviewing the department’s use-of-force practices since launching the probe in August 2021. The federal probe is also looking at allegations of retaliation over activity protected under the First Amendment and discrimination against people with disabilities or who are experiencing homelessness.

The city has been maintaining a web page with resources related to the investigation and the police department’s response.

The department also has scheduled a series community presentations to inform the public about the probe ahead its conclusion.

Phoenix officials believe the investigation is winding down, although the DOJ hasn’t provided a timeline for when it might end or shared any of its findings.

Chief Michael Sullivan: ‘It’s all about continuous improvement’

Michael Sullivan was brought in as Phoenix’s interim police chief in September 2022 to guide the department through the review process.

“It’s all about continuous improvement, and that’s been a mantra of mine since I arrived last September and will continue to be what I drive into this department during my time here,” Sullivan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead on Thursday.

In December, the department completed revisions to its use-of-force policy. The changes will be implemented this year after the entire staff goes through training.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Store front of The Home Depot...

KTAR.com

Man indicted for organized retail crime, shoplifting throughout the Valley

A 31-year-old man was indicted for 42 counts of organized retail crime and shoplifting throughout Maricopa County, authorities said Friday.

45 minutes ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

KTAR.com

Westbound lanes of Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway reopen in Tempe after crash

The westbound lanes of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway were reopened in Tempe after a crash near Scottsdale Road on Saturday afternoon.

4 hours ago

Stock image of backyard swimming pool. A 2-year-old boy was hospitalized but breathing after a drow...

KTAR.com

Scottsdale to offer free swimming lessons throughout August

As a nod to Arizona Drowning Impact Awareness Month, Scottsdale plans to waive enrollment fees for swim lessons throughout August.

6 hours ago

People appealing immigration proposal inside Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix...

Associated Press

Legal fight continues with appeals over proposed immigration initiative for Arizona Nov. 5 ballot

The fight to keep a proposed border initiative off Arizona’s Nov. 5 ballot is not over yet. Immigrant advocates kept the issue alive this week by filing notice to the state Supreme Court that they will appeal the judge’s ruling.

8 hours ago

(Phoenix Police Department photo)...

KTAR.com

Police investigating crash that killed motorcyclist at intersection in west Phoenix

The Phoenix Police Department is investigating a deadly crash between a motorcycle and another vehicle that happened on Thursday afternoon.

10 hours ago

mother of Mercedes Vega shares new details...

Serena O'Sullivan

Mother of Tempe victim in unsolved murder wonders if robbery suspect was involved

The mother of Mercedes Vega, a woman at the center of an unsolved murder case, joined KTAR News 92.3 FM's The Chris and Show Show this week.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

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.

Phoenix Police Department pushes DOJ on resolution method for civil rights investigation