Justice Department report says Phoenix police violated US Constitution, discriminated against minorities

Justice Department report says Phoenix police violated US Constitution, discriminated against minorities

Phoenix Police Department and city engaged in pattern, practice of conduct that violates Constitution, federal law, says report

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - The Justice Department said Thursday that the Phoenix Police Department in the state of Arizona violated the US Constitution and federal law by discriminating against Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, among others.

"Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department announced today that the Phoenix Police Department (PhxPD) and the City of Phoenix (City) engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law," according to a statement by the department regarding a report after a three-year investigation into complaints of brutality and discrimination.

The department opened the investigation on Aug. 5, 2021.

The report said the Phoenix Police Department used excessive force, unlawfully detained those experiencing homelessness and unlawfully disposed of their belongings.

It is also accused of discriminating against Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans when enforcing the law, according to the statement.

Violating the rights of people engaged in protected speech and expression and discriminating against people with behavioral health disabilities are among other accusations.

The Justice Department described serious concerns about the Phoenix Police Department's treatment of children, adding that it also identified deficiencies in policy, training, supervision and accountability.

"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 Garland said in a statement.

Garland said the findings is an important step toward accountability and transparency.

"We are committed to working with the City of Phoenix and Phoenix Police Department on meaningful reform that protects the civil rights and safety of Phoenix residents and strengthens police-community trust," he added.


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