FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX—Yesterday, the Phoenix Police department released a report regarding officer-involved shootings from 2009 through 2014. The following is a statement from ACLU of Arizona Policy Director Will Gaona regarding the report:
“This report confirms what we already knew: the Phoenix Police Department has a use-of-force problem. Just because a shooting was acceptable according to the department’s internal policies does not mean it was necessary.
It only takes a comparison of the Phoenix officer-involved shooting statistics to the numbers in other cities to see that many of the shootings by police here are needless. From 2010 to 2013, Phoenix had more fatal shootings by police than New York City, which has five and a half times the population. There must be serious flaws in the Phoenix Police Department's operations to arrive at those results.
The department needs to take immediate steps to bring its officer-involved shooting numbers down. De-escalation and mental illness training are changes the department should continue to pursue. We also encourage the department to improve its data collection practices and form a civilian review board.
In addition, we insist the department put a greater emphasis on transparency and public accountability, which will help ensure a decrease in unnecessary use of force. In February, we sent the Phoenix Police Department an extensive public records request related to their use of force, including non-deadly force, against civilians. The department, in violation of the state’s public records law, has not yet fulfilled that request.”