PHOENIX - Today, the Department of Justice announced a pattern and practice investigation into the Phoenix Police Department and City of Phoenix. Victoria Lopez, advocacy and legal director for the ACLU of Arizona, issued the following statement:
"We welcome the Department of Justice’s decision to initiate a pattern and practice investigation of the Phoenix Police Department and look forward to working with them and local community groups to move this investigation forward in a constructive and meaningful way."
"There is a clear need for fundamental change in the agency and that starts with robust oversight and accountability. For years, local advocates and residents have been demanding an overhaul in the Department to keep Phoenicians safe from police abuse; their experiences and voices should be at the front of this investigation. In 2018, the ACLU of Arizona brought litigation against Phoenix PD to address its use of force against protestors engaging in protected First Amendment activity. In addition to lawsuits, of which ours is only one of several, community complaints and media reports point to numerous allegations of police misconduct, harassment, and excessive use force, all of which has eroded trust between the community and the Phoenix PD. This is not a case of a few bad apples – Phoenix PD has deep-rooted, systemic problems with the way it treats community members. It’s time for this to change."