The DOJ launched investigation – a re-initiation of an Obama era tactic – into police agencies for alleged civil rights violations is called a pattern or practice investigation. It stems from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. So yes, they have the authority to conduct the investigation, but what is the ultimate goal of it? The newest one is against the Phoenix Police Department.
The Special Litigation Section of the DOJ Civil Rights Division will conduct the investigation. It will assess force used by Phoenix officers, including deadly force, the DOJ said in a press release. They said they would investigate whether PhxPD engages in retaliatory activity against people for conduct protected by the First Amendment if PhxPD engages in discriminatory policing and whether PhxPD unlawfully seizes or disposes of the belongings of individuals experiencing homelessness.
The DOJ said the investigation would additionally examine Phoenix practices for responding to people with disabilities. They will review policies, training, supervision, force investigations, and PhxPD’s accountability systems, such as misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline…take our poll - story continues below
When we conduct pattern or practice investigations to determine whether the Constitution or federal law has been violated, our aim is to promote transparency and accountability,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the press release. “This increases public trust, which in turn increases public safety. We know that law enforcement shares these goals.”
Consent Decrees – Federal Government Demands
According to KOAT-7 in Albuquerque, they found nearly all cities that reached settlement agreements or consent decrees with the DOJ saw double-digit increases in violent crime—including murders, rapes and robberies…
KOAT looked at cities that reached consent decrees since 2010 and who had reported their crime statistics to the FBI. The station compared each city’s violent crime rate two years before the city entered the consent decree and two years after.
Every city with a population higher than 50,000 people experienced a double-digit increase in violent crime. For example, Albuquerque saw a 36 percent increase in crime; Seattle 27 percent; LA, 61 percent; Cleveland, 13 percent; Phoenix, 10 percent; and New Orleans, 20 percent.
Only two cities—East Haven, CT., and Warren, OH., both with populations under 50,000 saw a decrease in violent crime.
Is there a correlation between the consent decrees in those cities and the rise in crime? Maybe. There have been 73 investigations under that law. Just since AG Merrick Garland has been in office there have been investigations against Louisville, Kentucky (Breonna Taylor), and Minneapolis, MN (George Floyd). In recent years, actions against Baltimore, MD (Freddy Gray) and Ferguson, MO (Michael Brown) have produced what are known as “consent decrees” – basically bowing to the pressure from the Feds. Officers tend to leave the departments due to the rigidity of the requirements.
Law enforcement officers are already leaving departments in droves all across the nation. In essence, a consent decree demands that officers perform their duties exactly as the feds determine they should. Not that Federal Agencies follow those guidelines…they don’t. But the DOJ demands a rigid set of guidelines even down to the way a local officer handcuffs a prisoner, which may be considered excessive use of force. They also mandate formation of units that investigate the police over and above normal internal affairs units. They have to pay outside persons millions to make sure the departments are adhering to the criteria set by the Feds – and that can be anywhere from $4Million to $10Million.
Wherever the DOJ goes, crime goes up.
Shaun Willoughby, former President of the police Union in Albuquerque NM
So again, what’s the goal?
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