Community leaders speak out on DOJ investigation into Phoenix Police

One week after the Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Phoenix Police Department, community leaders are continuing to speak out.

The overall message from activists on June 20: New changes from the Phoenix Police Department, and the DOJ report, don’t go far enough.

Last week, the DOJ released findings from the nearly three-year investigation.

The assistant attorney general said the department's findings revealed what she calls "long-standing dysfunction" in the Phoenix Police Department, saying Phoenix Police routinely violate the civil rights of protestors and the homeless, while discriminating against people of color.

She called the findings both historic and severe.

Today, dozens of activists from community groups like Black Lives Matter, Poder in Action and more, claim the DOJ report doesn’t go far enough, criticizing the department for not including their input in their recommendations.

They also think far more needs to be done, and that real change won’t happen until officers listen.


People who say they were victimized by Phoenix Police react to DOJ report

More than 20 people who say they - or their loved ones - were victims of police brutality spoke in a news conference, following a report from the Department of Justice outlining violations by Phoenix Police.

On the other side, there are very different feelings.

Last week, the police union suggested the DOJ report was politically motivated and pointed to its recent reforms, including its updated use of force policy, as a commitment to change.

"Before we even released those, we told them we need to be involved in the process of any of those resolutions, and the development of them, said Dr. Mimi Gebremariam of Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro. "This has not happened. The DOJ has not done this, and we hope the DOJ can do better."

"The attempted strong-arming of the city council by the DOJ has proven that this investigation is a farce," said Darrell Kriplean, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

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City leaders have repeatedly opposed any kind of consent decree that would appoint a DOJ monitor to oversee changes. 

It’s unclear what comes next. The city is expected to meet on June 25 to obtain legal advice.

It’s possible this could go to court.