PHOENIX - Officials with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced on July 22 that a Prosecution Integrity Program will be established to handle claims of inappropriate police conduct.
In a statement, officials say the Prosecution Integrity Program will handle claims of alleged excessive use of force by police, as well as claims of prosecutorial unfairness in handling cases, and claims of actual innocence.
"While these types of matters have been regularly addressed by individual prosecutors and supervisors, I believe we can more effectively address these issues by centralizing the process," Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel wrote, in the statement.
Officials say prosecutor Rachel Mitchell will be responsible for the program, effective July 27. Mitchell will work with defense organizations outside the office and with prosecutors in the office to review and address items of integrity and conduct.
Various cases of police misconduct reported in recent years
In recent years, there have been a number of well-publicized controversies involving police use of force in the Valley.
In June 2018, FOX 10 reported on an incident in Mesa, where officers were seen punching Robert Johnson as he stood against an apartment complex's wall. In August that same year, Scottsdale Police officials announced that no criminal charges are warranted against the Mesa Police officers involved.
In February 2019, FOX 10 reported on an incident in Glendale that happened back in 2017, where a man named Johnny Wheatcroft was tased 11 times, including in the groin area.
In June 2019, a video surfaced that showed Phoenix Police officers taking a man into custody while investigating a shoplifting incident.
In the first minute of the video, officers are seen with guns drawn, and a total of 16 expletives are lobbed at the family. One of the officers involved in the incident was heard telling the person in custody, identified as Dravon Ames, that "you're going to get [expletive deleted] shot," while another officer was heard saying "Shut the [expletive deleted] up."
One of the officers involved, identified as Christopher Meyer, has been fired from his job.