In an official letter from the Phoenix Police Department to Vanita Gupta Associate Attorney General of the United States, the Phoenix Police Department has advised the DOJ that they will not agree to a consent decree.You can read the letter to the DOJ here and you can read the attached document highlighting the reforms that the Phoenix Police Department has made in the last decade here.
This is the first time in history that a major police department has defended itself against the Department of Justice.
Here are some highlights from the letter.
After 29 months, the DOJ’s investigation appears to be winding down, but with no specific information on when it will conclude. Unfortunately, one constant of the investigation has been a lack of transparency by the DOJ. The DOJ investigative team has declined to meaningfully share its observations, impressions, concerns, or tentative conclusions with the City of Phoenix, PPD, or their counsel despite numerous requests, and has rejected a specific request for a mid-investigation briefing.
Lacking the opportunity to respond to the DOJ’s report before it is made public, we have prepared a detailed report, submitted along with this letter. That report describes the various policies, programs, training, and other initiatives that have been developed and implemented in PPD under IC Sullivan, with the full support of the City, as well as those that pre-dated IC Sullivan’s arrival. These changes demonstrate a powerful commitment to reform, a commitment that warrants a different approach from the DOJ than has been the case over the past dozen years.
Based on the circumstances in Phoenix, including the commitment to change and reform reflected in the accompanying report, we request that the Department of Justice commit to negotiating in good faith a technical assistance letter with the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department, with assurances sufficient to reassure the DOJ that the City and PPD will continue with the reforms they are in the process of implementing.
As Bob Scales has said, the DOJ has been humiliated and they will respond. The DOJ cannot afford to lose a major city and they will fight but as we have pointed out here before, that is a huge issue for the DOJ.
Fighting entails a court of law and a court of law recognizes actual evidence and not opinion. If the DOJ had evidence, they would have no issues revealing their investigation. Their lack of transparency combined with their history of faulty investigations does not provide the DOJ with a winning path.