Arizona State House Republicans have sent a letter urging Democratic Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego to swiftly reject any consent decree proposed by President Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) to turn control of the Phoenix Police Department over to the federal government.
According to AZFREE News, “The DOJ began investigating PPD in August 2021. Their investigation focuses on types of force used, retaliatory activity against First Amendment-protected activity, discriminatory policing, unlawful seizures or disposals of homeless belongings, and responses to disabled individuals.”
“In August, two years after initiating their investigation, the DOJ and city of Phoenix offered an update. PPD provided over 20,000 body-worn camera videos, 80,000 documents, 200 hours of ride-alongs, and access to trainings at Phoenix Police Academy to DOJ investigators. PPD Interim Chief Michael Sullivan indicated in a video corresponding with the two-year update that PPD would seek to be independent of DOJ oversight,” reported AZFREE News.
“As you know, the DOJ has used consent decrees to remove local control from police departments in metropolitan cities across the United States. Relinquishing local control of these critical agencies to the federal government has been disastrous for both the public safety of the residents in those cities and for taxpayers. Arizonans have already suffered the drastic consequences of the DOJ consent decree over the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department for the past decade, as Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone and Maricopa County Attorney Mitchell have warned. Giving any consideration to a DOJ consent decree could very well lead to a massive exodus of police officers — at a time when the police force in Phoenix is already severely understaffed (approximately 500 officers short, according to recent reports),” reads the letter to Gallego in part.
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has also weighed-in on the possibility of DOJ involvement.
“MCSO has been under a consent decree since 2015 and is required to run every decision through their court ordered monitor — who, by the way, hasn’t been to their $8,000 a month office, paid for by the Maricopa County taxpayers, in more than three years,” said Mitchell in explaining why she is “not about to give the Justice Department control of Phoenix Police,” said Mitchell referring to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in a recent opinion piece.