The Justice Department on Thursday announced a civil rights investigation into the Phoenix police department’s use of force and its policies on dealing with homeless residents — the third federal probe of a local law enforcement agency launched since President Biden took office.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the pattern and practice investigation will seek to determine whether the Phoenix police engaged in excessive force or discriminatory behavior. He emphasized that investigators also will examine how the police department has treated residents with mental and physical disabilities and whether the agency unlawfully has disposed of the belongings of homeless residents, the Washington Post reports.
Phoenix leaders said they welcomed the federal intervention.
“The recommendations that will result from this review will assist us in our ongoing efforts to become an even safer, stronger, more equitable city,” Mayor Kate Gallego (D) said in a statement.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said her department has already engaged in reform efforts and would cooperate with Justice officials.