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US Justice Department Opens ’Pattern and Practice’ Probe Of Phoenix Police

US Justice Department Opens ’Pattern and Practice’ Probe Of Phoenix Police
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By Staff, Agencies

The US Justice Department on Thursday announced an investigation into policing in Phoenix, Arizona focused on overuse of force, discrimination and abuse of homeless people and those with mental health issues.

It is the third "pattern and practice" investigation into the police of a major US city launched by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

"This investigation will assess all types of use of force by… officers, including deadly force," the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to Phoenix media, of the last several years, the rate of police use of force was higher in the city than most other major urban areas.

In addition, Black Americans were the subjects of a high number of use-of-force incidents.

"Pattern and practice" investigations can lead to the Justice Department and the city reaching a consent decree that legally requires the locality to implement specific reforms on a clear timeline.

If a consent decree is not reached, the Justice Department can take the city or its police department to court.

Garland said the city police chief and mayor had welcomed the probe, adding that one of the focuses of the Phoenix probe is on police treatment of people with mental and social problems.

"Our society is straining the policing profession by turning to law enforcement to address a wide array of social problems," he said.

Police are often the first to be called to deal with a homeless person having a mental health crisis, he noted.

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