The Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) newly announced an investigation of Arizona’s capital city of Phoenix as well as its police department never specifically mentions the years-long allegations of racism leveled against both by its Black residents.
Instead, the “civil pattern or practice investigation” will include among its tasks to determine whether the Phoenix Police Department “engages in discriminatory policing,” a vague, all-inclusive phrase that was only mentioned twice in the DOJ’s press release and just once by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during the press conference announcing the investigation on Thursday.
Considering the nature of a growing number of the complaints over the years about the Phoenix Police Department center on race, not using a single variation of the word “racism” could be seen as a curious omission at best. At worst, it could be seen as an effort to downplay the role race has undeniably played in the Phoenix Police Department.
Phoenix is the third such investigation launched by the DOJ, including those in Minneapolis and Louisville that were prompted in part by racial tensions.
The DOJ Investigation in Phoenix
Specifically, the investigation will focus on the department’s use of force, whether officers employ “retaliatory activity,” use “discriminatory policing” and how the department “seizes or disposes of the belongings of individuals experiencing homelessness.”
The “discriminatory policing” part could refer to the investigation’s planned attention to the Phoenix Police Department’s “systems and practices for responding to people with disabilities,” as specifically addressed in the press release.
“The investigation will include a comprehensive review of PhxPD policies, training, supervision, and force investigations, as well as PhxPD’s systems of accountability, including misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline,” the press release added.
But there was never one single direct reference to race, the very topic that has spawned a global reckoning following the high-profile police murder of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis.
What DOJ officials are saying
In announcing the investigation, Garland made one single reference to the DOJ checking “whether the Phoenix Police Department engages in discriminatory policing practices that violate the Constitution and federal law.”
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke during her speech on Thursday announcing the investigation never used a variation of the word “discrimination” or “racism” once. Considering that Clarke has been hailed as someone “dedicated to anti-racism and anti-hate,” the omission of the mention may have been intentional.
The Phoenix Police Department’s Culture Of Racism And Corruption
When specifically addressing the Phoenix Police Department, it’s nearly impossible to leave race out of the equation.
Yes, there are other issues with the department besides race. Namely, the fact that the department is fresh off of “a record-breaking year in which Phoenix officers shot at people more than any other police agency in the nation,” as reported by AZ Central. But, the publication also noted that “Black and Native American people were disproportionately shot when compared with their population numbers in the city.”
NewsOne has been following the trends of the Phoenix Police Department in recent years and a pattern of anti-Black behavior is more than apparent.
That includes the violent arrest of a Black family with young children that was captured on a video that showed they had their lives threatened the nonviolent allegation of a doll being stolen by a young girl from a store.
Dravon Ames was with his pregnant fiancée and their two small children when they were approached by numerous aggressive police officers in an apartment complex parking lot in Phoenix.
The video shows Ames and his family complying with police, with one officer yelling expletives hysterically while threatening to shoot them all.
“You’re gonna fucking get shot!” the cop yells at one point.
“I’m gonna put a fucking cap in your fucking head,” he said in another instance.
A database was released that same year and outed racist Facebook posts made by police officers around the country, many of whom were with the force in Phoenix.
More recently, renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump in March filed a racial profiling lawsuit against AMC Theaters for falsely accusing a Black moviegoer of sneaking into a movie without paying in Phoenix. Larry Shelton recorded his 2019 encounter with theater staff that falsely accused him as well as officers with the Phoenix Police Department.
Unbeknownst to Shelton, the manager called the police, who entered the theater to escort him out.
That’s when Shelton was forced to “fight against the presumption of guilt,” as Crump put it, just to prove his innocence despite the absence of any proof or evidence of any wrongdoing.
After the police asked, Shelton produced his ticket stub, which was reluctantly verified by the theater manager, who is white.
But the manager, who previously said he was “100% sure” Shelton sneaked in, still said Shelton had to leave and had the police escort him off the premises even though no crime was committed.
There is obvious institutional support for the Phoenix Police Department, as evidenced by a city councilman who defended the cops who threatened to shoot and kill Ames and his family over a doll that was not ever actually stolen. Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio called people protesting Ames’ police encounter “anarchists” who “are out to destroy the city.”
Over the years there have also been instances where officers have killed a man and his dog for no reason, committed perjury, staged traffic stops to steal money from drug dealers, body-slammed a 15-year-old girl against a wall and much more. Most of those instances did not involve the use of bodycams.
Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country. Its police department tried a pilot program in 2013 and dispatched only 300 cameras, but it never expanded. There were also standstills with bidding as they tried to figure out who would be the provider. In 2019, the city council finally approved a $5 million budget to fund 2,000 body cameras and Mayor Kate Gallego claimed the city would have the cameras distributed by the end of the summer. According to AZ Central, community officers who assist with block watches, community groups and neighborhood enforcement teams would not wear cameras.
All of the above and more happened on the watch of Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, a Black woman.
This is America.
117 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Antwan Gilmore
1 of 116
This is 27 year old Antwan Gilmore. He was killed YESTERDAY by DC police. The cop found him asleep in his car, tapped on the window, and immediately fired multiple shots and killed him. pic.twitter.com/cYUgNuR47m— Olayemi Olurin (@msolurin) August 27, 2021
2. Robert Anderson, 38
2 of 116
38 YEAR OLD DETROIT BLACK MAN SHOT IN BACK 8X AND KILLED IN CRESCENT CITY CA. OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING?— JudiWoolworthDonahue (@Gldneaple) August 27, 2021
38YR OLD ROBERT ANDERSON FROM DETROIT, MICHIGAN.
Man killed in officer-involved shooting #newsroom #community #news #ca…https://t.co/6O4kSFS7il https://t.co/ujKUbfxHzX
3. Tory Brown, 22
3 of 116
#BlackLivesMatter: 22-year-old Tory Brown was gunned down by officers who said he had a warrant out of Clayton County for violation of probation, and that he refused to comply.https://t.co/l5SWDJqQcl pic.twitter.com/ccoimuy9W9— NewsOne (@newsone) August 25, 2021
4. Ryan LeRoux, 21
4 of 116
he was only 21 years old, he refused to leave a parking lot and they shot him 24 times. his name was ryan leroux, we need to get him justice. pic.twitter.com/0C63gketSS— quinn (@irlquinn) July 21, 2021
5. Leneal Frazier, 40Source:Getty 5 of 116
6. Demetrius Stanley, 31
6 of 116
Demetrius Stanley was murdered by plain clothes police officers two nights ago. They came in an unmarked van and were stalking the outside of Demetrius’ family home. He went outside to check and they shot him from inside their car. They never ID themselves. #ripmeech#blackpower pic.twitter.com/qYL1GHNsho— B.L.A.C.K. Outreach (@blackoutreachsj) June 2, 2021
7. Ashton Pinke, 27
7 of 116
27-year old Ashton Pinke was shot-and-killed by Mesquite Police Department officers, today. Investigators report he charged with a “knife and a club” following a 911 hang-up call by a screaming woman. Family members question the report. Our full story airs on @FOX4 at 9/10. pic.twitter.com/SD2AAK76p3— David Sentendrey (@DavidSFOX4) May 5, 2021
8. Andrew Brown, 42
8 of 116
BREAKING: The man fatally shot by a deputy today in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, was Andrew Brown.— WAVY TV 10 (@WAVY_News) April 21, 2021
Deputies were serving a search warrant when Brown was shot while driving away, witnesses say.
Neighbors say they heard anywhere from 6 to 8 shots. https://t.co/w7dyIQ5zdX
9. Matthew Williams, 35
9 of 116
At 5 @wsbtv: the family of 35 year old Matthew Williams are demanding that body camera footage of his shooting death be released. Dekalb police shot & killed Williams at his home Monday. They say he lunged at officers with a knife. Family say he was running away from officers pic.twitter.com/Ky4ssoYTFp— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) April 14, 2021
10. Daunte Wright, 20Source:Twitter/@MeritLaw 10 of 116
11. Marvin D. Scott III, 26Source:GoFundMe 11 of 116
12. Kurt Reinhold, 42Source:Getty 12 of 116
13. McHale Rose, 19
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JUSTICE FOR MCHALE ROSE!— Hustle House (@hustlehousellc) August 6, 2020
Mchale was killed by 4 officers within hours of the killing of Dreasjon Reed. Because of this, his story has gotten clouded and we need awareness! Mchale was a personal friend of mine and the sweetest boy ever. He & his family deserve justice! pic.twitter.com/SutjQn4fjy
14. Xzavier Hill, 18
Source:Change.org 14 of 116
Xzavier Hill's family deserves justice. Virginia laws do not require the VSP to release footage, nor to wear body cameras. He was 18, and his whole life was ahead of him.— melanie (@smellllanie) January 19, 2021
NAACP: Justice For Xzavier - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/a30fgNP9mk via @Change
15. Frederick Cox, 18Source:Facebook/Tenicka Shannon 15 of 116
16. Patrick Warren Sr.Source:Patrick Warren Jr. 16 of 116
17. Carl Dorsey III, 39
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Man shot to death in Police involved shooting in Newark is identified as 39 year old Carl Dorsey III. https://t.co/hdtmb6w0Il— The Tornado News (@TheTornadoNews) January 6, 2021
18. Dolal Idd, 23Source:GoFundMe 18 of 116
19. Andre' Hill, 47
19 of 116
An attorney who has represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor says he is now working for the family of Andre' Hill, the man killed by a Columbus police officer early Tuesday.https://t.co/9yXaqYKHfu— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) December 24, 2020
20. Joshua Feast
20 of 116
Joshua Feast was fatally shot in the BACK by La Marque PD officer Jose Santos as he was running away, posing no threat. Witnesses report Santos refused to render aid to Joshua after shooting him AND then kicked his body, already debilitated by the bullet. #JusticeForJoshuaFeast pic.twitter.com/zO46PCsGzO— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 12, 2020
21. Maurice GordonSource:Mercury LLC 21 of 116
22. Casey Goodson Jr.Source:Walton + Brown, LLP 22 of 116
23. Rodney ApplewhiteSource:Ben Crump 23 of 116
24. A.J. Crooms
24 of 116
A Florida sheriff's officer shot and killed two Black teens, A.J. Crooms and Sincere Pierce.— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 19, 2020
Here's what we know so far: pic.twitter.com/A8FRNS93L6
25. Sincere Pierce
25 of 116
MOTHER SPEAKS: Cynthia Green of #Cocoa speaks out about her son 18 yr old Sincere Pierce, shot and killed in deputy involved double shooting last Friday. Says she isn’t getting answers and still hasn’t seen her son’s body. @MyNews13 #News13Brevard pic.twitter.com/hYFxZEOqz6— Greg Pallone (@gpallone13) November 17, 2020
26. Walter Wallace Jr.26 of 116
27. Marcellis Stinnette, teen killed by police in Waukegan, IllinoisSource:Twitter 27 of 116
28. Jonathan Price
28 of 116
The Texas police officer who fatally shot Jonathan Price has been arrested and charged with murder. His bail has been set at 1 million dollars. I'm glad. RIP Jonathan, rest in power. pic.twitter.com/Mw5GMQX0Eb— ~𝓣𝓮𝓷𝓪𝓬𝓲𝓸𝓾𝓼 𝓣𝓮𝓪𝓱~ (@TeahCartel) October 6, 2020
29. Deon Kay29 of 116
30. Daniel Prude
30 of 116
The killing of Daniel Prude by Rochester police officers is unacceptable, and we need real answers for why this happened and why it took so long to come out.— Jeremy Cooney (@JeremyCooneyROC) September 2, 2020
Trained medical professionals should respond to mental health crises, not armed officers. pic.twitter.com/EPhH9inn1x
31. Damian Daniels
31 of 116
Yesterday in SA cops killed Sergeant Damian Lamar Daniels in front of his home. His family asked the Red Cross to get him to the VA.— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) August 27, 2020
He had a legal gun on his hip that he never removed. He didn’t want to go and he struggled when they tried to force him.
So they killed him. pic.twitter.com/q6U7OSXb6D
32. Dijon Kizzee
32 of 116
This is #DijonKizzee, 29 yrs old and shot and killed by LA Sheriffs after being stopped for a bike violation. Cops handcuffed his lifeless body. While police investigations can drag on for months/years, cops have already claimed he ran away, and dropped clothes and a gun. #BLM pic.twitter.com/pM6mQfWLeQ— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 1, 2020
33. Trayford PellerinSource:GoFundMe 33 of 116
34. David McAtee
34 of 116
in an attempt to disperse crowds, #DavidMcAtee, a louisville bbq chef known for serving cops free meals, was shot and killed by the police last night. he was unarmed. not only were the officers’ bodycams off, but they also left his body on the street for 12 hours.— adaliah 🇹🇬 (@adxlls) June 2, 2020
say his name. pic.twitter.com/kqOPku8iuQ
35. Natosha “Tony” McDade35 of 116
36. George Floyd36 of 116
37. Yassin Mohamed37 of 116
38. Finan H. Berhe
38 of 116
Montgomery County Police Tweet Video Of Cop Shooting Finan H. Berhe In Maryland https://t.co/HzNV24ZpZB— World Congress 🌎 On Faith & Justice (@JMcCorrySpeaks) May 9, 2020
39. Sean ReedSource:Twitter 39 of 116
40. Steven Demarco TaylorSource:S. Lee Merritt 40 of 116
41. Ariane McCreeSource:The Herald/YouTube 41 of 116
42. Terrance Franklin42 of 116
43. Miles HallSource:KRON4 43 of 116
44. Darius TarverSource:S. Lee Merritt 44 of 116
45. William Green
45 of 116
They murdered my cousin. How do you have someone in handcuffs and in a seat belt and shoot them multilpe times.All cops aren't bad but those were. I will fight with the last breath in me for justice. William Green was a family man, a working man. Funny. Loving. Love and miss you. pic.twitter.com/PhM3a6C7uj— Liv 👸🏾 (@liv__03) January 28, 2020
46. Samuel David Mallard, 19
46 of 116
This is a 2019 mugshot of the murder suspect Cobb police shot & killed today. Samuel Mallard, 19, was previously arrested for impersonating officers a half dozen times. In the 2020 case, the GBI says he’s involved in a murder/robbery. CCPD says there are other suspects. @wsbtv https://t.co/7EfuVQLmNB pic.twitter.com/ttWg5HjFkj— Chris Jose (@ChrisJoseWSB) January 17, 2020
47. Kwame "KK" Jones, 17Source:facebook 47 of 116
48. De’von Bailey, 19
48 of 116
Grand jury rules fatal officers' shooting of Devon Bailey was justified. https://t.co/MHXYQn87aH— Scott Kilbury (@SKilburyFOX21) November 14, 2019
49. Christopher Whitfield, 3149 of 116
50. Anthony Hill, 2650 of 116
51. De'Von Bailey, 1951 of 116
52. Eric Logan, 54
52 of 116
BREAKING NEWS OUT OF SOUTH BEND:— Joshua Short (@JoshuaShortTV) June 27, 2019
Two lawyers representing the estate of 54-year-old Eric Logan, who was shot and killed by a South Bend police officer, have sued that officer, Sgt. Ryan O'Neill and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The suit was filed in federal court today.
(READ THREAD) pic.twitter.com/frOpKFQIAV
53. Jamarion Robinson, 2653 of 116
54. Gregory Hill Jr., 30
54 of 116
Gregory Hill, Jr. - the family of Greg Hill grants permission to use these photos to honor Greg or tell his story. pic.twitter.com/uhn1RbEQBv— John M. Phillips (@JohnPhillips) June 1, 2018
55. JaQuavion Slaton, 20
55 of 116
This is Jaquavion Slaton, the 20-year-old who was was shot & killed by Fort Worth Police on Sunday. Community demanding release of body camera video, but FWPD hasn’t said when/if that will happen. #WFAA pic.twitter.com/iakQyWrRCl— Teresa Woodard (@twoodard8) June 10, 2019
56. Ryan Twyman, 2456 of 116
57. Brandon Webber, 2057 of 116
58. Jimmy Atchison, 21
58 of 116
59. Willie McCoy, 20
59 of 116
One of six officers who fired at Willie McCoy had killed unarmed man in 2018 || Via: Guardian https://t.co/CjrSIa8r1Z— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) February 23, 2019
60. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2160 of 116
61. D’ettrick Griffin, 1861 of 116
62. Jemel Roberson, 26
Source:false 62 of 116
Security guard Jemel Roberson was holding down a shooting suspect when police burst in and shot Roberson instead. pic.twitter.com/zNsYvQMRg8— HuffPost (@HuffPost) November 14, 2018
63. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 63 of 116
64. Botham Shem Jean, 26
Source:false 64 of 116
The young man who was killed by a Dallas police officer in his own apartment this morning has been identified as 26-year-old Botham Jean. He worked at the PwC firm in Downtown Dallas. https://t.co/oyjHMdMXVv pic.twitter.com/uSvJWJ062e— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) September 7, 2018
65. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 65 of 116
66. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 66 of 116
67. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 67 of 116
68. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 68 of 116
69. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 69 of 116
70. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 70 of 116
71. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 71 of 116
72. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 72 of 116
73. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 73 of 116
74. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 74 of 116
75. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 75 of 116
76. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 76 of 116
77. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 77 of 116
78. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 78 of 116
79. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 79 of 116
80. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 80 of 116
81. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 81 of 116
82. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 82 of 116
83. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 83 of 116
84. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 84 of 116
85. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 85 of 116
86. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 86 of 116
87. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 87 of 116
88. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 88 of 116
89. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 89 of 116
90. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 90 of 116
91. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 91 of 116
92. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 92 of 116
93. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 93 of 116
94. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 94 of 116
95. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 95 of 116
96. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 96 of 116
97. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 97 of 116
98. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 98 of 116
99. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 99 of 116
100. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 100 of 116
101. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 101 of 116
102. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 102 of 116
103. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 103 of 116
104. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 104 of 116
105. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 105 of 116
106. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 106 of 116
107. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 107 of 116
108. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 108 of 116
109. Danny Ray Thomas, 34
Source:false 109 of 116
110. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 110 of 116
111. Patrick Harmon, 50
111 of 116
Patrick Harmon was shot and killed by police in Salt Lake City, Utah. The district attorney says the shooting was "legally justified." pic.twitter.com/zYBOwlTzRb— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 7, 2017
112. Jonathan Hart, 21
112 of 116
Friends and family of Jonathan Heart aka Sky Young, a young #homeless man killed last Sunday at a Walgreens in #Hollywood for allegedly shoplifting, gather tonight to remember the 20-year-old. pic.twitter.com/uiMRiFnutq— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) December 9, 2018
113. Maurice Granton, 24
113 of 116
Dash cam footage of police killing Maurice Granton Jr. has been released. His family says it proves that he was unarmed pic.twitter.com/YLAM7my1ny— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 26, 2018
114. Julius Johnson, 23
114 of 116
115. Jamee Johnson, 22Source:S. Lee Merritt 115 of 116
116. Michael Dean, 28Source:S. Lee Merritt 116 of 116
DOJ’s Investigation Of Phoenix Police Doesn’t Specifically Mention Department’s History Of Racism was originally published on newsone.com