Thursday, September 8, 2011

USDOJ Reported Constitutional And Federal Law Violations By Puerto Rican Police Department

The USDOJ report calls for immediate transparency, policy reform and accountability of the Puerto Rican Police Department for Constitutional violations.

By H. Nelson Goodson
September 8, 2011

Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division (CRD) report cited reasonable cause to believe the Puerto Rican Police Department (PRPD) engaged in a pattern and practice of Constitutional, federal law and free speech violations, including using unreasonable excessive force, discrimination against Dominicans, unconstitutional stops, arrests and warrantless searches. The federal investigation discovered that the PRPD also engaged in gross misconduct on routine operations, using excessive force during student protests and frequently failed to properly investigate and document sex crimes and incidents of domestic violence. The PRPD engaged in discriminatory policing practices that targeted individuals of Dominican descent. At this time, the division has not made a formal finding of a pattern and practice violation in these areas, in part because PRPD does not adequately collect data to evaluate these issues, the report found.
The DOJ Civil Rights Division probe was launched in July 2008, and was conducted in accordance with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.
The Justice Department found a number of long-standing and entrenched systemic deficiencies that caused or contributed to these patterns of unlawful conduct, including:

  • A failure of PRPD to implement policies to guide officers on lawful policing practices, including the application of force;
  • Tactical units that have been permitted to develop violent subculture;
  • Insufficient pre-service and in-service training;
  • Inadequate supervision;
  • Ineffective systems of complaint intake, investigation and adjudication;
  • An ineffective disciplinary system;
  • Limited risk management; and
  • A lack of external oversight and accountability.

The report called for immediate transparency, long lasting policy and protocals reform and to train its officers in effective and constitutional policing in the PRPD. The DOJ will seek a court order to enforce an agreement to reform.
In adddition, PRPD must implement systems to ensure accountability, foster police-community partnerships, improve the quality of policing throughout the commonwealth and eliminate unlawful bias from all levels of policing decisions.
The department will seek to obtain a court enforceable agreement and will work with PRPD, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the community to develop and implement a comprehensive reform plan with the judicial oversight needed to address the violations of the Constitution and federal law, according to the DOJ CRD report.

The executive summary and full report in both English and Spanish versions can be found at

Connected by MOTOBLUR™ on T-Mobile

No comments: