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Office of City of Phoenix's District 1

Phoenix Councilwoman Ann O'Brien's Statement on the DOJ Investigation

Phoenix has been transparent and collaborative, now it's time for the DOJ to do the same.

In a response to two letters sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ) via the City’s outside counsel, and likely as a result of my op-ed and last week’s AZCentral article, the DOJ has doubled down on their refusal to provide the City sufficient time to review the findings before forcing us to commit to an agreement in principle (AIP).

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division told us in a November 29th letter, “In certain circumstances, we may decide to provide a short time for jurisdictions to read the findings report prior to public release – for example, where those jurisdictions commit to an agreement in principle to enter into a consent decree with an independent monitor.”

In the past, the “short time” given to jurisdictions who sign an AIP has been 24-48 hours to review, research, and respond back. I am uncertain about how this speaks to the transparency and collaboration the DOJ prides itself on.

As a reminder, the City of Phoenix has opened its doors to the DOJ, knowing we have nothing to hide. We have turned over more than 179,000 documents, 20 terabytes of data, over 22,115 body-worn camera videos, and 220 recordings of 911 calls. We have coordinated more than 200 hours of ride-alongs, 130 interviews with police department and city staff, and allowed our Police Chief and City Manager to be interviewed by the DOJ. We have been transparent and collaborative.

Something AAG Clarke agrees per her letter, stating “The [DOJ] appreciates the cooperation with our investigation . . . we have received from city and police department officials.”

But now, when the DOJ is asked to be transparent and collaborative, Assistant Attorney General Clark says, “it is not our practice to provide such pre-release access” and “[w]e do not plan to change our practices regarding any findings report.”

It’s clear the DOJ’s only end game is for all jurisdictions it investigates to enter into a consent decree. In fact, the agreement in principle Louisville committed to and the agreement in principle Minneapolis committed to are word for word – minus the paragraphs related directly to the accusations for each city.

I remain steadfast in my statement that I will sign no documents without first getting to review, research, and respond back to the findings report. 24 to 48 hours is not an adequate amount of time to review – which is why I’m asking for a minimum of 30 days.

Phoenix has been transparent and collaborative, now it’s time for the DOJ to do the same.

Media Contact: Derrik Rochwalik, Councilwoman O'Brien's Chief of Staff, derrik.rochwalik@phoenix.gov, call or text (480)202-7347

About District 1
District 1 is located in northwest Phoenix. The southern boundary is Northern Avenue and the northern boundary is just north of New River Road. The district shares a boundary to the west with the cities of Glendale and Peoria, and the eastern boundary aligns with the I-17 Freeway. At Bell Road, the district extends east to 19th Avenue and incorporates the Deer Valley Airport north of the Loop 101 Freeway. Councilwoman Ann O’Brien was elected in November 2020 and took office April 2021. Her primary issue focus areas are public safety with an emphasis on supporting law enforcement, redevelopment of Metrocenter mall area in her district, roads and transportation, and education. For more information, please visit Phoenix.gov/District1.


This email was sent by Office of Councilwoman Ann O'Brien at 200 W. Washington Street • Phoenix, Arizona 85003.

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