Coalition Calls for Federal investigation into Detroit Police Use of Excessive Force

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The Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability is calling for renewed federal oversight of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) based on a 25 percent rise in incidents of excessive force in the last two years. The CPTA presented data compiled from news reports and public records into a 15-page letter to U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. They requested a federal investigation into the DPD as local and state avenues have proven incapable or unwilling to challenge disturbing patterns of increased police violence. The CPTA relied on public sources because the DPD does not provide a comprehensive record of its use of force and the consequences this has in the lives of people.

The CPTA noted that, ironically, the rise in police use of excessive force began in 2020 with the daily marches against police violence in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others. 

The report explains:

The entire spectrum of police conduct in Detroit, from the hundreds of grievances filed by citizens to the illegal stops and other harassment of African Americans, to killings of African American people that some would characterize as outright murder, is a record of oppression meted out daily and as a matter of course. No community must be expected to endure such ongoing, systematic violence. Police practices of this kind have been characterized as genocidal by multiple independent investigative agencies both domestic and international.

The report documented:

  • 24% increase in complaints of use of excessive force since 2020.
  • 75% increase in complaints of excessive handcuffing.
  • A backlog of 780 citizen complaints
  • disturbing and concerning frequency of the police department use of deadly force.

The coalition concludes: 

In various ways, citizens are promised that government will account for its bad acts, errors and omissions. To facilitate accountability, structures, policies, and procedures have been presumably established for the receipt and processing of citizen complaints with an expectation that the issues raised will be effectively addressed. CPTA has scrupulously directed its concerns and requests to government actors and agencies in Michigan charged with addressing the issues regarding policing that the coalition has raised. Nevertheless, there has been no meaningful, effective response, leaving CPTA with the sole remaining option of requesting federal intervention. Thus, it is respectfully requested that Department of Justice officials investigate not only the ongoing police killings, escalating violence, and racial discrimination perpetrated by and within the Detroit Police Department, but also the institutional culture that inspires and sustains such misconduct.

The full report can be read here: .