Holding Police Accountable. As the next in our eight-part of our series on criminal justice, Hava welcomes attorney Julie Gunnigle to discuss the DOJ investigation of the Phoenix Police Department and a variety of other civil rights issues.
Gunnigle begins by noting, “The story of this investigation goes back years because Phoenix Police Department and some of those in the outlying areas have been some of the most violent in the nation. That violence hasn’t been met with any kind of accountability within our prosecutor’s office. But that was just one of 5 different issues that made the DOJ step into our county.”
She says the other issues included charging protesters with criminal gang enhancements for exercising their first amendment rights, ongoing issues with respect to our unhoused population and those experiencing mental health incidents, and the 2017 death of Muhammed Muhayim who died in the same way as George Floyd. “It’s been shameful, and I think it really show that police are unable to police police and, for that reason, you have to have the feds step in,” says Gunnigle. “Now I’m not really optimistic as to what happens next. But it is a step, and it speaks to exactly how urgent and dire the situation in Arizona is.”
On the other hand, one issue that does give Gunnigle hope is the HR4 John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill to restore parts of the voting rights act gutted by SCOTUS. Congress is expected to vote on the bill this week.