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Investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department - Civil Rights (Findings Letter Full) (Sept. 2011)

Investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department - Civil Rights (Findings Letter Full) (Sept. 2011)

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Investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (Findings Letter)
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
September 5, 2011



This report contains the findings of the Civil Rights Division’s pattern and practice
investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (“PRPD”). The investigation was conducted
pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141,
and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d. Section
14141 permits the Attorney General, acting on behalf of the United States, to initiate civil actions
against state and local governments to remedy a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives
persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and federal
law. The Safe Streets Act, together with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000d to 2000d-7, prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin
by state or local criminal justice agencies receiving federal funding.

Attorneys and staff from the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section conducted
the investigation alongside law enforcement professionals, whose expertise informed our
understanding. These professionals – former police chiefs and supervisors – provided us with indepth knowledge about how to detect and respond to law enforcement challenges.

We gathered information through many interviews and meetings with PRPD officers,
supervisors, and command staff, as well as members of the public, Commonwealth officials, and
other community stakeholders. We interviewed officers from all ranks at PRPD headquarters
and ten police areas: San Juan, Carolina, Bayamón, Fajardo, Humacao, Caguas, Ponce,
Guayama, Mayagüez, and Aguadilla. We also participated in ride-alongs with officers and
supervisors. Our investigation included on- and off-site review of documents, including policies
and procedures, incident reports, internal investigation files, disciplinary index cards maintained
by PRPD’s Legal Affairs Office, external audit reports, and legislative materials.
Investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (Findings Letter)
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
September 5, 2011



This report contains the findings of the Civil Rights Division’s pattern and practice
investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (“PRPD”). The investigation was conducted
pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141,
and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d. Section
14141 permits the Attorney General, acting on behalf of the United States, to initiate civil actions
against state and local governments to remedy a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives
persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and federal
law. The Safe Streets Act, together with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000d to 2000d-7, prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin
by state or local criminal justice agencies receiving federal funding.

Attorneys and staff from the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section conducted
the investigation alongside law enforcement professionals, whose expertise informed our
understanding. These professionals – former police chiefs and supervisors – provided us with indepth knowledge about how to detect and respond to law enforcement challenges.

We gathered information through many interviews and meetings with PRPD officers,
supervisors, and command staff, as well as members of the public, Commonwealth officials, and
other community stakeholders. We interviewed officers from all ranks at PRPD headquarters
and ten police areas: San Juan, Carolina, Bayamón, Fajardo, Humacao, Caguas, Ponce,
Guayama, Mayagüez, and Aguadilla. We also participated in ride-alongs with officers and
supervisors. Our investigation included on- and off-site review of documents, including policies
and procedures, incident reports, internal investigation files, disciplinary index cards maintained
by PRPD’s Legal Affairs Office, external audit reports, and legislative materials.

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Published by: Giovanni Figueroa Rodriguez on Sep 08, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain

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10/03/2013

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Investigation of the
Puerto Rico Police Department
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
September 5, 2011
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.
Officers Use Unreasonable Force to Suppress the Exercise of Protected
3.
Deficiencies Causing and Contributing to the Pattern and Practice of Excessive
1.
Officers Conduct Searches and Seizures in Violation of the
2.
Systemic Deficiencies Causing and Contributing to the Pattern and Practice of 
2.
PRPD’s Failure to Address Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault .................... 57
IV. ADDITIONAL DEFICIENCIES CAUSING THE PATTERN AND PRACTICE OF
C.
Inadequate Supervision ..................................................................................................... 67
 
 
2. Complaint Investigations Routinely Take Years To Complete ............................ 70
3. Procedures and Protocols Are Insufficient To Ensure Proper Investigations ....... 74
2.
Supervisors Lack Authority and Training To Correct Even Minor Infractions of 
5.
Protections Against Self-Incrimination Are Offered in Administrative
Appendix B: Relevant Correspondence……………………………………………..A-10
2

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