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Police Misconduct in Arizona

May 8, 2019 | Police Misconduct

Over 1,200 Arizona Officers Decertified since 1975

It’s not particularly unusual these days to find a police officer (local, county or state) facing allegations of abuse or in some cases other criminal charges. Usually the news involves claims that a civilian was mistreated, i.e., beaten, by the cops. But police misconduct ranges far beyond simply physical abuse of citizens, and a recent compilation by USA Today shows the extent of the problem, both in terms of the number of police officers decertified – more than 1,200 – and the range of offenses that led to the decertifications since the mid-1970’s.

Some of the reasons for the decertifications are not surprising. For example, the researchers looked at almost 23,000 investigations of excessive force. Others, however, may come as a surprise, for example thousands of investigations of rape and sexual misconduct by officers.

Reasons for Decertification

We thought it appropriate to list for you some of the offenses leading to cops being thrown off the force during the period in question. They include:

  • Excessive force.
  • Tampering with evidence.
  • Dishonesty/false statements.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Voyeurism.
  • Theft of money used in investigations.
  • Fraud.
  • Having sex with suspect while on duty.
  • Aggravated assault.
  • Off-duty DUI.
  • Submission of false payroll time sheets.
  • Witness tampering.
  • Providing firearm to prohibited possessor.
  • Failure to report child prostitution.
  • Child molestation.
  • Malfeasance/nonfeasance of duty.
  • Civil rights violation.
  • Intoxication on duty.
  • Theft of a firearm.
  • Striking a handcuffed prisoner.
  • Child pornography.
  • Unemployment insurance fraud.
  • Forgery.
  • Stalking.
  • Aggravated DUI.
  • Theft of evidence (drugs).
  • Domestic violence.
  • Unlawfully accessing criminal records.
  • Drug trafficking.
  • Burglary.

We’ve listed some, though not nearly all, of the bases on which these officers were fired. The upshot is that the offenses cover most of the crimes committed – or allegedly committed – by the population in general.

On the other hand, certain claims seem to stand out, in terms of their frequency on the list. Again, some are expected – theft, fraud, false statements. Others, however, are shocking in the number of instances in which they appear. These include sexual contact with a minor (around 60 cases); sexual assault (over a dozen cases); fraud (hundreds of cases); alcohol related matters (hundreds of cases); dishonesty (over 400 cases); assault (almost 300 cases); and malfeasance/misfeasance/nonfeasance (i.e., failure to do your job) (almost 1,000 cases).

These are actually some pretty scary statistics. And these cases represent only the cases brought to the attention of supervisors who then took steps to initiate an investigation, and in which the investigation led to the officer’s dismissal.

Law Offices of David A. Black
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Phoenix, AZ 85004
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