Justice Department Determines Puerto Rico Police Department Corrupt, Which…D'uh.

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UPDATE: The Department of Justice has published the press release on their website, as well as the executive summary and findings letter, each in both English and Spanish.


According to an article published in this morning’s New York Times, the United States Justice Department has released a “blistering” 116 page report that accuses the (who knew?) second largest police force in the country, the PRPD, of entrenched, systematic corruption, calling it “broken in a number of critical and fundamental respects.” Charlie Savage and Lizette Alvarez of the times write:

In a 116-page report that officials intend to make public Thursday, the civil rights division of the Justice Department accused the Puerto Rico Police Department of systematically “using force, including deadly force, when no force or lesser force was called for,” unnecessarily injuring hundreds of people and killing “numerous others.”

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, says the 17,000-officer force routinely conducts illegal searches and seizures without warrants. It accuses the force of a pattern of attacking nonviolent protesters and journalists in a manner “designed to suppress the exercise of protected First Amendment rights.”

Also problematic: discrimination against people of Dominican descent, and failure to adequately police sexual abuse and domestic violence. 61 PRPD officers were arrested in an FBI sting last October – the largest police corruption operation in FBI history.

We all knew that the police in Puerto Rico were corrupt, but the extent of it is truly shocking. It’s a must-read article, and we hope the report goes public. Read the original article here, and kudos to the reporters on the following: “The report is likely to intensify a sense of distress among the nearly four million American citizens who live on Puerto Rico, where violent crime has spilled into well-to-do areas.” Puerto Rico’s total population is nearly four million.

See what they did there?

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to give the Federal government a reminder.