FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES AGREEMENT WITH BUFFALO POLICE DEPARTMENT TO RESOLVE POLICE MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a memorandum of agreement with the city of Buffalo, New York to resolve its investigation into the Buffalo Police Department's use of chemical spray.
The agreement has been signed by the Justice Department, the city, the Buffalo Police Department (BPD), the Police Benevolent Association and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 264.
"We are pleased to announce this historic agreement between the Justice Department, city officials, and the management and labor unions of the Buffalo Police Department," said Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd, Jr. "All parties worked together and collaborated to reach an agreement that protects everyone's constitutional rights without compromising effective law enforcement by the BPD and its officers."
As a result of the agreement, the city of Buffalo and BPD will make changes in the following areas, many of which are already underway:
•fully implement new policies on the use of chemical spray;
•revise general "use of force" policies and procedures for reporting of all uses of force;
•improve supervisory review and management response to all uses of force;
•augment training of BPD officers in use of force and related areas;
•improve the handling of police misconduct complaints and expand BPD's Professional Standards Division; and
•implement procedures that ensure comprehensive investigations into citizen complaints of police brutality and other serious misconduct.
The parties will jointly select an independent reviewer who will monitor the agreement's requirements regarding training, policies and investigation of BPD officers' use of chemical irritant spray. The reviewer will issue regular public reports regarding BPD's progress in implementing these measures.
Under the 1994 Crime Bill, the Justice Department has the authority to conduct investigations and file civil suits against law enforcement agencies that engage in a pattern or practice of misconduct.
Today's agreement is the ninth settlement under the 1994 Crime Bill. Other settlements entered during the Bush Administration include the Cincinnati Police Department, the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, the Highland Park, Illinois Police Department, and the Columbus, Ohio Police Department.
The Justice Department continues to monitor settlements covering the Los Angeles Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the Steubenville, Ohio Police Department, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
For more information on the Justice Department's enforcement efforts, see www.usdoj.gov/crt/split.