United States v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico


On September 8, 2011, the Civil Rights Division announced the findings of its comprehensive investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD). PRPD consists of approximately 17,000 sworn police officers and is the second largest local law enforcement agency in the county. The investigation was conducted pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, we found that PRPD officers engage in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, use of unreasonable force against individuals exercising their First Amendment rights, and unconstitutional searches and seizures. We also uncovered other deficiencies of serious concern. These include troubling evidence that PRPD frequently fails to investigate sex-related crimes and incidents of domestic violence, and that PRPD engages in discriminatory policing practices that target individuals of Dominican descent.

On December 21, 2012, we filed a complaint and a settlement agreement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The agreement, which we negotiated with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, provides a comprehensive framework to remedy the misconduct we found. The documents here provide more information about the investigation, the Civil Rights Division's findings, and the agreement.

Case Open Date: 
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Case Name: 
Puerto Rico Police Department
Civil Rights
Conduct of law enforcement agencies
Industry Code: 
Civil Rights - Special Litigation Section
Updated June 2, 2016