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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Applauds Justice Department Decision to Begin Investigation of Inglewood Police Department

July 15, 2009
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement today following the announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice has started an investigation of the Inglewood Police Department as she previously requested:

Today we learned that the Department of Justice has instituted an investigation of the practices of the Inglewood Police Department. I am very pleased that possible police misconduct is finally being investigated.

I have been extremely concerned about the alarming number of police-involved shootings in Inglewood that resulted in the 2008 deaths of  Mr. Michael Byoune on Mother's Day, Mr. Kevin Wicks on July 21st, and Mr. Eddie Felix Franco on August 31st .  I submitted three written requests to the former U.S. Attorney General urging the Department of Justice to investigate the practices of the Inglewood Police Department to determine whether there was a pattern and practice of violations of civil rights or violations of federal criminal laws.

Considering the relatively small size of the Inglewood Police Department, four fatal officer-involved shootings in four months was an indication to me that something was very wrong.  Knowing that without corrective action, more innocent deaths could result from poor police practices, I felt it was incumbent on the U.S. Department of Justice to exercise their authority to investigate police departments that may be engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct, such as use of excessive force, that deprives persons of constitutional or other federal rights pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. §14141.  In addition, the Department of Justice has  authority for the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division to investigate deprivations of civil rights under the color of law the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.

I do not yet know all the details or scope of the investigation, but it is relief to know that the pattern and practice investigation that I requested has now begun.   As I stressed earlier, my constituents need to know that their law enforcement officials will protect and serve them. My constituents also need to know that the law will be enforced fairly and promptly.   The launch of this investigation is a good start.