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Case Name U.S. v. Territory of the Virgin Islands PN-VI-0001
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-00158-CVG-RM ( D.V.I. )
State/Territory Virgin Islands
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In March 2004, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141. On October 5, 2005, the DOJ issued a technical assistance letter to the department which made recommendations ... read more >
In March 2004, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141. On October 5, 2005, the DOJ issued a technical assistance letter to the department which made recommendations regarding specific changes to the department's policies in the following areas: use of force, vehicle pursuits, holding cells, misconduct investigations, discipline, supervisory oversight, and training.

On December 23, 2008, the DOJ filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 against the VIPD. The DOJ sought both injunctive and declaratory relief, claiming that the Virgin Islands government, though its actions and omissions, was engaging in a pattern or practice of subjecting individuals to the use of excessive force. Simultaneously, the parties submitted a proposed consent decree to settle the case.

U.S. District Judge Curtis V. Gomez approved the consent decree on March, 24, 2009. The Decree detailed specific actions to be taken by VIPD regarding evaluation, documentation, and review of use of force incidents; citizen complaint procedures; management and supervision; and training.

On June 29, 2010, Judge Gomez allowed an amendment to the Consent Decree to make slight modifications to the monitoring timetable. On December 9, 2010, the Office of the Independent Monitor, from the firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, began filing regular progress/compliance reports.

Due to VIPD's slow progress toward achieving compliance, on November 2, 2012, Judge Gomez adopted a jointly-proposed Action Plan, which aimed to set realistic and achievable compliance deadlines, and incorporated its deadlines into the Consent Decree. Judge Gomez also eliminated the bright-line deadline in the original Consent Decree, and amended it to provide that the Consent Decree would only expire after the VIPD had maintained substantial compliance with its terms for a period of two years. The Action Plan included particular scheduling details for when VIPD officers would receive trainings for vehicle-pursuit and spike-strip policies as well as deadlines for training its internal risk assessment team related to use of excessive force.

After the VIPD requested and received multiple extensions on compliance related to specific training objectives, the parties filed a joint motion to amend the Action Plan and Consent Decrees on October 1, 2013. In their proposed amendment to the Action Plan, the parties recognized that VIPD required additional time in order to build the infrastructure in training, policies, and supervisory personnel requisite to achieve compliance. However, before Judge Gomez could rule on the motion, the VIPD failed to meet the deadlines it had outlined in the proposed amendment. As such, the parties supplemented their motion to amend, and on February 25, 2014, Judge Gomez held a hearing on the proposed amendment.

At the hearing, Judge Gomez noted that the VIPD leadership had continually promised to meet new deadlines and yet had failed to do so. Judge Gomez suggested that the parties instead target meaningful and achievable quarterly goals, with quarterly hearings on the compliance status of each of these goals. On March 7, 2014, the VIPD filed a notice of their proposed quarterly goals. On April 30, 2014, Judge Gomez issued an order adopting these goals, and struck the Action Plan from the Consent Decree, instead adopting a provision for quarterly goals and compliance hearings. The order was amended on May 22 to make minor adjustments to this provision.

On July 10, 2015, the parties filed a joint motion to amend the Consent Decree with respect to the timing of the Independent Monitor's reports. On August 21, Judge Gomez ordered appropriate amendments to the Consent Decree to facilitate the preparation of more accurate and complete quarterly reports.

The enforcement of the Consent Decree is still in progress.

Dan Dalton - 01/23/2007
Louisa Eberle - 11/03/2013
John He - 02/06/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Virgin Islands Police Department
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2009 - 2014
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:08-cv-158 (D.V.I.) 08/09/2016
PN-VI-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
United States Department of Justice Investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department 10/05/2005
PN-VI-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Complaint 12/23/2008
PN-VI-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: District Court
Consent Decree 03/24/2009 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/29/2010 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department 03/28/2011
PN-VI-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department 06/09/2011
PN-VI-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department 08/31/2011
PN-VI-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgina Islands Police Department 12/27/2011
PN-VI-0001-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Filing 03/13/2012
PN-VI-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Filing 07/10/2012
PN-VI-0001-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/02/2012 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/12/2013 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Filing 04/10/2013
PN-VI-0001-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Filing 08/08/2013
PN-VI-0001-0014 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Parties' Join Motion, and Memorandum of Law in Support of Join Motion, to Amend Consent Decree Action Plan 10/01/2013
PN-VI-0001-0015 PDF | Detail
Parties' Joint Motion, and Memorandum in Support of Joint Motion, to Terminate october 9, 2013 Evidentiary Hearing 10/01/2013
PN-VI-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order 05/22/2014 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0017 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Quarterly Report of 2014 from the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department 11/25/2014
PN-VI-0001-0019 PDF | Detail
Order 08/21/2015 (D.V.I.)
PN-VI-0001-0018 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gomez, Curtis V. Court not on record
PN-VI-0001-0003 | PN-VI-0001-0004 | PN-VI-0001-0011 | PN-VI-0001-0012 | PN-VI-0001-0017 | PN-VI-0001-0018 | PN-VI-0001-9000
Miller, Ruth (D.V.I.) [Magistrate]
PN-VI-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters Gruber, Charles A. (Illinois)
PN-VI-0001-0019
Johnson, William F. (New York)
PN-VI-0001-0005 | PN-VI-0001-0006 | PN-VI-0001-0007 | PN-VI-0001-0008 | PN-VI-0001-0009 | PN-VI-0001-0010 | PN-VI-0001-0013 | PN-VI-0001-0014
Witzel, Steven M. (New York)
PN-VI-0001-0005 | PN-VI-0001-0006 | PN-VI-0001-0007 | PN-VI-0001-0008 | PN-VI-0001-0009 | PN-VI-0001-0010 | PN-VI-0001-0013 | PN-VI-0001-0014
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0001 | PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Hewlett, Joycelyn (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-9000
Jung, Je Yon (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003 | PN-VI-0001-9000
Mazor, Marina (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003 | PN-VI-0001-0015 | PN-VI-0001-0016 | PN-VI-0001-9000
McMillan, Charlene (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-9000
Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Murphy, Paul A. (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-0002 | PN-VI-0001-0003
Murray, Jeffrey Robert (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-VI-0001-0015 | PN-VI-0001-0016
Defendant's Lawyers Drue, Kerry (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-0001
Frazer, Vincent (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-0003
Mattarangas-King, Daniel (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-0001
Thomas-Jacobs, Carol (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-9000
Williams, Warren M (Virgin Islands)
PN-VI-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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