University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of Inglewood Police Department PN-CA-0027
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
This Civil Rights Division investigation of the Inglewood Police Department (IPD) began on March 16, 2009, pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. After two site visits and other investigation, the DOJ wrote a "technical assistance" letter in ... read more >
This Civil Rights Division investigation of the Inglewood Police Department (IPD) began on March 16, 2009, pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. After two site visits and other investigation, the DOJ wrote a "technical assistance" letter in December 2009, setting out recommendations regarding some of the IPD's written policies and procedures. The letter explained that DOJ's review was not yet complete.

The DOJ primarily recommended ensuring new policies were clear, consistent, comprehensive, and reviewed before implemented.

Substantively, the DOJ recommended changes to the IPD's use of force policies to include an "appropriate force matrix," which would illustrate appropriate uses of force in various situations and would be used as a training guide for officers. This matrix would enable the IPD to implement a uniform guideline, including information on de-escalation, and emphasizing use of lower levels of force first, when appropriate. Specifically, the DOJ recommended updating the IPD's definition of "immediate threat" to comport with current law and specifying the tools that constitute lethal force; prohibiting officers from carrying secondary firearms without supervisors' approval; limiting the number of weapons an officer may carry at once; promulgating policies with specific guide on intermediate-force weapons; specifying the circumstances in which Tasers may be used; guiding officers how to use chemical weapons appropriately; and updating its Canine Manual. The DOJ also recommended that the IPD revise its police to require all officers to report incidents involving the use of force. This policy would also include a review mechanism that would ensure that the force used was appropriate.

Further, the DOJ suggested that the IPD implement a formal and consistent system for receiving complaints of officer misconduct. This system should create a process that: makes it possible for people to lodge complaints; does not discourage complaints; and requires investigation of every complaint. The IPD should also train all of its personnel on how to accept and report complaints. This policy would go hand in hand with a new, updated, and clear policy governing the internal affairs of the IPD. Finally, the DOJ recommended a clear disciplinary policy that, like the use of force policy, would include a clear matrix linking various levels of improper action to an appropriate form of discipline or corrective action. These new systems require a comprehensive review of the Department's supervisory system as well as the measures to detect and minimize police misconduct.

Given all of these proposed changes and updates to the IPD's various policies, the DOJ recommended the development of comprehensive training programs for new and current officers as well as community outreach initiatives to improve the Police Department's relationship with the Inglewood community.

The technical assistance letter requested a written response from the IPD within 30 days. There has been no additional information in this investigation, including evidence of adopted reforms, nor has a complaint been filed.

Marcy Blattner - 04/05/2015
Virginia Weeks - 11/07/2016

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Excessive force
Grievance Procedures
Improper use of canines
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pattern or Practice
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Special Case Type
Causes of Action 34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)
Defendant(s) City of Inglewood
Plaintiff Description N/A
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Filed 2009
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Review of the Use of Monitors in Civil Settlement Agreements and Consent Decrees Involving State and Local Government Entities
U.S. Department of Justice
Date: 9/13/2021
By: Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assoc. AG Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Policing the Police: The Impact of "Pattern-or-Practice" Investigations on Crime
Date: June 2020
By: Tanaya Devi, Roland G. Fryer Jr (Harvard Faculty)
[ Detail ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

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

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
not recorded
RE: Investigation of Inglewood Police Department
PN-CA-0027-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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