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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name 2007 DOJ Investigation of Orange County Sheriff's Office PN-FL-0007
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 30, 2007, the United States Department of Justice notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) of its intention to investigate the use of electronic control devices (ECD’s) by OCSO pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The ... read more >
On January 30, 2007, the United States Department of Justice notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) of its intention to investigate the use of electronic control devices (ECD’s) by OCSO pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The investigation of OCSO was focused solely on an alleged pattern or practice of excessive force in OCSO’s use of electronic control weapons (ECW).

The Department of Justice conducted two multi-day on-site visits of the Sheriff’s Office during June and November of 2007. During those on-site tours, the DOJ representatives reviewed all relevant Sheriff’s Office policies, audited agency training classes, participated in ride-alongs with agency field personnel, and conducted extensive interviews with a cross-section of Orange County Sheriff’s Office command staff, supervisors and deputies.

On August 20, 2008, the DOJ issued a findings letter, which recommended certain practices and procedures to improve the Sheriff’s Office written policies, training, and accountability processes pertaining to the use of ECD weapons. For instance, the DOJ recommended that OCSO policy require a verbal warning prior to ECW deployment; expressly state that ECW deployment is appropriate only when encountering Level 4 or
higher resistance and that ECW deployment is inappropriate when deputies encounter passive resistance as defined in Levels 1 through 3; revise its ECW policy to prohibit ECW deployment against handcuffed or otherwise restrained subjects unless the subject is exhibiting Level 5 or higher resistance; prohibit the deployment of the ECW against a subject in physical control of a vehicle in motion, absent exigent circumstances.

Since the investigation, the DOJ and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office have worked
together to revise and improve the existing OCSO policies and procedures. OCSO contended that it has made considerable progress with improving OCSO’s written policies, training, and accountability processes pertaining to the use of CED weapons.

In September 2010, the DOJ and the OCSO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement which set forth objective measurements to enable the DOJ to verify compliance. In the settlement, OCSO agreed to: develop and implement an ECW policy to prohibit reckless and careless use and storage of the ECW; implement policies to train supervisors; instruct deputies to notify emergency medical personnel under circumstances; and develop training courses.

After reviewing policy, attending ECD training sessions, reviewing Use of Force reports and the accountability measures implemented, the DOJ issued its findings determining that as of October 1, 2011, the OCSO had demonstrated substantial compliance. Since then, the DOJ entered a period of continued monitoring, which expired March 31, 2013.

On April 2, 2013, DOJ notified Orange County Sheriff's Office that OCSO has maintained compliance for 18 months as required by the agreement. The data also demonstrated a significant decrease in the use of Electronic Control Devices.

The case is closed.

Ginny Lee - 03/06/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Reporting
Required disclosure
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) The Orange County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description The United States of America, represented by the United States Department of Justice.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2011 - 2013
Filing Year 2007
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  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
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
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 ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program Faculty)
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Findings Letter Re: United States Department of Justice Investigation of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Use of Conducted Energy Devices
PN-FL-0007-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/20/2008
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Agreement Between the United States of American and Jerry L. Demings, in His Official Capacity as Orange County Sheriff
PN-FL-0007-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/16/2010
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Closing Letter
PN-FL-0007-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/02/2013
Plaintiff's Lawyers Albritton, A. Brian (Florida)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0001
Dominguez, Silvia Judith (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Nolan, William E. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Saucedo, Luis E. (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Schmidt, Whitney (Florida)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-FL-0007-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Dunlap, Eric (Florida)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Rice, Bernadine (Florida)
PN-FL-0007-0002
Sale, Jon A. (Florida)
PN-FL-0007-0002

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