University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of the Portland, Maine Police Department PN-ME-0001
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In January 2002, Police Chief Michael Chitwood requested that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] review the polices, practices and procedures of the Portland, Maine Police Department. The DOJ conducted an investigation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and issued a ... read more >
In January 2002, Police Chief Michael Chitwood requested that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] review the polices, practices and procedures of the Portland, Maine Police Department. The DOJ conducted an investigation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and issued a technical assistance letter to the department on March 21, 2003. In the letter, the DOJ made specific recommendations regarding changes to the department's policies in the following areas: use of force, use of force reporting and review, searches and seizures, complaints and investigations, early warning systems, training, and organizational concerns.

As of the date of this summary, it is not clear whether the DOJ investigation remains ongoing.

Dan Dalton - 01/23/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Portland Police Department
Plaintiff Description 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
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Date: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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 (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 ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ 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 )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Investigation of the Portland, Maine Police Department
PN-ME-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-ME-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Poliquin, Beth (Maine)
PN-ME-0001-0001
Wood, Gary (Maine)
PN-ME-0001-0001

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