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DOJ, Springfield, Ma., Police Reach Police Reform Settlement

The Department of Justice said the Springfield, Ma., Police Department entered into a "court enforceable consent decree" to mandate reforms. Its marks the first consent decree launched by the DOJ on policing since Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed a Trump-era policy that limited the use of these kind of agreements to change police departments and government agencies, Axios reports. DOJ officials and city leaders said the court-approved agreement would "lay out a road map for the department to improve accountability by requiring officers to report "all uses of force, including punches and kicks" and creating an investigation team to review the most serious incidents.

Under Garland, DOJ has opened investigations into police departments in Minneapolis; Louisville, Phoenix and Mount Vernon, N.Y. In 2016, Springfield narcotics officer Gregg Bigda kicked and spat at a juvenile while making an arrest, saying "welcome to the white man’s world.” The officer was found not guilty. The investigation concluded that the Springfield Narcotics Bureau had engaged in a pattern of excessive force directly attributable to "systemic deficiencies in policies, accountability systems and training." “When communities don’t trust or fear law enforcement, it undermines public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins in Boston. "We want the reputation we deserve. There's an overwhelming majority of my officers, young women and men that go out on shifts every day and every day put their lives on the line for people they don't know," added Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood.


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