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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed an agreement announced today between the U.S. Justice Department and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and outgoing Governor Luis Fortuño that would require sweeping reforms to end widespread police brutality on the island. The Justice Department filed the agreement in federal court today along with a complaint and request for temporary stay in the proceedings to allow the governor-elect to review and finalize the agreement.
“We’re very pleased that the Justice Department has taken concrete action to end the unconscionable abuse Puerto Ricans have suffered at the hands of their own police force,” said Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director. “For years the PRPD has resisted reform. This agreement provides a roadmap for long-overdue reforms.”
The ACLU released a report in June that documented rampant police abuse and a systemic lack of accountability in the PRPD, which is the second-largest police department in the U.S. Also in June, the ACLU and Kirkland & Ellis LLP sued the PRPD for violating the constitutional rights of peaceful protesters who were beaten and abused during demonstrations against controversial government policies including mass layoffs of public workers and cutbacks at a public university.
“The government of Puerto Rico has been making empty promises to institute reforms to end the abuse for a long time. We hope that Governor-elect García Padilla finalizes the agreement shortly after taking office and begins the critical work of overhauling the police department,” said the report’s author, Jennifer Turner of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program. “A final court-enforceable agreement will ensure that the PRPD will be held accountable if it fails to follow through with the plan to overhaul its policies and practices.”
The ACLU’s report and multimedia content are available at:
The agreement and court filings are available at: