Contact: Chris Perry

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Flawed DOJ Recommendations Violate Existing Laws and May Subject Governmental Entities to Legal Challenges, CPI Warns

WASHINGTON / February 7, 2017 – The Department of Justice’s Office for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program has launched two initiatives that may erode the presumption of innocence, promote biased police response, and lead to wrongful convictions. The Center for Prosecutor Integrity believes prosecutors and law enforcement officials who implement these recommendations will face legal challenges that successfully argue these recommendations violate due process and presumption of innocence mandates in state and federal law.

In the first case, the COPS office issued a report that endorses the use of so-called “victim-centered” investigations that incorrectly presume the guilt of the defendant. According to the COPS report, victim-centered methods allow a “victim” to request “certain investigative steps not be conducted” and to “Give control of the process back to the victim.” (1) Such victim-centered investigations would make it difficult, if not impossible for detectives to conduct their work in an objective and thorough manner, CPI charges.

In the second case, a COPS report made unsubstantiated claims about sex bias in police response. In “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence,” COPS claims:

“In some cases, a police officer may discriminate against victims of sexual assault or domestic violence because of a general bias against women…More commonly, discrimination may be based on explicit stereotypes about women.” (2)

The COPS report does not present the results of any scientific studies that support this conclusion. Indeed, findings from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey point to the opposite conclusion, that men are more likely to have negative experiences with police, and three times less likely to report domestic violence incidents, compared to women (3).

These shortcomings at the Office for Community Oriented Policing Services are documented in the newly released report, “Obstruction of Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice.” (4).


  2.  , page 7
  3.   Tables 7.2 and 7.3.

The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is working to strengthen prosecutorial ethics, preserve the presumption of innocence, and avoid wrongful convictions: .