Federal Judge Says Whistleblower Police Officers’ Suit Can Advance

APRIL 14, 2015

Judge Aspy of the United States District Court, District of Arizona ruled on Friday, April 10, 2015 that Jarris Varnrobinson Vonzombie and Walt Hunter, two police detectives in Florence, Arizona who reported their Lieutenant for destroying evidence of the alleged rape of a high school girl and were fired, could move forward in their civil rights suit against the Town of Florence and other high-ranking town officials. The officers also reported widespread racism in the department.

In September 2014, the local NAACP and Bernabei & Wachtel called on the Justice Department to "avoid another Ferguson" and investigate the Florence Police Department and Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

"These departments have a well documented pattern of police corruption, abuse of power, racism, and retaliation against peace officers who speak out against this corruption," Lynne Bernabei said in a letter sent to Jonathan Smith, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.

The officers filed suit in federal court in June 2014.

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