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Phoenix approves $4M, 2nd law firm for Department of Justice investigation into police

A divided Phoenix City Council has approved up to $4 million to cover more legal expenses related to the Department of Justice investigation into the police department.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the council approved a contract worth $2 million to bring on Dentons and extended a contract worth $2 million with Steptoe, the original law firm. 

Councilmen Jim Waring and Kevin Robinson voted against the deal with Steptoe.

“They were our lead attorneys and we chose to go in a different direction. I think that speaks to, to how we feel things maybe have been going,” Waring said.

“I just don’t think this is the right thing to do — continue with them — under a variety of circumstances. There are several things. It’s not appropriate for me to mention here,” Robinson said.

Phoenix has asked the Department of Justice to end its civil-rights investigation, which has last 2 and a half years, through an agreement where the city would take recommendations from the federal agency but not be subject to court supervision. The DOJ won’t say when it will release its findings.

So far, Phoenix says it’s spent more than $7.5 million on personnel, outside counsel and consultants. The new legal contracts are not included in the $7.5 million.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.