Phoenix council members asks for police sensitivity contract be - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Phoenix council members asks for police sensitivity contract be canceled

ASU Professor Matthew Whitaker ASU Professor Matthew Whitaker
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Councilman Sal DiCiccio (District 6) is asking the Phoenix City manager to cancel the city's contract with ASU Professor Matthew Whitaker's consulting firm, The Whitaker Group. In May, Phoenix City Council approved a $268,800 contract for the group to provide "cultural consciousness training" for the Phoenix Police Department.

"The City of Phoenix Police Department rushed through this sole bid proposal for the police department. It was done with barely 24 hours notice," said DiCiccio.

According to video archives from the May 13th meeting, multiple council members were surprised when city officials mentioend Whitaker was already performing training before the contract was finalized.

""I think we're all surprised to know he's already working. If there are already issues that are going to surface, we kind of need to know he's already working for us," said Councilman Jim Waring (District 2) during the May 13th meeting.

The issues Waring is referring to are over allegations of plagiarism in Whitaker's latest book, "Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama."

ASU demoted Whitaker and reduced his total pay by $20,000 after investigating the allegations. Whitaker released a statement to his ASU colleages apologizing. In part it reads:

"I did not purport to write original history and I drew upon established sources. I did intend to give full credit to all sources. But my critics have revealed numerous mistakes that I made. It is painful to recognize that I was so careless as to fail to properly paraphrase and cite sources, despite my reverence and respect for the work of others in the field."

"This is clearly a problem when an individual is accused of plagiarism and is demoted from ASU," said DiCiccio.

We reached out to Whitaker and the Phoenix Police Department for comment about DiCiccio's resquest to cancel Whitaker's contract. Their emailed responses are below.


"I will say that the training has been well received by the Police Department, community leaders, and citizens.  The diversity of this support is rare and laudable.  We are educating and building bridges in Phoenix in an era of cynicism and divisiveness.  It is very important that me and my excellent training staff continue the work to which we have placed our hands."

Phoenix Police Department:

"We are aware of the situation. Chief Yahner is out of town and will return to work next week. Likely discussions on the matter should take place then."

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