Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that the Justice Department will open an investigation into the policing practices of law enforcement in Minneapolis, examining whether its officers have a “pattern or practice” violating the civil rights of residents, according to Politico.
The announcement came one day after a jury found former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin guilty for the murder of George Floyd last year.
“Although the state’s prosecution was successful, I know that nothing can fill the void that the loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death,” Garland said Wednesday morning.
“Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis,” he added.
Under Donald Trump, the Justice Department announced only one pattern-or-practice probe of a police department: an inquiry into policing in Springfield, Mass. Sessions and Barr said they believed such investigations tended to demonize and stigmatize police and that most officers’ conduct was free of racial bias. They also complained that the consent decrees that often resulted from such investigations effectively tied the hands of officers and sometimes led to increases in crime, Politico noted.
But, the Justice Department in the Biden administration is expected to use more pattern-or- practice investigations as the country grapples with police brutality, systemic racism and potential sweeping reforms.
The Hill noted that the result of such an investigation is often a consent decree that effectively gives the DOJ oversight of local police departments for years at a time.
“It will include a comprehensive review of Minneapolis police policies training and use-of-force investigations,” Garland said, adding that the investigation will also look at excessive use of force against protesters and whether police act improperly towards citizens with “behavioral health disabilities.”