Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is going to launch an investigation of Minneapolis law enforcement, Fox News reports.
Merrick’s announcement comes a day after Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Flloyd’s neck during the process of arresting him, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Garland said that a new investigation is necessary because this guilty verdict “does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.”
The type of investigation that Garland’s DOJ is going to conduct is called a “pattern or practice” investigation. That’s because investigators will try to determine if, in Minneapolis, there is a “pattern or practice” of unlawful policing.
The Associated Press reports Garland as saying that this new investigation “will examine the use of force by police officers, including force used during protests, and whether the department engages in discriminatory practices.”
The outlet also reports that the investigation “will also look into the department’s handling of misconduct allegations and its treatment of people with behavioral health issues and will assess the department’s current systems of accountability.”
If Garland’s DOJ does find a “pattern or practice” of unlawful policing, then Garland said that a public report would be released.
He also said that, upon such a finding, there is the possibility of the DOJ bringing a lawsuit against the Minneapolis police department. Such a lawsuit, as similar lawsuits have in the past, could result in settlement agreements or consent decrees that lead to changes in Minneapolis’s policing.
It isn’t the only investigation currently taking place
This new investigation ought not to be confused with another federal investigation that is targeting the Minneapolis Police Department.
Garland reminded Americans that there is another investigation that is already underway that is being led by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Investigators here are looking at whether the Minneapolis Police Department has committed any federal civil rights violations during the past decade.
In his comments, Garland claimed that the challenges presented by the George Floyd situation “are deeply woven into our history,” adding, “they did not arise today or last year.
Garland said that “building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us, but we undertake this task with determination and urgency knowing that change cannot wait.”