(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday that the Justice Department is launching a “pattern or practice” investigation into the Minneapolis police department.
“Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional, unlawful policing,” he said.
Garland announced the investigation during public remarks Wednesday morning, acknowledging the death of George Floyd a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s murder.
“I know such wounds have deep roots,” Garland said. “And that too many communities have experienced those wounds, firsthand. Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address, potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.”
He said the effort will be staffed by “experienced attorneys” and others from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.
“The new civil investigation is separate from and independent of the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd, that the Justice Department has previously announced,” he added.
Garland said the DOJ “also has the authority to bring a civil lawsuit.”
“Usually when the Justice Department finds unlawful practices or patterns or practices, the local police department enters into a settlement agreement or a consent decree to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken to align policing practices with the law.”
Garland also acknowledge the long history of “the challenges we face.”
“They did not arise today, or last year, 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.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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