Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department will launch an investigation into the policing practices in Minneapolis following the conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.
“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 stated. “Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.”
The probe, referred to as a “pattern or practice” — will examine whether Minneapolis law enforcement engaged in unconstitutional policing behaviour. The review could result in large changes to the department if wrongdoing is uncovered.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) endorsed the probe, saying in a statement that local officials “welcome the investigation as an opportunity to continue working toward deep change and accountability in the Minneapolis Police Department.”
It will examine the use of force by police officers, including force used during protests, and whether the department engages in discriminatory practices. It 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, Garland said.
A senior Justice Department official said prosecutors chose to announce the probe a day after the verdict because they did not want to do anything to interfere with Chauvin’s trial. The official would not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.