The United States Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the policing practices in Minneapolis after a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the killing of George Floyd.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on April 21 that the Justice Department will determine if the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) “has engaged in a pattern and practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” and if it engages in discriminatory policing.
The investigation will assess all types of force used by MPD officers, including during protests and on individuals with behavioral health disabilities, Garland said.
“It will include a comprehensive review of the Minneapolis Police Department’s policies, training, supervision, and use-of-force investigations,” Garland announced.
Garland added that the Justice Department will also examine MPD’s systems of accountability, including investigation, review, and discipline.
In the brief announcement, Garland acknowledged that police officers have “difficult jobs,” but added, “Good officers welcome accountability.”
“I strongly believe good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices,” Garland said.
“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,” Garland also said.
According to Garland, the Justice Department has already reached out to community groups and members of the public to learn about their experiences with the MPD.
“Broad participation in this investigation from the community and from law enforcement will be vital to its success,” Garland said.
The announcement came less than a day after the guilty verdict against Chauvin, a white man, for the murder of Floyd, a Black man, last May 25.
A bystander video caught Chauvin pinning his knee onto Floyd’s neck and back for over nine minutes.