Less than 24 hours after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, the U.S. Justice Department has pledged to investigate patterns of discrimination within the city’s police department.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that the Department of Justice launched an investigation into possible patterns of excessive force or discriminatory behavior within the police department, which marks the Biden administration’s first “pattern or practice” investigation.
“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 or unlawful policing,” Garland said.
The investigation itself is set to look at excessive force across the board, including instances used in protests, and examining accountability systems within the department. Garland emphasized that the investigation is separate from the Floyd federal crime inquiry.
“If the Justice Department concludes that there’s reasonable cause to believe there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing, we will issue a public report of our conclusions,” he said.
During the Obama administration, the Justice Department worked on over two dozen similar investigations, while the Trump administration’s four-year run only saw a “pattern or practice” investigation used once on a small town in Massachusetts. Garland added that “yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.”