Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced on Wednesday that the Department of Justice is going to be launching a sweeping investigation into the policing practices of the Minneapolis police department following the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case.
According to Garland, the probe is going to “assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests.”
Garland went on to reveal that the department has been reaching out to groups in the local community and other members of the general public to find out what their experiences have been when dealing with local law enforcement.
Garland said the probe is being undertaken, in part, to help rebuild trust between police and the communities they serve, and he pledged that a public report would be filed at the end of the investigation if it concludes there is “reasonable cause” to believe there is unlawful policing.
“I know that justice is sometimes slow, sometimes elusive and sometimes never comes,” Garland stated during the press conference. “The Department of Justice will be unwavering in its pursuit of equal justice under law.”
The announcement comes a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May, setting off a wave of relief but also sadness across the country. The Black man’s death prompted months of mass protests against policing in the U.S.
The Justice Department is already investigating whether the officers involved in Floyd’s death violated Floyd’s civil rights. The investigation announced Wednesday is known as a “pattern or practice” and will be a more sweeping probe of the entire department and may result in major changes to policing there, the official said. The official had direct knowledge of the matter but was not authorized to speak publicly about the upcoming announcement, planned for Wednesday morning.
Part of the investigation is going to look at the practices that are being used by law enforcement to see if they are discriminatory in nature. It’s also going to examine how the department handles allegations of misconduct.
The decision to launch this investigation comes right after President Joe Biden promised that, despite the guilty verdict, the administration will not rest until more is done.