DOJ Will Investigate the Minneapolis Police Department

Merrick Garland announces 'pattern or practice' probe
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2021 10:49 AM CDT
DOJ to Launch Probe of Minneapolis Police Department
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jury's verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced a wide-ranging DOJ investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, saying the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial "does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis." And that's exactly what the DOJ "pattern or practice" investigation will attempt to get at: whether the largest police department in the state of Minnesota has displayed a pattern or practice of engaging in behavior that amounts to unlawful policing, such as excessive force or discriminatory policing. The Star Tribune's take: "The decision ... marks a reversal in strategy from the Trump administration, which effectively abandoned these types of far-reaching probes into police departments."

The AP echoes that, citing sources who say then-Attorney General Bill Barr considered doing so shortly after George Floyd's death, but worried it would fuel protests and unrest. Garland didn't specify whether the pattern or practice probe will include any period of time prior to Floyd's May 2020 death. If the pattern or practice probe does determine unconstitutional policing occurred, a report on those findings will be made public. Said Garland: "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." The Justice Department is already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd's death violated his civil rights, and that probe will run in parallel.

(Read more Merrick Garland stories.)

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