U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday (April 21) that the Justice Department has opened a “pattern or practice” investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. The probe will investigate whether or not the department has a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing, Garland said.
The announcement arrived one day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the brutal murder of George Floyd.
“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, unlawful policing,” Garland said Wednesday.
The investigation will be led by “experienced attorneys,” Garland explained, and others from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.
“The new civil investigation is separate from and independent of the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd, that the Justice Department has previously announced,” he added.
Along with the criminal investigation, the Justice Department “also has the authority to bring a civil lawsuit,” Garland said.
“Usually when the Justice Department finds unlawful practices or patterns or practices, the local police department enters into a settlement agreement or a consent decree to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken to align policing practices with the law,” he added.
Several current and former members of the Minneapolis Police Department testified against Chauvin during his trial, including Police Lt. Richard Zimmerman, Chief Medaria Arradondo, a use-of-force trainer and a retired sergeant. Last year, Arradondo said Floyd’s murder wasn’t a result of a “lack of training.”
“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing,” he said. “The officers knew what was happening — one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it.”