WASHINGTON – Department of Justice launches federal civil rights investigation into Minneapolis police operations and use of lethal force, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd .
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the review on Wednesday, relaunching a justice strategy used to hold local police departments accountable for their illegal behavior.
“Yesterday’s verdict does not address potentially systemic police issues in Minneapolis,” Garland said, describing a wide-ranging investigation that will examine officers’ excessive use of force, discriminatory actions involving sufferers. mental health issues, departmental training policies and supervision.
The recently announced justice review is separate from a previously launched federal investigation into Floyd’s death, which Garland says is ongoing.
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“I firmly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices,” Garland said in brief remarks to the Department of Justice. “Good officers welcome accountability … Public safety requires public trust.
“The Ministry of Justice,” said the attorney general, “will be steadfast in its pursuit of equal justice before the law.”
The Department of Justice’s intervention in local police matters was largely blocked during the Trump administration, but Garland rescinded the policy last week, signaling that the Biden administration intended to investigate more aggressively. the police services accused of violations of civil rights in a context of growing mistrust of the police.
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Garland’s memo released Friday overturned a previous directive from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which ordered court attorneys to limit the use of so-called consent decrees, which are court-enforced agreements that allow federal judges to ensure that promised reforms are underway.
The move came in the closing days of Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis and following multiple fatal shootings by police.
President Joe Biden, who has vowed to reinvigorate federal control of police, said after the jury returned Tuesday that the need for police reform did not end with Chauvin’s conviction.
“We can and must do more to reduce the likelihood that such tragedies will never happen again and never happen again; to make sure that Blacks and Maroons or whoever – so that they aren’t afraid of interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing they can lose their lives even while living their life, “Biden mentioned.
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Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also called on Congress to act on a bill named after Floyd.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would strengthen police accountability, make it easier to prosecute law enforcement officers for misconduct, and create a national registry to track officers who attempt to move from one department to another.
The bill stalled in the Senate where Republicans criticized several aspects of the bill, including a provision eliminating some legal immunity for officers to protect them from unwarranted complaints.
Minneapolis officials did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, although Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and other department commanders condemned Chauvin’s actions and testified against him during the trial.
“We recognize that our community is suffering and that our hearts are heavy with many emotions,” Arradondo said Tuesday after the verdicts. “However, I hope that the community in which I was born and raised and that we serve will be resilient and that together we can find our time to begin to heal.