The US Department of Justice is opening an investigation into police practices in Minneapolis following the murder conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin, it has been announced.
Chauvinist, 45, was unanimously guilty second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter George floyd, 46, on May 25 of last year.
As the former officer awaits sentencing, Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis. “
He said he was launching an investigation to see if there is “a pattern or practice” of unconstitutional or illegal policing in the city.
It will examine the use of force by officers, including during protests, and their handling of people with behavioral or mental health problems.
Ultimately, it will determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in discriminatory practices, he said.
It is unclear what time frame the investigation will cover and whether it will begin with Mr Floyd’s death or extend to previous years.
The investigation could end with force facing a trial, instead of the regulations or consent decrees that were previously agreed upon.
Justice officials are already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers present at Mr. Floyd’s death violated his civil rights.
The police department is also under investigation by the state Human Rights Department, which is investigating its practices over the past decade.
Subscribe to the daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he and city officials “welcome the investigation as an opportunity to continue working for profound change and accountability within the Minneapolis Police Department.” .
The city council also released a statement supporting the investigation, saying its work had been limited by local laws and welcomed “new tools to pursue structural and transformational changes in the way the city provides security. public “.
Analysis: Chauvin verdict should set new law enforcement rules
By Alex Rossi, national correspondent
It is undoubtedly a historic verdict, which transcends the individual and his horrific crime. But a lot of people wonder if this is really an inflection point for race relations in America.
The celebrations and collective relief in Minneapolis undoubtedly resonated and were heard around the world.
President Joe Biden spoke at the White House, calling the trial a “too rare” example of justice served and “a stain on the soul of the nation”.
He also acknowledged that there was still a lot of work to be done to end systemic racism across America.
And perhaps the most poignant post-trial tribute and message came from George Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise.
He drew a direct line from the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 and the murder of George Floyd.
The arc of history always ugly and unchanging for all these years.
It is also not lost on many here – and especially for black Americans – that as the trial unfolded during those three long and painful weeks, others died at the hands of the police – most often because that they were arrested for alleged minor offenses.
The most visible was the case of 20 years Daunte Wright.
He had died just 10 miles from the Minneapolis courthouse where Derek Chauvin was on trial – killed when a white policeman apparently mistook his handgun for a Taser.
But there are also reasons to be positive.
What happened to George Floyd certainly galvanized a movement for change as well.
It sparked one of the biggest protest movements this country has ever seen – the scale of which has not been seen since the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Public and political discourse on what it means to be black or of an ethnically diverse background has also been injected with new perspectives.
Businesses, government agencies and individuals are all examining their role in perpetuating institutional racism and how best to combat it.
Police reforms have also been passed in many states, but the United States is watching to see if the highly polarized Congress can find bipartisan support for a federal police reform bill – it will be difficult.
But there are also deep questions about whether Derek Chauvin would have been convicted had it not been for the heartbreaking and damning video evidence.
This obviously cannot be answered today, but it is hoped that the trial will set a precedent on how ethnically diverse communities are monitored and what constitutes legal and acceptable force.
Chauvin’s trial and conviction – who was meant to serve and protect – should set new rules and not be allowed to become an exception as has happened too often before in America’s ugly race relations history.