Feven Gerezgiher reports:
The Justice Department is beginning a widespread civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland made the announcement the day after a jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd.
“Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis,” said Merrick. “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 or unlawful policing.”
The investigation will look at discrimination and use of excessive force by Minneapolis police, including at protests. Garland said it would also assess police accountability mechanisms. Should there be violations, he said the Justice Department can use its powers to ensure prompt and effective changes to policing practices.
“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,” said Merrick.
In press releases, both the police chief and the Minneapolis City Council welcomed the investigation.
Activists called on the Biden administration to intervene in the aggressive policing of protests following Daunte Wright’s death. Wednesday afternoon, with the trial over, law enforcement announced a demobilization of forces. Major General Shawn Manke spoke on behalf of the National Guard:
“We are going to be rapidly maneuvering our soldiers and airmen out of the Twin Cities metro area back to their communities,” he said. “You’ll see less of a visible presence of our forces tonight and we’ll continue to ramp down over the next few days.”
Manke said over 3000 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for the trial. Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo said law enforcement agencies will plan a coordinated response for the trial of the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s death in August.