US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday a civil investigation into the police department of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering African-American 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 or unlawful policing,” Garland said.
He said the civil probe — separate from an ongoing criminal investigation into Floyd’s death — will examine whether the police systematically engaged in the use of excessive force, including during legal protests.
It will also examine whether the city force showed a pattern of discrimination and unlawful treatment of people with behavioural health disabilities, Garland said.
If evidence is found of a pattern of unlawful practices, the investigation could possibly lead to a civil lawsuit seeking to compel the city to undertake sweeping reforms of its police department.
“The Justice Department will be unwavering in its pursuit of equal justice under law,” Garland said.