U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced a federal investigation of possible “systemic policing issues” of the Minneapolis police department.
While the jury’s verdict of guilty on all counts in the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd may represent justice in one case, it does not address possible systemic issues with policing in Minneapolis that could serve to prevent such crimes from recurring.
“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 that if the Justice Department found sufficient evidence of a “pattern or practice” of the aforementioned behavior, it would release a public report of its findings.
NPR noted that this investigation “marks a return to increased federal oversight of errant police departments” that had fallen to just one case during the Trump administration relative to “more than two dozen pattern or practice investigations” under the Obama administration. The Trump administration had also made it more difficult for Justice Department officials to provide oversight of police departments after settlements had been made.
A previously announced Justice Department investigation into the death of George Floyd is ongoing – and is separate to the just announced investigation into the police department, Garland confirmed.
In a statement after the jury delivered a verdict of guilty on all counts in the Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, Garland said that the jury had performed its “civic duty”, but that he knew that “nothing could fill the void that loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death.