October 21 2021
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A federal civil rights inquiry into Minneapolis police operations A new announced Justice review for the Minneapolis police department
Published on April 21, 2021 11:07 AM

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President Joe Biden's pick for attorney general Merrick Garland, addresses staff on his first day at the Department of Justice, March 11, 2021, in Washington.  Garland
WASHINGTON DC - The Justice Department is launching a federal civil rights inquiry into Minneapolis police operations and its use of lethal force, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the review Wednesday, reviving a Justice strategy used to hold local police agencies to account for engaging in a pattern of unlawful conduct.

"Yesterday's verdict does not address potentially systemic police issues in Minneapolis," Garland said, describing a far-reaching investigation that will examine officers' use of excessive force, discriminatory actions involving those with mental health problems, department training policies and supervision.

The newly announced Justice review is separate from a previously-launched federal investigation into Floyd's death, which Garland said is continuing.

"I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices," Garland said in brief remarks at the Justice Department. "Good officers welcome accountability. ... Public safety requires public trust.

"The Department of Justice," the attorney general said, "will be unwavering in its pursuit of equal justice under law."

Justice Department intervention in local policing matters was largely stalled during the Trump administration, but Garland reversed that policy last week signaling that the Biden administration intends to more aggressively investigate police departments accused of civil rights violations amid deepening distrust of law enforcement.

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The Garland memo issued Friday rescinded a previous directive by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that ordered Justice attorneys to limit the use of so-called consent decrees, which are court-enforced agreements that enable federal judges to ensure promised reforms are underway...