US News: “Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis,” Garland said during brief remarks at the Justice Department.
The civil investigation will examine whether Minneapolis police “engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” he said.
The probe is separate from a federal civil rights investigation opened by the Trump administration in the case of Floyd’s killing last year, Garland said.
“Pattern or practice” civil investigations like the one announced Wednesday allow the federal government to broadly review potentially systemic issues within a police department and are often precursors to consent decrees, deals between the DOJ and local jurisdictions used to enact changes within departments found to have engaged in unconstitutional or abusive tactics.
The Trump administration in 2018 moved to largely ban such agreements and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued they demoralized local police officers. But Garland on Friday – less than a week before the announcement of the Minneapolis probe – restored the use of consent decrees in one of the first major steps by the administration signaling it intends to more aggressively address police misconduct.
The Minneapolis investigation will assess whether the police department has a pattern of using excessive force, including during protests, Garland said, and whether it engages in discriminatory conduct. The probe will also look at its treatment of people with behavioral health issues.
“I would not call today’s verdict ‘justice,’ however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said after the verdict.
“Today we have to end this travesty of enduring recurring deaths at the hands of law enforcement,” he added.