An inquiry into Minneapolis Police Department has been launched by US Attorney General Merrick Garland after former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of black man George Floyd during his arrest in May 2020.
“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 told a press conference on Wednesday.
The probe by the Department of Justice (DoJ) will include “experienced attorneys” from its Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota, Garland said.
“The new civil investigation is separate from, and independent of, the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd that the Justice Department has previously announced,” he added.
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The new inquiry is to assess whether Minneapolis police department used “excessive force,” including in protests and whether its treatment of people with behavioral disabilities is unlawful.
Garland said the DoJ has already consulted members of the public, community groups and officers in Minneapolis in relation to the city's policing.
The announcement of the probe comes a day after the conclusion of Chauvin's trial over the death of Floyd, whose killing sparked global Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, some of which escalated into riots and looting.
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On Tuesday, a jury found the former Minneapolis cop guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, after around 10 hours of deliberations.
The trial began last month at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, which was heavily guarded on Tuesday as the city braced for the verdict.
Judge Peter Cahill said Chauvin will be sentenced in around eight weeks. He has been immediately jailed and may now spend decades behind bars.
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