DOJ Launches Civil Investigation Into Minneapolis Policing After Chauvin Conviction

April 21, 2021 Updated: April 21, 2021

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a civil investigation into Minneapolis police practices, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced April 21.

The investigation will determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) engages in “a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” Garland said during a press conference.

Attorneys and other personnel from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota will join the investigation.

According to the DOJ, the scope of the investigation includes whether MPD engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests, whether the MPD engages in discriminatory conduct, and whether MPD’s treatment of those with behavioral health disabilities is unlawful.

Investigators will examine the MPD’s policing, including policies, training, supervision, and use-of-force investigations, Garland stated.

The newly announced investigation is a federal civil investigation. Garland said a public report will be released after the investigation is concluded, and he expects a settlement agreement with the MPD to avoid further violations if systemic unconstitutional or unlawful policing is found.

In May 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr announced a federal criminal investigation surrounding the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man.

The criminal investigation will determine if any civil rights were violated, Barr said in a statement at the time.

Minneapolis City Attorney Jim Rowader told The Epoch Times, “The city welcomes the federal investigation announced today and has already begun working with the Department of Justice team both in Washington D.C. and in Minnesota to help them quickly get this investigation organized and underway.”

MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo also welcomes the DOJ investigation. He expects additional support amid this probe to bring changes to his department.

“I look forward to sharing the great work done by our teams, day in and day out, with the Department of Justice and getting their feedback on how we can serve our communities even better,” he told The Epoch Times.

Garland’s announcement came a day after the conviction of Derek Chauvin, a former officer of the MPD, in the Floyd case.

Jurors convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The most serious charge, second-degree murder, has a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in a mugshot released on April 21, 2021. (Minnesota Department of Corrections)

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, while being restrained by Chauvin and two other officers. Floyd was taken into custody on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at nearby Cup Foods but refused to be placed into a patrol car.

Floyd was restrained on the ground by Chauvin and the other officers next to the car, steps away from the store in which he allegedly committed the crime.

Chauvin restrained Floyd with a knee on his shoulder and neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd complained that he couldn’t breathe and eventually stopped breathing. He was rushed by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Epoch Times Photo
In this frame from a video clip, then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin restrains George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25, 2020. (Darnella Frazier via AP)

Chauvin, 45, joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 2001. He was fired along with three other officers involved in the arrest of Floyd the day after the incident. The other three former officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and Alexander Kueng, are scheduled to go on trial later this year for charges of aiding and abetting murder.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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