Windsor Star

U.S. TO PROBE MINNEAPOLI­S POLICE.

Seeks `pattern' of excess force in Minneapoli­s

- SARAH N. LYNCH AND JAN WOLFE

WASHINGTON • The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday launched a sweeping civil investigat­ion into policing practices in Minneapoli­s following a jury's verdict that former city police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd.

The probe is the first major action of Attorney General Merrick Garland, after President Joe Biden vowed to address systemic racism in the U.S. It will consider whether the department engages “in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests,” he said.

He added it will also examine whether the department “engages in discrimina­tory conduct and whether its treatment of those with behavioura­l health disabiliti­es is unlawful.”

Chauvin's conviction was a milestone in the racial history of the U.S. and a rebuke of law enforcemen­t's treatment of Black Americans. Floyd's death was one in a long list of police killings that prompted nationwide protests.

“I know such wounds have deep roots. That too many communitie­s have experience­d those wounds firsthand. Yesterday's verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentiall­y systemic policing issues in Minneapoli­s,” Garland said.

Garland has previously said he will make cracking down on police misconduct a priority. A separate criminal Justice Department investigat­ion into whether the officers involved in Floyd's death violated his civil rights continues, Garland said.

“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,” city attorney Jim Rowader said in a statement.

The Minneapoli­s City Council also signalled its support for the probe, saying it welcomed “the opportunit­y for the Department of Justice to use the full weight of its authority to hold the Minneapoli­s Police Department accountabl­e for any and all abuses of power.”

On Wednesday, Garland said Justice Department officials had already started to reach out to community groups in Minneapoli­s to ask about their experience­s with law enforcemen­t and also plan to speak with police officers there about the training and support they receive.

 ??  ?? Merrick Garland
Merrick Garland

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