The Dallas Morning News
Garland rescinds curbs on probes
Trump-era restrictions made investigating police more difficult
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday rescinded a Trumpera memo that curtailed the use of consent decrees that federal prosecutors have used in sweeping investigations of police departments.
Garland issued a new memorandum to all U.S. attorneys and other Justice Department leaders spelling out the new policies on civil agreements and consent decrees with state and local governments.
In easing restrictions placed on the use of consent decrees, the Justice Department is making it easier for its prosecutors to use the tool to force changes at police departments and other agencies with widespread abuse and misconduct.
The memo in particular rescinds a previous memo issued by then-attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly before he resigned in November 2018.
Democrats have long argued the ability of the Justice Department’s civil rights division to conduct sweeping probes of police departments had been curtailed under President Donald Trump.
“This memorandum makes clear that the Department will use all appropriate legal authorities to safeguard civil rights,” Garland said.