DOJ launches inquiry into Minneapolis police operations, a day after Chauvin guilty verdicts

President Joe Biden's pick for attorney general Merrick Garland, addresses staff on his first day at the Department of Justice, March 11, 2021, in Washington. Garland, a one time Supreme Court nominee under former President Barack Obama, was confirmed March 10 by a Senate vote of 70-30.

The Justice Department is launching a federal civil rights inquiry into Minneapolis police operations, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the review Wednesday, reviving a Justice strategy used to hold local police agencies to account for engaging in a pattern of troubling conduct.

“Yesterday’s verdict does not address potentially systemic police issues in Minneapolis,” Garland said.

Justice Department intervention in local policing matters was largely stalled during the Trump administration, but Garland reversed that policy last week signaling that the Biden administration intends to more aggressively investigate police departments accused of civil rights violations amid deepening distrust of law enforcement.

The Garland memo issued Friday rescinded a previous directive by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions who ordered Justice attorneys to limit the use of so-called consent decrees, which are court-enforced agreements that enable federal judges to ensure promised reforms are underway.

The move came in the final days of Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis and following multiple fatal shootings involving police.

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