Attorney General Merrick Garland announces probe into Minneapolis police in wake of Chauvin verdict

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Gino Spocchia
·2 min read
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<p>US attorney general Merrick Garland</p> (REUTERS)

US attorney general Merrick Garland

(REUTERS)

Merrick Garland has announced a probe into the Minneapolis Police Department after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for murdering George Floyd, according to a report.

The investigation will be carried out by the Department of Justice, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing an anonymous official.

It follows the conviction of the former Minneapolis officer for the murder of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020, causing demonstrations and calls for reform of police departments throughout the US.

In Minneapolis, the city’s police department is already the focus of attempts to reform it, including the creation of a commission to manage it – instead of the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey.

On Wednesday, Mr Frey admitted to “a litany of changes that need to happen“ for trust to be resorted in the Minneapolis Police Department.

“I don’t think anybody entirely agrees on the issue,” Mr Frey told WCCO, “but I think there are several core principles that we can agree on,”

“We need deep structural change in the way our police department operates,” the mayor went on to say. “We need a full-on culture shift to get the right officers in and the wrong officers out.”

The justice department investigation, the AP reported, is known as a "pattern or practice" and is a more sweeping probe of the entire force.

Tactics and the department’s oversight of allegations of misconduct and discrimination will be examined by the probe, the official told the AP. It could also result in major changes to policing in the city.

Following the guilty verdict against Chauvin on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden promised to address calls for reform of policing in the country, and said that more needed to be done on the issue.

"'I can't breathe.' Those were George Floyd's last words," Mr Biden said. "We can't let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can't turn away."

Mr Garland, who announced the review on Wednesday, said on Monday that he was “shocked” by the video of Mr Floyd’s murder. The attorney general, in an interview with ABC News, added that “racism is an American problem”.

Former attorney general Bill Barr was thought to have turned-away from the idea of a pattern or practice investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department soon after Mr Floyd's death in May 2020, despite nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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