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Merrick Garland Announces an Investigation Into Minneapolis Police Dept

The Justice Department is opening a broad investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Wednesday, a day after the former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd in a rare rebuke of police violence.

“The investigation I am announcing today will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force including during protests,” Mr. Garland said in brief remarks at the Justice Department.

So-called pattern-or-practice investigations are often the precursors to consent decrees, court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governments that create and enforce a road map for training and operational changes.

Mr. Garland’s announcement came a day after the conviction of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. Gruesome video of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year sparked protests across the nation.

The inquiry into the Minneapolis police department is separate from the existing Justice Department investigation into whether Officer Chauvin violated Mr. Floyd’s civil rights.

On Friday, Mr. Garland restored the robust use of consent decrees, rescinding a Trump administration policy that largely curbed their use. The Obama administration had repeatedly used the tool to address police misconduct.

The restoration of consent decrees was one of the Biden administration’s first significant moves to hold police forces accountable in cases where they are found to have violated federal laws.

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