On the day that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in May 2020, the Minneapolis Police Department put out a press release that painted quite a different picture. They claimed Floyd, while in handcuffs, "physically resisted officers" and "appeared to be suffering medical distress." None of the details that occurred during the excruciating 9 minutes and 29 seconds of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck was mentioned.
A day after Chauvin was found guilty of murder, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Chauvin's guilty verdict wasn't enough. "Yesterday's verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis," he announced this morning. "Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing."
He [Garland] said the investigation will look at the use of excessive force, including during protests, and examine the MPD's accountability systems.
"If the Justice Department concludes that there's reasonable cause to believe there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing, we will issue a public report of our conclusions," he said.
Last week, Garland revoked a Trump-era memo that made it more difficult for the Justice Department's civil rights lawyers to reach consent decrees with state and local governments over policing practices, and to seek court approval for independent monitors to check whether police departments were honoring the terms of settlements.