Yesterday, Derek Chauvin, former police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), was found guilty of the murder of Mr. George Floyd. I have been reluctant to write about this case, because each time that I think about the day that George Floyd was murdered, being the empath that I am, I become overwhelmed with emotion. And still to this day, I am brought to tears. So, I will not go into details of the case.
Today, April 21. 2021, United States Attorney General, Merrick Garland, announced that the Department of Justice has opened a Civil Rights Investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, to determine whether or not, the Minneapolis Police Department engages in patterns and or practices of unconstitutional or unlawful policing. The investigation will be conducted by attorneys and personnel in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and also the United States Attorney’s Office of The District of Minnesota.
The investigation will be comprehensive and will determine if the Minneapolis Police Department engages in unconstitutional and or unlawful patterns of excessive force, including during protests; whether or not there is systematic unconstitutional and unlawful discrimination against people with behavioral and or mental disabilities; assess if there are effective procedures of officer accountability in place; and if not, what other mechanisms of accountability need to be implemented.
If in its findings, the Department of Justice determines that the Minneapolis Police Department engages in patterns of unconstitutional and unlawful policing, and statutory violations exist, the Department of Justice will issue a public report detailing its conclusions. The Department of Justice can file a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department and seek a federal court injunction ordering Minneapolis Police Department to immediately change policies and procedures to avoid further violations.
Merrick Garland stated that if the Justice Department files a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department for civil rights violations, unconstitutional and or unlawful policing and found guilty, typically the MPD will enter into an agreement or a “Consent Decree.’ The Consent Decree will ensure that the Minneapolis Police Department take immediate action to align policies and procedures with the law.
United State Attorney General Merric Garland emphasized that both the input of the Citizens of Minneapolis and also the Minneapolis Police Department is critical to the reform efforts of the MPD, if it is determined that there are statutory civil rights violations within the Minneapolis Police Department. He stated that the Justice Department has begun reaching out to public and community groups of Minneapolis, and will be seeking to hear from Minneapolis Police Department Officers to gain their input on the training and support that they receive from the Minneapolis Police Department.
Attorney Merrick Garland stated “most of our nations law enforcement officers do their difficult jobs honorably and lawfully. I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices, good officers welcome accountability, because accountability is an essential part of building trust with the community, and public safety requires public trust.”
Merrick garland also stated that he has he been involved in the legal system in one way or another for most of his adult life, and stated “I know that justice is sometimes slow, sometimes elusive and sometimes never comes. The Department of Justice will be unwavering in its pursuit of equal justice under the law, The Challenges we face are deeply woven into our history, they did not arise today or last year. Building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us. But we undertake this action with determination and urgency knowing that change cannot wait.”