The civil inquiry will examine whether the police systematically engaged in the use of excessive force and whether it showed discrimination and unlawful treatment of people with behavioral health disabilities.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday the opening of a civil investigation into the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department, a day after former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering African-American George Floyd.
Garland said Today; I declare that the Department of Justice has launched a civil investigation to determine whether the Manipolis Police Department is involved in unconstitutional or illegal conduct or in policing practice.
He said the civil investigation, separate from an ongoing criminal investigation into Floyd's death, will examine whether police consistently engaged in the use of excessive force, including during legal protests.
The Department of Justice will continue to strive for equal justice before the law.
It will also examine whether the city's force displayed a pattern of discrimination and unlawful treatment of people with behavioral health disabilities, Garland said.
Suppose evidence of a pattern of illegal practices is found. In that case, the investigation could possibly lead to a civil lawsuit seeking to force the city to undertake radical reforms in its police department.
Garland said the Department of Justice would be adamant in achieving equal justice before the law.
For his part, after Chauvin's conviction, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, called Floyd's relatives to express that he felt "relieved" after learning the verdict. Then he addressed the nation together with the vice president, Kamala Harris, from the White House.
"This can be a great step forward in the march toward justice in America," Biden said, calling on citizens to "unite" against racism and violence.
Racism is a spot on the heart of our nation, he added.
Harris, the nation's first black woman, and the first vice president called this "a day of justice in America."
Barack Obama, the country's first black president, said that "a jury did the right thing," but that "true justice requires much more."
At least 12 years in jail
After three weeks of trial in Minneapolis, the 12 jurors from diverse ethnic backgrounds, who had been deliberating since Monday, concluded that former officer Derek Chauvin was guilty of all three counts against him: second and third murder.
Judge Cahill will deliver a sentence in eight weeks. Chauvin can spend at least 12 1/2 years in jail. Still, his sentence could be significantly extended if the magistrate finds there are aggravating circumstances.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin was videotaped kneeling for more than nine minutes on Floyd's neck, despite the burly 46-year-old man, handcuffed on the ground, pleading, "Please, I can't breathe."
The photographs taken by passersby witnesses for the arrest of Floyd on charges of buying cigarettes with a fake $20 bill were viewed by millions of people at home and abroad.