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Justice Dept. opens investigation of Minneapolis police after Chauvin verdict

By
Don Johnson
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks Wednesday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and announces a federal investigation into the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department, following the conviction of former cop Derek Chauvin for George Floyd's death. Photo by Andrew Harnik/UPI/Pool
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks Wednesday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and announces a federal investigation into the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department, following the conviction of former cop Derek Chauvin for George Floyd's death. Photo by Andrew Harnik/UPI/Pool | License Photo

April 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday that the Justice Department will open an investigation into police practices in Minneapolis, a day after a jury there convicted former cop Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on all three counts in Floyd's death a year ago -- second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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"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," Garland said in remarks at the Justice Department.

Garland said the Chauvin verdict does not address "potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis."

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Jurors came to their decision after 10 hours of deliberations and some three weeks of testimony, which included dozens of witnesses. The judge revoked Chauvin's bail and remanded him into custody immediately after the verdict was announced.

Garland said the federal probe will examine whether Minneapolis police have engaged in excessive force, discriminatory conduct or abused those with mental or physical disabilities. He said the inquiry will include police conduct during protests related to Floyd's death.

"Nothing can fill the void the loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death," Garland said. "My heart goes out to them and to all those who have experienced similar loss."

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Tuesday, Garland said a criminal investigation that began last year is ongoing. That inquiry was opened soon after Floyd died on May 25, 2020, during an arrest in which Chauvin pressed his knee down on Floyd's neck for almost 10 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying on the ground.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge, 25 years on the third-degree charge and 10 years on the manslaughter count. The judge said he'd set a sentencing hearing in about eight weeks.

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