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DOJ announces sweeping probe into Minneapolis policing practices after Chauvin verdict

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced that the Justice Department will open a sweeping investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a "pattern or practice" of discriminatory policing practices.

Why it matters: The federal probe, which will also examine MPD's handling of misconduct allegations, could result in significant changes to policing in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

  • The announcement comes a day after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, setting off celebrations across the country.
  • The Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr announced a separate federal civil rights investigation into Floyd's death last year, and reportedly empaneled a grand jury as it called new witnesses in February, according to the New York Times.

What they're saying: "Yesterday's verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis," Garland said in an address Wednesday.

  • "Today I'm 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."

Flashback: While Barr considered opening a discriminatory practices probe into MPD soon after Floyd's murder, he refrained from doing so in fear that it "could cause further divisions in law enforcement amid widespread protests and civil unrest," AP reports, citing three sources familiar with the matter.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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