WATCH: After Derek Chauvin Conviction, Merrick Garland Announces Next Step
Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday in the murder of George Floyd, after the world saw video amounting to nearly ten minutes of his knee on Floyd’s back while the victim begged to be allowed to breathe. There was a moment of celebration and a collective sigh of relief among communities that have worked to combat police brutality — but even in that moment, voices arose to remind the nation that this could not be the end.
Following Chauvin’s conviction, the rallying cry became that this represents not justice, but accountability. Senator Bernie Sanders, among others, tweeted to remind that true justice requires a level of reform so that there are no more victims like Floyd.
The jury's verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person. https://t.co/JyJFztQbDu
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 20, 2021
Wednesday morning, not yet a full day after the jury returned a verdict, finding Chauvin guilty on all three counts leveled against him, Attorney General Merrick Garland stepped forward to announce that next step.
Attorney General Merrick Garland: "Today, I am announcing that @TheJusticeDept has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing." pic.twitter.com/CG8MEEoqfC
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 21, 2021
He announced that the Justice Department would be opening an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, including whether the department systematically uses excessive force against protestors, whether the department has a pattern of bias, and what, if any, additional measures must be taken to correct these and other issues.
After the investigation, Garland explained the next steps.
“If the Justice Department concludes there is reasonable cause to believe there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing we will issue a public report of our conclusion…Usually, when the Justice Department finds unlawful practices or patterns of practices, the local police department enters into a…consent decree to ensure that prompt and effective action is taken to align policing practices with the law.”
He also reminded the nation that police accountability is a good thing for all involved:
“Most of our nation’s 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.”