“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,” Garland said. “But we undertake this task with determination and urgency, knowing that change cannot wait.”
The broad federal civil investigation will include a “comprehensive review” of the Minneapolis Police Department’s “policies, training, supervision and use of force investigations,” he announced.
It will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests,” whether it engages in “discriminatory conduct,” and whether “its treatment of those with behavioral health disabilities is unlawful,” Garland said.
Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for manslaughter. Three other officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — are expected to go on trial in August.
The new civil investigation is separate from an independent federal criminal investigation into the death of Floyd, which is still ongoing, according to the attorney general.
Garland acknowledged that police officers have “difficult jobs,” but added, “I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices. Good officers welcome accountability.”
Calls for policing reform
Floyd’s death reignited a year of protests and reckoning about US policing, with Democratic and progressive calls to reform the system.
Garland at the time said the Justice Department’s efforts would include using grants to help police departments around the country “improve their practices through funding and technical assistance, leverage to promote policing policies that benefit communities and enhance trust.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Jessica Schneider contributed to this report.