US finds Minneapolis police had pattern of using excessive force

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The US Department of Justice released findings from its two-year investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department on Friday, concluding the department had a pattern or practice of using excessive force and discriminating against Black people.

The investigation was launched in April 2021 after a white former police officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murdering George Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes after he had been handcuffed.

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The city has agreed to negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department on reforming the police department known as a consent decree, which will be overseen by a federal judge, the DOJ said.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the findings at a press conference outside the federal courthouse in Minneapolis alongside Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Brian O’Hara.

The killing of Floyd in May 2020, captured in a bystander’s cellphone video, sparked protests across the US decrying police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system. In Minneapolis, protesters damaged property, including a police precinct house that was set ablaze.

Many people in Minneapolis complained that Chauvin’s excessive use of force against Floyd was not exceptional, and that the city’s police officers had long abused the rights of Black residents.

The Justice Department’s investigation was launched to see if the city government or the police department had a “pattern or practice” of using excessive force or discriminatory policing.

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