Following an announcement last week that they would be investigating the possibly racist and discriminatory actions of the Minneapolis Police Department following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland have ramped up their efforts at curbing police violence and promoting police reform. Now, the DOJ has announced that it will also be investigating the Louisville Police Department for similarly inappropriate and potentially criminal activities.
The Louisville Metro Police Department came under fire last year for its role in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home following a no-knock police raid on her apartment.
In an announcement of the new probe from DOJ headquarters, Garland said that the “investigations, and the recommendations and actions that ensue, do not only protect individual civil rights. They also assist police departments in developing measures to increase transparency and accountability.”
“It is clear that the public officials in Minneapolis and Louisville, including those in law enforcement, recognize the importance and urgency of our efforts. We come to them as partners, knowing that we share a common aim,” Garland added.
According to The Hill reporters Rebecca Beitsch, John Kruzel and Marty Johnson, “Garland did not mention Taylor by name, and a senior DOJ official later said the investigation was not opened because of one specific incident.”
The reporters added that Garland’s announcement “tees up greater federal oversight of local police departments, giving the DOJ an avenue to bring civil suits against police departments with a pattern of using excessive force or discriminatory practices against certain groups of people, such as people of color or people with disabilities.”
To conduct the investigations in Minneapolis and Louisville, the DOJ will be hiring a number of new lawyers who specialize in criminal investigations and will now have a “consent decree” over both police departments, giving them full oversight over the departments’ actions for what could be a period of years.
“In both Louisville and Minneapolis, the pattern or practice reviews will run parallel to open criminal investigations that the department had previously opened regarding the deaths of Taylor and Floyd,” The Hill added.