© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Louisville police stood guard as protesters marched during a peaceful protest after the grand jury decided not to issue murder charges against police officers in connection with the Breonna shooting Taylor, in Louisville
By Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Department of Justice on Monday opened a civil investigation by the Louisville, Kentucky police department, where police last year shot and killed Breonna Taylor, a black woman, in a unsuccessful raid, sparking street protests against police violence.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the investigation, which will focus on both the police department as well as the Louisville Jefferson County subway administration, will consider whether police are involved in “a form or behavior of use. unreasonable force, including against those involved. in peaceful expression activities. “
The investigation will also check whether the police “were involved in unlawful detention, search, and seizure and whether the department illegally executed a home search warrant,” Garland added.
The announcement comes five days after the department began reconsidering the Minneapolis Police Department after its former officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, a black man, in May.
Questions mark a drastic shift in the department’s focus under Democratic President Joe Biden, who made racial justice a priority and plans to discuss police reform in his first speech. First before Congress on Wednesday.
Garland said the investigation will look into whether Louisville police regularly engage in racist operations.
The Department of Justice will try to negotiate remedies for any violations discovered in its investigation, but if the department and city officials are unable to come to an agreement, the department may initiate an agreement. lawsuit, Garland said.
The deaths of Floyd and Taylor helped spark nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Only one of three officers involved in the Taylor shooting faced the charge.
However, officials at the FBI and the Louisville US Attorney’s Office are investigating other officers involved, a law enforcement official told Reuters.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher and the city’s sheriff, Erika Shields, have scheduled a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT).
The administration of former President Donald Trump has sharply restricted the use of court enforcement agreements to prevent police departments from violating citizens’ civil rights.
Garland rescinded that policy this month, saying it would resume its traditional activities of investigating state and local police departments, and allowing unit heads to approve it. all the agreements and consent decrees.
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