By Thomas Catenacci
Top police organizations and unions will reportedly express concern to Attorney General Merrick Garland about his racism probe into the Minneapolis Police Department, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The groups are expected to confront Garland and other Justice Department (DOJ) officials about the investigations during a meeting Friday afternoon, the WSJ reported. While many of the groups’ leaders have endorsed various police reforms since George Floyd’s death last year, they worried a broad probe would be unproductive and hurt rank-and-file officers.
“We recognize that there needs to be more oversight, there needs to be some reform in place, but we need DOJ to work with us because there has to be buy-in from the line men and women who do this job,” David Mahoney, president of the National Sheriffs’ Association and sheriff of Dane County, Wisconsin, told the WSJ.
Garland announced the DOJ would open a pattern or practice investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department on Wednesday, one day after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering Floyd. The broad investigation will examine whether the department engages in excessive force, unlawful policing and discriminatory practices, Garland said.
“I do also think we have to be careful,” Art Acevedo, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Miami police chief, told the WSJ. “Consent decrees should be the exception. Tell us what we need to do, and then if we don’t do it, put us in a consent decree.”
Acevedo also noted that federal investigations can be valuable in building trust with communities, according to the WSJ.
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the largest police union in the U.S., confirmed that it would also attend the meeting, but wouldn’t give details on its agenda other than the fact it disagreed broadly with Garland, according to the WSJ.
“We are sure that, given the issues of the day, we won’t always agree with the attorney general,” FOP Executive Director Jim Pasco told the WSJ. “But we are very comfortable that with him and his team there, all of our conversations will be civil and constructive.”
A FOP spokesperson confirmed that Pasco would attend the meeting Friday in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
FOP President Patrick Yoes applauded the verdict in Chauvin’s trial on Tuesday, saying “the trial was fair and due process was served.” But Yoes urged the public to continue to regard law enforcement with respect.
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