The U.S. Justice Department on Monday launched a civil probe of the Louisville, Kentucky, police department whose officers last year fatally shot Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, in a botched raid, sparking street protests against police violence.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the probe, which will focus on the police department and the Louisville-Jefferson County government, will evaluate whether the police routinely use unreasonable force, including on protesters, as well as if they routinely conduct unconstitutional searches.
The move came five days after the department began a similar review of the Minneapolis Police Department after its former officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a Black man, last year.
The inquiries mark a sharp shift in the department’s focus under Democratic President Joe Biden, who has made racial justice a priority and plans to discuss police reform in his first speech to Congress on Wednesday.
Garland said the investigation would also look at whether Louisville police regularly engage in racially discriminatory practices or deny access to public services for people with disabilities.