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The Department of Justice is investigating the Louisiana State Police for excessive force and racially discriminatory policing

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Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke announced the department’s civil model-or-practice investigation in a press conference with federal prosecutors, saying they would determine whether the Louisiana State Police use excessive force and engage in racially discriminatory policing practices against blacks and other people of color .

June 9 (News) — The Justice Department launched a full civil rights investigation into Louisiana state police on Thursday, as evidence suggests officers are targeting black residents and using excessive force.

“Based on a comprehensive review of the publicly available information and the information provided to us, we find important justification for opening this investigation now,” she said.

Allegations against police have been mounting since at least May 2019, when Ronald Greene, a 49-year-old black motorist, died in police custody. Video footage of the arrest shows Green died after white soldiers beat and drugged him after he failed to stop for a traffic violation. At the end of January, the federal prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into his death.

Clarke said support for his investigation, which is separate from any ongoing criminal investigations by the department, includes information about the repeated use of excessive force, often against people charged with minor traffic violations, against handcuffed suspects who refuse to be arrested resisted.

“In some cases, the injuries sustained by these individuals were serious, including the death of at least one person,” she said.

If violations are found, they will work with the state to reach an agreement on changes, and if an agreement cannot be reached, the Justice Department has the power to file a civil suit to seek an injunction against law enforcement, she said.

“Our investigation will be thorough and comprehensive.”

It is the first model-or-practice investigation by a state law enforcement agency by the Justice Department in more than two decades, but the fifth it has launched against a police department under the Biden administration.

Probes launched in Louisville, Minneapolis, Phoenix and at Mt. Vernon in New York are underway.

“Every American, regardless of race, has the right to constitutional policing,” she said. “And we know that constitutional policing is necessary to ensure public trust and enhance public safety.”

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Ronald Gathe said the state police are the model of all law enforcement agencies within the state and whether lawful processes are being followed must be answered to restore the connection between the community and the police force.

“Our goal is to regain the trust of those who have lost trust in the system and bring justice to all,” he said.

US Attorney Duane Evans called Thursday “a very important day” for the state, and while there are good, hard-working officers in Louisiana, they cannot ignore any allegation of a constitutional violation, let alone a pattern of unconstitutional policing.

“No one should be deprived of the protections of our federal and state constitutions,” he said. “Before the law we are all equal and entitled to a fair, efficient, consistent and constitutional prosecution.”

Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis were briefed on the investigation ahead of the announcement and issued a joint statement pledged their cooperation and support.

“It is deeply troubling that there are allegations of systemic misconduct that would warrant this type of investigation, but it is absolutely critical that all Louisians, particularly African Americans and others of color, maintain their faith, trust and trust in the officials of the… restore public safety. ‘ said Edwards.

Davis said his officers are making a difference in the communities they monitor, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t betraying the trust of the citizens they’re tasked with protecting and that of their peers.

“It is our agency’s responsibility to uphold our oath to public safety and make the necessary changes to ensure this never happens again,” he said.

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