The U.S. Department of Justice promised a “robust criminal investigation” into the death of George Floyd in a statement released Thursday.
A joint statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office said the investigation into the fatal Monday night incident is “a top priority.”
“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter,” said the statement.
“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law. It is a violation of federal law for an individual acting under color of law to willfully deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,” it continued.
If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought, the statement noted.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the matter Thursday by Attorney General Bill Barr and the FBI after a night of riots and destruction left portions of Minneapolis in ruins.
“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd,” the president said on Twitter Wednesday. “I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement.”
“My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!” Trump added.
….I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News Thursday that the president “was very upset by that tape,” referring to video of a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed Floyd.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2020
“That was an egregious, egregious thing to watch. It was hard to watch,” she said. “He’s directed the FBI to get to the bottom of this because we should never, ever, ever have to watch a tape like that again. It was appalling.”
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