The department told officials there on Wednesday morning before Mr. Garland’s announcement that it would be investigating the police.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota noted in a statement that the state’s Department of Human Rights had opened its own civil rights investigation and obtained “a groundbreaking temporary restraining order” against the department. Now, “under the leadership of President Biden and Attorney General Garland, the United States Department of Justice is also answering the call,” Mr. Walz said.

Mr. Garland said the federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department was separate from the existing Justice Department criminal investigation into whether Mr. Chauvin violated Mr. Floyd’s civil rights.

The broader inquiry will be led by career lawyers and staff in the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota. They have already contacted community groups and residents and will question police officers as well, Mr. Garland said.

In addition to examining whether the department routinely uses excessive force — including during protests — investigators will look into whether officers’ treatment of people with behavioral health disabilities is unlawful. They will also review the department’s policies, including whether they are effective at ensuring that police officers act lawfully.

Mr. Floyd’s death underscored longstanding allegations of racism against the Minneapolis police force that have been so serious and sustained that Chief Arradondo sued his own department earlier in his career. Black residents have often filed excessive force complaints against Minneapolis officers, including Mr. Chauvin, who pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground for more than nine minutes.

Officers already felt pressure because of the scrutiny from community members and elected leaders over the years, said Inspector Charles Adams of the Minneapolis Police Department. While a Justice Department investigation could be beneficial, he said, he also expressed concern that officers could be more reluctant to police proactively out of fear that an interaction could go wrong.

“Now that’s going to heighten it even more,” he said.

If federal investigators find that the department has engaged in unlawful policing, Mr. Garland said, the Justice Department would issue a public report. It can also sue the department and enter into a settlement agreement or consent decree to help ensure that the department is overhauled.

The challenges in addressing systemic racial inequities “are deeply woven into our history,” Mr. Garland said, adding that it would take time and effort to build “trust between community and law enforcement.”

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and John Eligon contributed reporting from Minneapolis.

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