Missouri's Sen. Blunt wants more federal police reviews

Associated Press
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., center, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Standing with Blunt are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., from left, Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on Wednesday called on the U.S. attorney general to act in response to nationwide protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. 

"In the wake of the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Americans are rightfully demanding justice and accountability," Blunt wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. 

Blunt asked him to launch more pattern-of-practice reviews, which are reviews of police agencies, possible misconduct and their handling of protests.

The U.S. Department of Justice previously used that process to investigate Ferguson's police department following months of protests after the fatal police shoot of unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. Local police promised change through a consent decree.

"Unfortunately, news reports indicate that the Department of Justice has walked away from pattern-or-practice reviews in recent years," Blunt wrote to Barr. "Additionally, the Department of Justice implemented a policy change in November 2018 that placed tighter restrictions on the use of consent decrees, making it more difficult to pursue reforms where they are needed."

Blunt called for more pattern-of-practice reviews and consent decrees. 

An Associated Press request for comment to the U.S. Department of Justice wasn't immediately returned Thursday.