NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating two Louisiana police departments on suspicion of engaging in a pattern of wrongly detaining people while conducting criminal investigations, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The investigation will explore whether officers with the Ville Platte Police Department and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office, in central Louisiana, have engaged in the unconstitutional practice of using "investigative holds" to keep people locked up without charge, the agency said.
"No individual should be detained without proper cause or arrested in violation of his or her civil rights," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
The Justice Department has conducted similar investigations that have led to changes in police departments elsewhere the country, it said.
Officials with the Ville Platte Police Department and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)