Choke holds banned for Minnesota police in wake of George Floyd's death

Any officer who sees one is bound to report it.

Christy Strawser
June 05, 2020 - 2:22 pm

    (WCCO) Choke holds are now banned for police in Minnesota as part of an agreement between the city and the state outlining immediate changes that have to be implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd's death.  

    The agreement goes further than just a ban and also requires that any officer, regardless of tenure or rank, immediately report the use of any type of neck restraint or choke hold to their superiors.

    It comes after the Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department June 2 after filing a civil rights charge related to Floyd's death. The investigation into policies, procedures and practices over the past 10 years will determine if the MPD has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of color and ensure any such practices are stopped.

    The order specifies that MPD and the city must implement the measure immediately.

    The eyes of the world are in Minneapolis and the changes it implements since uprisings spread across the country following Floyd's death. Protesters have run the gamut of response from clashes with police, arrests, looting, and fires to peaceful demonstrations in cities from Los Angeles to New York.  

    Meanwhile, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced aiding and abetting murder charges against former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao in the death of George Floyd, while increasing the charge against Officer Derek Chauvin from third to second-degree murder. All four former police officers who were caught on tape during Floyd's arrest are now in jail.

    "I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second degree murder," Ellison said, adding, "I strongly believe these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr. Floyd."

    He added, though, that winning a conviction against a police officer for murder will be hard. "I say this not because we doubt our resources or our ability ... but history does show there are clear challenges here."

    Other changes outlined in the agreement include:

    • Only the police chief or the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief or above may authorize the use of crowd control weapons during protests and demonstrations.
    • The police chief must make timely discipline decisions as outlined in the order.
    • Civilian body warn camera analysts and investigators with the City’s Office of Police Conduct Review have the authority to proactively audit body worn camera footage and file or amend complaints on behalf of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.
    • The order also commits the city to working with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on several fronts to build toward systemic change within MPD as part of the long-term investigation. 

    The city will prepare a report listing all of the state of Minnesota laws that impede public transparency of police data and/or prevent the mayor and police chief and/or impede civilian oversight from disciplining and terminating police officers who do not adhere to Minneapolis Police Department policies and standards. The report is due by July 30, 2020.

    Minnesotans with information that can further the investigation into the MPD should contact the Department of Human Rights atmn.gov/mdhr or 651-539-1100.

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