Status of Chokehold Prohibitions in the U.S. The death of George Floyd during a routine arrest by Minneapolis police officers sparked a global movement calling for an end to brutality, racial injustice, and rampant misconduct by law enforcement agencies. George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a veteran officer who placed the full weight of his body on top of the 46-year-old man as he laid handcuffed on the pavement, effectively causing asphyxiation. The incident was filmed and shared across online social networks.
Floyd’s violent and completely unnecessary death recalled the 2014 murder of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old resident of New York who was choked to death by former police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Similar to the Floyd incident, the murder of Eric Garner was recorded on digital video and widely distributed on social media platforms.
Garner and Floyd are just two names on the list of victims of suffocation by law enforcement agents in the United States. Others include Jonny Gammage of Pittsburgh and Jonathan Sanders of Mississippi; these are just the ones that have resulted in protests and widespread indignation. Floyd’s death can be seen as the last straw because it has prompted discourse and legislative action calling for reform of law enforcement procedures and tactics. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a reform bill inspired by public reaction to the Floyd incident, and it focuses on prohibiting choke restraints and other asphyxiation maneuvers.
Ahead of the House bill, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have been taking their own measures to eliminate chokeholds from their standard operating procedures. Here is a partial list:
This was the first city to quickly eliminate neck restraint maneuvers, and it plans to eradicate misconduct among all law enforcement officers.
State legislators want to enact a ban on choke restraints in all law enforcement agencies. The bill passed with strong support from all political factions.
In addition to prohibiting asphyxiation maneuvers, council members in the City of Brotherly Love plan on a total reform of law enforcement departments, including sizable budget cuts.
The most populous city on the West Coast already has a ban in place for what is described as a traditional chokehold, but legislators will revise procedures to ensure that no other neck restraints are used.
New York City
Officer David Afanador could face seven years in prison after pleading not guilty to two counts of aggravated assault during the arrest of a man choked to unconsciousness. Prosecutors fell short of accusing Afanador of attempted murder.
The Mile-High City plans on adopting some of the measures enacted by New York City, particularly with regard to zero tolerance of police brutality.
Before the matter is discussed at the municipal level, senior law enforcement officials in Durham, Raleigh, and Fayetteville are implementing a series of measures to prohibit chokeholds and other restraints that are tantamount to brutality.