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Minneapolis, California move to end police neck restraints

By Sharon Bernstein

(Reuters) – The Minneapolis City Council on Friday voted to end use of chokeholds and neck restraints like that used by a white police officer who pressed his knee into the neck of unarmed black man George Floyd on May 25, sparking coast-to-coast protests.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would end state police training in carotid restraints similar to the technique used on Floyd by former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin while three officers stood by and watched as Floyd died after pleading for his life.

The Minneapolis police fired all four officers, and they have been charged with murder. The incident has communities across the United States reconsidering use of such restraints.

The Minneapolis decision came in response to a Minnesota state human rights complaint against the city. In a proposed court order that must be approved by a judge, the Minneapolis City Council said it would ban all chokeholds and neck holds, and require any member of the police department to immediately report any unauthorized use of force by an officer.

“Black, Indigenous, and communities of color have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism and long-standing problems in policing,” said the proposed order which the council approved unanimously.

San Diego County in California this week also banned the carotid restraint, in which an officer blocks the flow of blood to a detainee’s brain, leading to unconsciousness.

Newsom said he supports legislation to ban use of the technique in local police departments throughout California.

“At the end of the day the carotid hold is literally designed to stop people’s blood from flowing into their brain,” Newsom said. “That has no place any longer.”

Many police departments have ended the use of so-called chokeholds, which put pressure on a detainee’s windpipe, but have still allowed carotid restraints.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Sandra Maler and David Gregorio)

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