Unheard Voices

Banning Chokeholds

A chokehold ban will help move us further toward eliminating racially motivated police violence and reducing the historical and national tensions/distrust between minority communities and police agencies. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, passed by U.S. House, sets federal standards that prohibit the use of deadly force, including chokeholds, by federal officers except as a last resort to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury following de-escalation techniques. Officers who use chokeholds would be subject to prosecution under federal statute.

4 Johnson v Glick, 481 F.2d 1028 (2nd Cir. 1973)
5 New York City Citizens Complaint Review Board. A Mutated Rule: Lack of Enforcement in the Face of Persistent Chokehold Complaints in New York City. Published June, 2014.

National standards are necessary to ensure protection against excessive use of force, including chokeholds, for all Americans. At the same time, states and local jurisdictions cannot wait onCongress to implement reforms that protect their citizens and hold police accountable.

As state, local, and federal lawmakers, mayors, law enforcement, and other key stakeholders consider advancing police reform in their respective jurisdiction, CJR recommends the following:

  • Banning chokeholds and similar restraints.
  • Emphasizing training in de-escalation and appropriate restraint techniques on the use-of-force spectrum.
  • Working collaboratively with communities most impacted to develop and implement culturally responsive policy solutions.
  • Providing additional federal funding to research various aspects of the criminal justice system
  • in order to inform and advance policies and programs that treat all citizens equally.

Example Use of force policies post George Floyd

  • Houston Police Department Use of Force Policy
  • San Diego Police Department
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department