The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday banned the use of chokeholds by federal law enforcement agencies except in rare cases and imposed strict restrictions on so-called “no knock” items.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the new policy was intended to “improve law enforcement safety and accountability.”
“Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Department of Justice,” Garland said in a statement.
The use of chokeholds and “no knock” options – when law enforcement enters a premises unannounced – has been found in several recent cases in the United States over the deaths of black men and women in the hands of the police.
Eric Garner, a black man, died in New York in 2014 after being admitted to a banned suffocation room by police who tried to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes.
Another African-American, George Floyd, died in May 2020 when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes, a case that sparked protests against racial rights and police brutality throughout the United States.
And a black woman, Breonna Taylor, was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 2020 in a failed raid on her apartment.
The new policy prohibits the use of chokeholds or “carotid arteries” unless lethal force is permitted, defined as “when the officer has a reasonable belief that the object of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person. . “
“No knock” items will only be allowed in situations “where an agent has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence against the agent and / or another person,” Garland said in a statement. statement.
The Justice Department’s policy comes as Republicans in the Senate have blocked approval of a police reform proposal.
The “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021” has already been approved by the democratically controlled House of Representatives.
The law would ban 18,000 police forces in the country from using chokeholds, many of whom have already done so unilaterally.
According to the Police Use of Force Project, which has examined the use of violent policies in 100 of America’s largest police departments, 71 now ban chokeholds, up from 28 before George Floyd’s death.
There are more than 130,000 members in federal law enforcement, according to the Justice Department, and more than 460,000 at the state and local levels.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)