Minneapolis Council Votes to Ban Police Chokeholds After George Floyd Death

June 5, 2020 Updated: June 6, 2020

The Minneapolis City Council has voted to approve an agreement that will no longer allow the city’s police forces to use neck restraints and chokeholds.

The council, at a virtual meeting on June 5, voted on the deal, which came out of negotiations between elected officials and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which launched a civil rights investigation in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer restrained him with a knee to the neck and head area for nearly nine minutes.

His official cause of death, according to the full 20-page report made public on Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, was cardiopulmonary arrest while Floyd was being restrained by police.

The autopsy also cited “complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” The manner of death was listed as homicide.

Derek Chauvin kneels on the neck of George Floyd
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneels on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe, in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25, 2020. (Darnella Frazier via AP)

The newly adopted agreement orders the City of Minneapolis to amend its police department policy manual in a way so as to “prohibit the use of all neck restraints and choke holds for any reason.”

It also imposes measures meant to increase transparency and accountability around police discipline cases and the use of crowd-control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds.

Epoch Times Photo
A police officer responds during a protest in the city of Detroit, Mich., on May 29, 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images)

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said at the meeting that he hopes the agreement will prompt changes to policing methods elsewhere in the country.

“This is a moment in time where we can totally change the way our police department operates,” Frey said. “We can quite literally lead the way in our nation enacting more police reform than any other city in the entire country and we cannot fail.”

The agreement, which calls on the policy manual to be amended within 10 days, will require any officer, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately report the use of any neck restraint or choke hold from the scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors.

Epoch Times Photo
Police officers detain a man during a demonstration in Detroit, Mich., on May 29, 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images)

Also, any officer who sees another officer commit any unauthorized use of force, including any choke hold or neck restraint, must try to intervene verbally and even physically. Failure of an officer to intervene will subject him or her to discipline as severe as if they themselves had used the prohibited force.

The agreement also authorizes civilian experts to audit police body worn camera footage and file or amend complaints on behalf of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, with the aim of identifying discriminatory practices in policing and officer misconduct.

The agreement, which passed by 12 yes votes, still requires the approval of a judge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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