San Jose Police Adopt Formal Ban on Chokeholds

Although chokeholds have never been permitted, San Jose police announced a formal ban Monday.

The police department in San Jose, California, has formally banned the use of chokeholds to subdue suspects in the wake of community concern.

The practice came under fire after the 2014 death of Eric Garner, a New York man who was placed in a chokehold by police. His last words — "I can't breathe" — ignited a firestorm around the country.

A grand jury declined to indict officer, but a supervisor at the scene was stripped of her gun and badge and charged internally.

After Garner's death, San Jose's former independent police auditor LaDoris Cordell recommended explicitly banning chokeholds in the department's duty manual.

Although the practice has never been permitted, San Jose police announced the formal ban in a statement Monday.

"It is our belief that this policy will alleviate the community's concern over its use as a control technique while providing officers in deadly force situations every available means to survive those encounters," Acting Chief of Police Eddie Garcia said.

San Jose's new police auditor, Walter Katz, commended the department for now being a "leader in best practices for law enforcement."

The policy bars chokeholds as a means of restraint but keeps it available to officers in a life-or-death situation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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