The U.S. Justice Department bans chokeholds and no-knock raids for federal officers
The United States Justice Department has announced a new policy that bans chokeholds and no-knock raids for federal officers. Under the new policy, federal officers will only be allowed to used chokeholds and no-knock raids when lethal force is authorized. This new policy applies to Federal Law enforcement officers such as the DEA, ICE, FBI, Border Patrol, and the U.S. Marshal Service.
Breonna Taylor was killed when police in Louisville were executing a no-knock raid at her apartment. A no-knock raid, or a no-knock warrant, is a search warrant that allows police officers to enter certain premises without first knocking and announcing their presence. In the case of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, the police got a warrant, broke down the door to surprise the occupants inside the premises. By conducting this raid unannounced, one of the occupants inside starting firing at the officers because they believed it was a home invasion. Breonna Taylor died when police returned fire.
Chokeholds and other restraints meant to restrict blood flow to the brain drew widespread criticism after the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. According to the Washington Post, at least 32 of the nation’s 65 largest police departments have banned or strengthened restrictions on the use of neck restraints since the death of George Floyd. However, an NPR review of bans on neck restraints in some of the nation’s largest police departments found them largely ineffective and subject to lax enforcement. And when chokeholds specifically were banned, a variation on the neck restraint was often permitted instead.
While the new policy by the Justice Department is a step in the right direction, there is concern that the measure does not go far enough. Many times, federal law enforcement work together with local law enforcement, and there is nothing in this policy prohibiting these local law enforcement agencies from executing no-knock raids or engaging in chokeholds and other restraints meant to restrict blood flow to the brain, especially if these local law enforcement agencies do not have a policy in place restricting the use of these police tactics.
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