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Renewed call to abolish law enforcement ‘chokehold’

An old controversy resurfaces

Merdis Hayes managing editor | 6/12/2020, midnight

An immediate moratorium on the Los Angeles Police Department’s training and use of carotid artery restraints, also known as sleeper holds, was issued this week by Chief Michel Moore.

The LAPD has faced this issue before, having been accused of applying the controversial restraint tactic indiscriminately against African-Americans in South Los Angeles in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The moratorium will be in place until the Board of Police Commissioners conducts a detailed review of the department’s policy regarding the maneuver. It was agreed upon by Moore and Police Commission President Eileen Decker, according to a statement by the LAPD.

Pasadena Police Department Chief John Perez also suspended the use of carotid-restraint controls by his department’s officers, the department reported Sunday. The department’s use-of-force experts say they are exploring alternative techniques and options for confrontations with dangerous or violent suspects.

“The carotid hold blocks the flow of blood to the brain. It’s a dangerous tactic that should not be used by law enforcement,’’ Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted on June 5.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to consider a number of proposals at its Tuesday meeting related to criminal justice reforms and police protests, including support for a statewide ban on carotid artery restraints.

Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas had filed a motion in support of “8 Can’t Wait’’ use-of-force policies recommended by the advocacy group Campaign Zero.

The motion called on Sheriff Alex Villanueva and all 46 police departments in Los Angeles County to adopt the restrictions, which include limiting the use of chokeholds and requiring a warning before shooting.

Villanueva declared his support for the “8 Can’t Wait’’ policies in a tweet Monday, posting that “@LASDHQ has been at the forefront of Use of Force training. Campaign Zero echoes the #LASD use of force principles and we encourage all law enforcement to mirror our 21st Century use of force policies.’’

Campaign Zero is led by Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, data scientist Samuel Sinyangwe and policy advocate Brittany N. Packnett Cunningham.