Choke holds forbidden in future: Minneapolis adopts first police reform

The violent death of the African American George Floyd in Minneapolis draws hundreds of thousands to the streets around the world to demonstrate against police violence. The city’s mayor has now announced reforms. In California, too, police officers are said to be banned from certain behavior.

After the brutal arrest of the African-American George Floyd, the city of Minneapolis initiated the first reforms of its police force. In the future, officials should no longer use strangleholds and suspects should not hold onto the neck, said Mayor Jacob Frey following a city council meeting. In addition, all police officers who witness an “unauthorized use of force” by their colleagues would have to report this under threat of punishment. All officers are also obliged to intervene in such cases, otherwise they face the same disciplinary consequences as the perpetrator.

The legally binding reforms agreed with the state of Minnesota are a good step to change the culture of the police and “uproot systematic racism,” wrote Frey on Twitter. At the same time, he admitted that the reforms are only a first step. “We still have a long way to go to make change – not just in city politics, but also in state law and the police union contract,” he said.

In California, too, a stranglehold, in which the blood supply to the brain is cut off, is to be banned in the future. The governor of the West Coast state, Gavin Newsom, said the method would be banned from the training program for police officers, and that a legal regulation should also follow. The governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also presented a draft law which, among other things, is supposed to ban the stranglehold on police operations. In addition, files on previous misconduct by police officers should be made transparent.

Violations of the curfew will go unpunished

Manhattan’s attorney Cy Vance also announced that he would not prosecute any violations of the night curfew. The cases of protesters arrested for unlawful gathering or disruptive behavior during the protests will not be prosecuted, Vance said. “The prosecution of demonstrators charged with these minor offenses undermines important links between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” the statement said.

The 46-year-old Floyd died on Monday last week in an arrest in Minneapolis. A white police officer held his knee on the back of the neck of the man lying on the ground for several minutes, who repeatedly said he could not breathe. In the past few days tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the United States to protest against racism and police brutality.

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