The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new policy that prohibits the use of police chokes, as well as limiting the instances where “no knock” entries can be used, in an effort to build trust between officers and the public.
In a statement Tuesday, DOJ officials unveiled a series of new department-wide policies for federal agents, who are believed to be among the “The important steps the ministry is taking to improve the security and accountability of law enforcement. “
Under the new directive, federal law enforcement will be prohibited from using “chokes” and “carotid restraints” unless lethal force is permitted. On the contrary, the use of such techniques will only be authorized “When the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the object of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person”.
Examples of when “without knocking” entries are allowed were also limited to only situations where “Physical security is at stake”. In announcing the measures, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that “Building trust between law enforcement and the public we serve is at the heart of our mission at the Department of Justice. “
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The latest reforms follow the Department of Justice which recently announced the first phase of its body camera program for law enforcement, starting with officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix and Detroit. The program needs to be expanded to include more federal agents in an effort to improve accountability, the DOJ said.
The use of strangles and arrest warrants have become major concerns among groups calling for law enforcement reforms to address the systematic racism of the U.S. police against the black community. In June, former Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd after kneeling on his neck in what has become a lightning rod of police brutality in the United States.
Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police following a no-knocking entry in March 2020, in a murder that also caught the attention of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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