Minneapolis Bans Police Choke Holds Following George Floyd Death, Consider Disbanding Department

Changes are coming to the way Minneapolis police work in the city following George Floyd's death. The city council unanimously voted to ban chokeholds and the use of neck restraints by the Minneapolis Police Department and approved other changes to police procedures. Ahead of the vote, City Council Member Steve Fletcher voiced support for completely disbanding the police force and coming up with a new way to ensure public safety.

The new rules ban officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints on civilians "for any reason," Bring Me The News reports. All police officers, no matter the rank, also have an "affirmative duty" to report other officers for using unauthorized force while still on the scene. The officers also have a duty to stop another officer from using unauthorized force and could face the same punishment as the officer who committed the act.

The chief of police must also personally approve using chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash banks, batons, and marking rounds for crowd control during protests, according to the new rules. If the chief is not immediately available, a ranking officer or deputy chief must give their approval. The Minneapolis City Council also required the police chief to decide on disciplinary recommended by the City’s Office of Police Conduct Review within 45 days and the public must be notified immediately.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed the order after it was passed 12-0. The order was based on recommendations from the Minneapolis Department of Human Rights, which launched its own investigation into the police department's practices over the past decade. "While the civil rights investigation continues, these immediate changes are designed to stop ongoing irreparable harm to Black, Indigenous, and communities of color who have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism," Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement Friday afternoon.

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Fletcher proposed disbanding the Minneapolis police force in a TIME op-ed published Friday morning. "I am one of many on the Council, including the Council President and the Chair of Public Safety, who are publicly supporting the call to disband our police department and start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity," Fletcher wrote. Other members of the city council voiced their support for the idea, but Frey's office told KARE11 he does not support "abolishing" the police department completely.

Floyd died on May 25. He was arrested after allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, even after Floyd lost consciousness. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were at the scene but did not stop Chauvin. They were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.