The Denver Police Department has announced the use of all chokeholds are banned, following departments in several cities doing likewise amid nationwide protests against police brutality.
Denver authorities announced late Sunday in a statement that effective immediately officers must activate body-worn cameras when executing tactical operations and report to a supervisor if they intentionally point a firearm at a person while existing policy has been updated to ban chokeholds and carotid compression holds “with no exceptions.”
Police Chief Paul Pazen in a statement said, “We will continue to evaluate our policies with community input and make improvements as needed in the interest of public and officer safety,”.
The department said, “The changes were made through collaboration with the department’s Use of Force Committee and in consideration of recommendations from the Center for Policing Equity.”
Elisabeth Epps, who resigned from the Use of Force Committee last week, tweeted she was at police headquarters with protesters reading a list of demands as she saw an email from Pazen stating the policy changes.
“1 week of protest has in many ways accomplished more than 2+ years of Use of Force meetings [with] cops. Maybe we should stay out here all summer.” She said.
The changes came amid nationwide protests against police brutality and calling for racial equality that were ignited by the police-involved killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed while being arrested by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. Video of the arrest shows Chauvin with his knee in the neck of a prostrate and handcuffed Floyd for more than eight minutes as three other officers looked on.
The protests have shattered cities throughout the United States, and numerous police departments have moved to change policies in response.
Last week, police departments throughout San Diego County announced bans on the carotid hold followed by California Govt. Gavin Newsom said that on Friday he has instructed police top brass statewide not to allow officers to use the hold.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also said $150 million would be stripped from the LAPD’s budget and shifted to fund social programs in communities of color.
However the changes made by the Denver is followed by a federal judge late last week ordering a temporary restraining order barring police from using non-lethal crowd dispersing devices, such as tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets, after a complaint was filed due to their use against protesters.
In a statement made by the police, “We will comply with the judge’s directions, many of which are already in line with our community-consulted Use of Force Policy,”