Why Chokeholds—Used By Daniel Penny On Jordan Neely—Are Increasingly Banned By Police Departments

In recent years, chokeholds, a controversial police tactic that can be deadly, have come under increased scrutiny and criticism. The use of chokeholds by police officers has been at the center of several high-profile cases of police brutality and has led to the death of numerous individuals, often people of color.

The latest incident involving a chokehold occurred on May 10, 2023, in New York City, when off-duty police officer Daniel Penny used a chokehold on 17-year-old Jordan Neely during an altercation. Neely was hospitalized and is expected to recover. Penny has been suspended from the police force pending an investigation.

Chokeholds, also known as “carotid restraints,” involve applying pressure to the neck in an attempt to restrict blood flow to the brain and cause a loss of consciousness. However, when used improperly or excessively, chokeholds can lead to serious injury or death.

In response to these concerns, many police departments across the United States have banned the use of chokeholds. According to a recent report from the Police Executive Research Forum, more than two-thirds of the 50 largest police departments in the country have implemented some form of a chokehold ban or restriction.

The reasons for these bans vary, but often include concerns about the potential for excessive use of force, a lack of training for officers on how to use chokeholds safely, and the potential for legal liability if an officer causes injury or death while using a chokehold.

Some police departments have replaced chokeholds with other tactics, such as pressure point control techniques or less-lethal weapons like stun guns or pepper spray. These alternatives can still be effective in subduing a suspect without the risk of serious injury or death.

Despite the bans, chokeholds continue to be used by some police officers, often resulting in tragic consequences. Advocates for reforming police tactics and training argue that chokeholds should be banned altogether and replaced with safer alternatives. They also call for increased training and oversight for police officers to ensure that they are using tactics that are both effective and safe.

The incident involving Jordan Neely and Officer Daniel Penny serves as a reminder of the dangers of chokeholds and the need for continued reform and oversight of police tactics. As more police departments ban chokeholds and implement new training programs, there is hope that incidents like this will become less common and that the public will have greater confidence in the safety and effectiveness of law enforcement.

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