|Posted:||June 9, 2020 11:22 AM|
|From:||Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Jason Dawkins|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Banning the Use of Chokeholds and Positional Asphyxia by Those in Law Enforcement|
|Over the past few days we have seen protests erupt around the United States and the Commonwealth over the filmed death of an African American man, Mr. George Floyd, in Minneapolis. Mr. Floyd died due to asphyxiation brought about by sustained pressure on the neck by law enforcement officers. This case brings up memories of another African American man, Mr. Eric Garner, who also died from law enforcement misuse of the chokehold.
While chokeholds have been banned by many departments, this has not stopped their use. Additionally, many law enforcement and health personnel are taught to avoid restraining people in a way that can lead to positional asphyxia.
The Chief of Police Association accredits law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania. In 2001, the Association introduced the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation process for police departments to create standard policing practices amongst accredited agencies. These types of restraints are forbidden for accredited departments. However, according to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, only 118 of the more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth are accredited.
Our legislation would outlaw the use of the standard chokehold and define positional asphyxia as any action that inhibits breath or the flow of blood to the brain due to physical position. As we all saw clearly in the case of Mr. Floyd, Mr. Garner, and others, chokeholds are not a safe or appropriate tool for law enforcement in the course of their daily duties. This is a sister bill from the Senate, sponsored by Senator Street.
Please join us as a co-sponsor for this important legislation.
Introduced as HB2627