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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 5, 2021 04:39 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Patty Kim, Rep. Jason Dawkins
To: All House members
Subject: Banning Chokeholds and Positional Asphyxia by Law Enforcement
This past summer, we saw 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 theĀ chokehold.

The Chief of Police Association is the accrediting body for 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. While chokeholds are forbidden for accredited departments, according to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, only 127 of the more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth are accredited.

For this reason, we will be introducing legislation to outlaw the use of the standard chokehold in making an arrest as well 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. We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation to ensure justice is carried out in a decent and humane manner.

Introduced as HB870