Test Drive Our New Site! We have some improvements in the works that we're excited for you to experience. Click here to try our new, faster, mobile friendly beta site. We will be maintaining our current version of the site thru the end of 2024, so you can switch back as our improvements continue.
Legislation Quick Search
07/20/2024 06:21 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
Home / Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search

Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 5, 2020 04:40 PM
From: Senator Sharif Street
To: All Senate members
Subject: Banning the Use of Chokeholds and Positional Asphyxia by Those in Law Enforcement
In the near future, I will introduce legislation outlawing 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.
My 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.
Please join me as a co-sponsor of this important legislation. If you have any questions, please contact my Policy Director, Micah Mahjoubian, at micah.mahjoubian@pasenate.com. 

Introduced as SB1205