To stamp out police and domestic military violence, Canadian provinces would be wise to follow this example
Police officers take guard during a protest over the death of George Floyd on May 31, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Changan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images
A Hennepin County judge is ordering the Minneapolis Police Department to stop using all neck restraints and chokeholds when dealing with suspects.
The plan was first approved by Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council late last week, in cooperation with the state Department of Human Rights.
Judge Karen Janisch’s order says officers must immediately notify a supervisor if they see inappropriate use of force. Officers are also required to physically intervene against unauthorized use of force when possible, or otherwise “shall be subject to discipline to the same severity as if they themselves engaged in the prohibited use of force.”
Under the court order, the City of Minneapolis must implement the following measures:
- Ban the use of all neck restraints and choke holds.
- Any police officer, regardless of tenure or rank, must report while still on scene if they observe another police officer use any unauthorized use of force, including any choke hold or neck restraint.
- Any police officer, regardless of tenure or rank, must intervene by verbal and physical means if they observe another police officer use any unauthorized use of force, including any choke hold or neck restraint.
- Only the police chief or the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief may approve the use of crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds, during protests and demonstrations.
- The police chief must make timely and transparent discipline decisions for police officers as outlined in the order.
- Civilian body-worn camera footage analysts and investigators in the City’s Office of Police Conduct Review have the authority to proactively audit body-worn camera footage and file or amend complaints on behalf of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.
“Today’s court order will create immediate change for communities of color and Indigenous communities who have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism and long-standing problems in policing,” Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a written statement.