Updated 4:40 p.m.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is directing the carotid chokehold be immediately dropped from all state police training programs and materials. He also called for local governments to end the use of the controversial technique.
The carotid restraint, also known as a “sleeper hold,” can block the flow of blood to the brain and lead to loss of consciousness or death.
“We train techniques on strangleholds that put peoples’ lives at risk,” Newsom said during a live streamed press conference. “That has no place any longer in 21st century practices and policing.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minnesota police, law enforcement agencies across the nation have abandoned the hold, including the San Diego police and sheriff’s departments. This week, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called for a review of the city’s police use of the technique, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Police neck restraints have come under scrutiny after Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, during which Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. This week, Chauvin’s charges were upgraded to second-degree murder and three other former officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Newsom also called for standardized use of force policies during protests after seeing video and images of protesters injured by rubber bullets. He cited a La Mesa grandmother who was hospitalized after being hit in the head by a rubber bullet.
In Sacramento, a mother was left blind in one eye after being hit with a rubber bullet last Friday, according to her attorney.
“Protesters have the right not to be harassed,” Newsom said. “Protesters have the right to protest peacefully. Protesters have the right to do so without being arrested, gassed, [and] shot at by projectiles.”
“Municipalities have their own approaches and it’s clear to me we need to standardize those approaches,” he said.
Newsom also threw his weight behind a list of racial equity proposals by black state lawmakers, including probation and parole reforms, a constitutional amendment for affirmative action and a reparations task force.
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