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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Will Minnesota lawmakers ban law enforcement officers from using chokeholds?

That question may be answered during the special session of the state legislature when that began Friday. A number of police-related reforms may be presented and dealt with to address concerns raised in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

A judge this week approved an order that prohibits the Minneapolis Police Dept. from using all neck restraints and chokeholds.

Other cities and states are considering similar bans.

Rochester police officers are restricted in the use of chokeholds. Police Capt. Casey Moilanen says department policy permits chokeholds/neck restraints only in “deadly force situations” during which the safety of officers and/or civilians is threatened. Moilanen says such situations typically involve weapons. Moilanen says RPD officers are trained in using the technique. He says they are also required to have a person who is choked to be checked by a paramedic before they are taken into custody or released from the scene.

We looked at several videos involving police officers using chokeholds and others that include physical confrontations and want to share them with you.

Some contain disturbing language and images.

The attorney representing the George Floyd family released this video of an incident in 2018 in Bellevue, WA. 

Here is the video in the Eric Garner case from 2014 in New York City. According to Wikipedia:

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in the New York City borough of Staten Island after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, put him in a chokehold while arresting him.[3] Video footage of the incident generated widespread national attention and raised questions about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement.[ NYPD officers approached Garner on July 17 on suspicion of selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. After Garner told the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling cigarettes, the officers attempted to arrest Garner. When Pantaleo placed his hands on Garner, Garner pulled his arms away. Pantaleo then placed his arm around Garner's neck and wrestled him to the ground. With multiple officers pinning him down, Garner repeated the words "I can't breathe" 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk. After Garner lost consciousness, officers turned him onto his side, continuing their chokehold. Garner remained lying on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. Garner was pronounced dead at an area hospital approximately one hour later.

Here's an example of an incident involving a suspicious person call in Michigan:

This is another example of a person who gets into a verbal confrontation with officers over a minor incident and it leads to a very physical situation. A man by the name of Johnnie Rush was stopped for jaywalking in Asheville, North Carolina. During the incident, he was punched, tased, and put into a chokehold.

The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day contained all of these elements: a minor infraction, a suspect who resisted, an officer who apparently ignored approved techniques:

Here is an incident that happened in Rochester last year. Officers began questioning a man who fit the description of a wanted person. He became verbally confrontational but in this incident, the officers practiced extreme patience.

This post isn’t meant to pass judgment on officers who deal with situations most of us will never be subjected to and often work under intense stress. We just want to give readers some examples of the controversial chokehold techniques that are being scrutinized around the country and how some incidents that begin as a low-level offense escalate into violence.

Does this suggest a need for better training for officers or strict rules involving confrontational situations?

Feel free to share your thoughts and any videos you may have or are aware of.

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