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Minnesota lawmakers ban chokeholds, neck restraints two months after George Floyd’s death

2020-07-22

Minnesota lawmakers approved a police accountability bill early Tuesday morning that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one used against George Floyd nearly two months ago.

The new measures also prohibit chokeholds and warrior-style training, which teaches officers to view every encounter with civilians as dangerous.

The sweeping package, considered one of the biggest changes to the state’s criminal justice system in years, was sent to the governor’s desk following a 60-7 vote by the Senate. The House had earlier passed the bill shortly before midnight Monday.

The move follows a series of protests in Minnesota and across the country decrying police violence and urging more accountability in law enforcement in the wake of Floyd’s caught-on-tape death at the hands of four Minneapolis officers. The unarmed black man died on May 25 after repeatedly begging for air as a white cop knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The newly approved bill also enhances data collection involving deadly force encounters, establishes a new state unit to investigate those incidents, creates an arbitration panel to handle police misconduct cases, increases funding for crisis intervention training, and creates incentives for officers to live in the communities they police, according to the Star Tribune.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz praised lawmakers for passing the bill and said he was looking forward to sign it.

“George Floyd’s death brought the need for meaningful police reform into sharp focus for Minnesotans across the state,” he said in a statement. “After decades of advocacy by communities of color and Indigenous communities, the bipartisan passage of these measures is a critical step toward justice. This is only the beginning. The work does not end today.”

With News Wire Services