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Citizens Police Review Board discusses chokehold policy


City leaders are considering how to change the language in the Columbia Police Department's policy on chokeholds.

The Columbia City Council and Police Chief Geoff Jones discussed the policy at a council meeting on Oct. 19. Several council members voiced concerns about the language of the ordinance saying parts of it could be more clear, including the definition of deadly force.

Columbia police can only use chokeholds or neck restraints if they are using deadly force.

The council also asked CPD to train officers on chokeholds and neck restraints.

"The council wants us to clearly state that chokeholds are prohibited. The other thing they asked for is to have some provision for training to familiarize officers with what those are," Jones said.

Ward 4 councilmember Ian Thomas brought an example ordinance at the October meeting to discuss the possibility of banning neck restraints completely.

Jones says the current CPD policy is less restrictive than the example ordinance brought forward by Thomas because it clarified chokeholds and neck restraints must be the only reasonably available deadly force option.

The Citizens Police Review Board Chair, Travis Pringle, said he agrees with Jones that the language of the current CPD policy is better than the language in the draft ordinance.

"I'm with the chief. I think that language from the University of Cincinnati professor is less restrictive than the current policy, so I can't say I support, I don't support that current clarification from the University of Cincinnati," Pringle said. "It just seems that it creates more loopholes than what some people think we have right now."

The Citizens Police Review Board recommended the council ban the restraints outright.

On Wednesday night, Jones spoke to the board about what he and the council had discussed, and what CPD was doing to change the language of the policy.

Pringle said if the council will not ban the restraints, he thinks it will benefit citizens if the language is more clear.

"If we're not going to go forward with just a complete ban, period, anything that can help just the community understand that deadly force... if it's determined that deadly force was warranted that really does anything include that can kill someone. Banning one form won't excuse anything else," he said.

Staff at CPD are still working on adjusting the chokehold policy language before presenting it to the Columbia City Council.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Sydney Olsen

Sydney Olsen reports in the evenings during the week and on the weekend.


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