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Missouri Politics

Missouri chokehold ban bill working through state House

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A bill to ban police from using chokeholds inspired by the killing of George Floyd is continuing to move in the state legislature. According to Marc Powers, Chief of Staff of the House Minority Leader's Office, SB 53 is noticed up for a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Monday at 2 p.m.

The measure won approval in the state Senate last month and the House held a committee hearing on the bill last week.

The bill states "a law enforcement officer is prohibited from using a respiratory choke-hold unless deadly force is authorized pursuant to this chapter."

The bill defines a chokehold classified as "any body part or object to attempt to control or disable by applying pressure to a person's neck with the purpose, intent, or effect of controlling or restricting such person's breathing."

The issue grabbed attention worldwide last summer after videos showing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck went viral. A jury on Tuesday convicted Chauvin on two murder charges and a manslaughter charge.

Floyd's death led to calls for police accountability at all levels of government. The Columbia Police Department revised policy on use of chokeholds in October, limiting their use. The city council later stopped short of an outright ban.

City Manager John Glascock released a statement Wednesday regarding the conviction of Chauvin and the Columbia Police Department.

"The conclusion of this trial is a step toward progress and a catalyst for a larger conversation around the police’s responsibility to the people they protect," Glascock said. "The actions that led to Floyd’s death do not reflect the values of the City of Columbia. We hold our officers to the highest standards and will continue to have these difficult conversations."

Glascock said the city and the Columbia Police Department will continue to work with an equity officer to "revise policy, training and practice to ensure all of our community’s residents are treated equally and with respect."

The CPD use of force policy states that officers should only use reasonable force to bring control to the situation at hand or "accomplish lawful objectives." The policy states this should be done while protecting the safety of the officer and others. The policy also states officers should use de-escalation techniques and only use force when "no reasonably effective alternative appears to exist."

CPD considers any use of a chokehold as a use of deadly force, per its policy. According to the department, deadly force is "any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious physical injury."

The department policy states chokeholds aren't allowed "unless deadly force is authorized and, due to the circumstances at hand, is the only reasonable means available at the time to stop the threat."

The policy states the use of force should be stopped on resistance stops or when the situation is under control.

Crime / Missouri / MO General Assembly / News / Politics / Top Stories
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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.

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