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California legislative leaders back state 'sleeper hold' ban

Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:49:08-04

(AP) — California’s Assembly speaker and other key lawmakers on Monday backed making it illegal statewide for police to use a type of neck hold that blocks the flow of blood to the brain.

The proposal appears to go beyond any other state. Major law enforcement groups did not immediately say if they will oppose the move.

“The world watched as the 200 lb. weight of a police officer was leveraged on the neck of George Floyd for over 8 minutes. Two other officers held him down and another watched as his body succumbed to the attack and went limp before expiring,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) who introduced the bill. “But it was the restriction of blood flow by the compression of the artery in his neck that killed him.”

The method, also known as a sleeper hold, involves applying pressure to the sides of the neck. It can cause serious injury or death if blood flow is restricted too long.

“We all witnessed this execution. This was far beyond the existing law that authorizes a peace officer to use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance,” stated Gipson. “This bill specifically and clearly prohibits a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of choke holds and carotid restraints.”

It comes after a different restraint used by Minneapolis police was blamed for the death of George Floyd, triggering ongoing nationwide protests.