Mississippi city could ban chokeholds by its police officers

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MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) — A city in southwestern Mississippi could ban its police officers from using chokeholds or other types of potentially deadly force during arrests.

McComb officials are expected to vote on a use-of-force policy Tuesday, the Enterprise-Journal reported.

“Everything in here we already do,”  Police Chief Garland Ward told the mayor and selectmen as they discussed the proposal last week.

Widespread protests erupted in the U.S. in late May and early June after a Black man named George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody when an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Some police departments around the nation are considering revisions to use-of-force policies.

The policy proposed in McComb, a city of 13,000, would require officers to try to de-escalate situations by communicating, maintaining distance and otherwise “eliminating the need to use force.”

It would require officers to exhaust all other means of restraint before resorting to deadly force, and it would require officers to give a verbal warning before shooting at a person unless giving a verbal warning is impossible.

It would ban the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, hogtying, placing a knee on someone’s neck or any other use of force that limits a person’s ability to breathe.

“As far as I am concerned, any officer caught choking a citizen for me is an automatic termination,” Ward said in a previous meeting when the policy was discussed.

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