US federal law enforcement officers are prohibited from the use of chokeholds and carotid restraints — unless lethal force is authorized — and limited on the use of no-knock entries during a search warrant, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Department of Justice.” in a statement. Limits implemented today on the use of “chokehold,” ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ warrants, along with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras for federal agents of the DOJ, are significant steps the department is taking. are among. Improving law enforcement security and accountability.”


Under the new department-wide policy, law enforcement is prohibited from chokeholds and carotid restraints, unless the officer has a “reasonable belief that the subject of such force is likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to the officer or any other person.” There is an imminent danger of injury.” DOJ said.

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Carotid restraint, also called a sleeper hold, involves applying pressure to the sides of the neck with one hand, which can almost immediately block blood flow and render someone unconscious.

A no-knock warrant, as its name implies, is an order from a judge that allows police to enter a home without prior notice to residents, such as ringing the doorbell or banging the door. In most cases, the law requires that officers must knock and declare themselves before entering a private home to execute a search warrant.

The new DOJ policy generally limits the use of no-knock entries in connection with the execution of warrants to situations where an agent has “reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and declaring the agent’s presence would result in a loss.” would pose an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent. and/or any other person.” The new policy is narrower than what is permitted by law, where the physical security at stake limits its use.

The DOJ said that if an agent is suspected of posing a threat to physical security and wants a no-knock warrant, it must first obtain approval from both federal prosecutors and a supervisory law enforcement agent.

FILE – U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (C) speaks as Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (L) and Associate Attorney General Vanitha Gupta (R) listen to an announcement of civil enforcement action at the Justice Department during a news conference Huh

Comprehensive new policies come more than a year After George Floyd, a black man was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer Joe pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he stopped moving and pleaded for air. The widely shared video of the arrest sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice and prompted police reform, including the use of such sanctions.

Many police departments already ban restraint or limit its use to life-threatening situations.

Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court, and he and other officers also face federal criminal charges.

In another case from March 2020, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police at her home in Louisville carrying a no-knock warrant. The 26-year-old black woman was an emergency medical worker who had settled in for the night when police busted a narcotics warrant through her door. No medicine was found at his house.

Police usually ask for a no-knock warrant if the situation may be exceptionally dangerous or if a suspect is likely to destroy evidence when the police knock on the door. But critics have noted that their use has increased dramatically in recent years and that some departments routinely use them in cases that do not deserve such an exception.

The new DOJ policy came after a review by the department’s second-ranking official, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

“As members of federal law enforcement, we have a shared obligation to lead by example that enhances the trust and confidence of the communities we serve,” Monaco said in a prepared statement. “It is essential that law enforcement at the Justice Department follow a set of standards when it comes to ‘chokeholds’, ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ entries. This new policy does just that and limits circumstances.” in which these techniques can be used.”

The changes apply to federal agents who work under the DOJ, or local police departments that work with the DOJ through a joint task force in some cases.

live update: Former Minneapolis police officers plead not guilty to George Floyd’s civil rights violations

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.