NYC Council Wants To Criminalize Chokeholds

November 13, 2014 | Amy K. Nelson

The death of Eric Garner has sparked a public debate on the use of chokeholds — banned since 1993 by the NYPD — by police in this city. On Thursday, the NYC council will introduce a bill that would make them illegal.

That’s not sitting well with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who told reporters on Wednesday that the patrol guide ban was sufficient enough and that cops should be able to utilize it if their lives are threatened.

I’ve also said publicly, and I’ll say it again: there are some exceptional situations. I want to respect our men and women in uniform who may be put into a life-and-death situation, literally one-on-one, them and a perpetrator who could … mean to kill them; and they have to defend themselves — and that might involve a choke hold.

But Councilman Rory Lancman (D) from Queens disagrees, and is the one introducing the bill.

“Relying on NYPD policy to eliminate chokeholds isn’t working very well,” he told the Daily News. “We need to up the ante.”

Lancman doesn’t mention whether the NYPD’s chokehold epidemic — in which the amount reported to the Civilian Complaint Review Board was its highest frequency on record, with 1,128 complaints between 2009 and 2013 — factored into his decision. But the councilman has an uphill battle. Not only does de Blasio not support it, but neither does police commissioner William Bratton, who back in September went on record:

I won’t support it. I feel that department policies are sufficient, that if lawmakers want to try to make that against the law, well, good luck, but I will not support it.

The bill is part of a series that is being proposed that involve police reforms. According to the New York Amsterdam News:

city District Attorneys will prosecute cases of negligence assaults for inappropriate use of force. He said the prosecution will prove whether an officer is justified in using the force to subdue someone.

The council meets on Thursday at 1:30PM.