Council Members Lancman, Cornegy and Williams announce Bill Criminalizing Chokeholds

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): New York City Council Members Rory I. Lancman, Jumaane D. Williams and Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. announced, November 12, the introduction of legislation making it a misdemeanor to perform a chokehold. In the light of the tragic death of Eric Garner, other documented chokehold incidences and the recognition by the Civilian Complaint Review Board that it has inadequately investigated chokehold complaints, the legislation is a necessary step to eradicate the use of chokeholds once and for all.


In addition, other legislation being introduced will require the New York City Police Department to produce reports on officers’ use of force and limiting that use of force to that which is proportionate in a given situation. “Although chokeholds have been banned as a matter of NYPD internal policy for over 20 years, their use still remains prevalent,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman, Chair of the Committee on Courts & Legal Services. “With this bill, we make chokeholds not merely a violation of NYPD policy, but a crime, reflecting the inherent danger which chokeholds present to our city’s public safety.”

“The police force of New York City is endowed by the people’s collective power to enforce the law in the public interest,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “When police power is used to the people’s detriment, we must respond accordingly, in this case, by clarifying the law. This bill is as clear and simple as they come. No chokeholds – period. This tactic is simply too dangerous to be within the NYPD’s arsenal. Passing this bill will ensure that going forward, any police officer or civilian who uses a chokehold can be criminally prosecuted for that act and further prosecuted for any resulting harms.

In memory of Brother Eric Garner and for the hundreds of New Yorkers whose complaints of chokeholds have gone uninvestigated and unpunished, this bill represents the hope that they will receive a measure of justice. I hope that this body will move quickly toward passage.” “No New Yorker should be a victim of police brutality, especially when it means being placed in a chokehold,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader and cochair of the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence.

“Despite the chokehold being banned from NYPD more than two decades ago, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has received more chokehold complaints in the last 12 months than in any year since 2001. Due to these record numbers of complaints and the tragic death of Eric Garner, my colleagues and I have worked hard legislatively to combat police brutality, especially in communities of more color. I applaud Council Member Lancman for his leadership on this issue, and hope the Council passes this important bill.”

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