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Fargo Police revise policy to ban chokeholds

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:40 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Announced Monday, July 13, chokeholds are not only more clearly defined in the police policy book, but they’re also banned unless needed by an officer for self-defense.

The topic of police officer use of chokeholds has attracted national attention after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis; the Fargo Police Department taking a look at their own policy on the subject.

“An officer using a chokehold needs to recognize that that is a form of deadly force because they are cutting off airflow, cutting off blood flow to the brain,” Fargo Police Chief David Todd said.

Chief David Todd says the police department does not train the use of chokeholds, as they do not want them to be used.

To create clarification, the department is now specifically identifying this type of restraint in its policy, stating it must not be used unless an officer or another person faces a threat of death or serious injury.

“It’s defining what a chokehold is, which is a constriction or restriction of breathing and blood flow,” Chief Todd said. “Then putting that in the category of deadly force where it’s strictly prohibited.”

Members of Black Lives Matter Fargo-Moorhead say they’re grateful for this decision but would like to see even more bold steps in that direction.

“I want to thank the mayor and the commissioners as well for even talking about this,” Faith Dixon said. “It was something that was brought up in our meetings and that we brought to the human rights commission a couple weeks ago.”

“This kills people,” said Jamaal Abegaz. “I think as we move forward with banning chokeholds, we should also consider banning these prone restraints as well.”

Chief Todd says every officer is trained in use-of-force and if there is ever an instance of injury or death, it must be reported and reviewed extensively.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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