Pasadena Police Department halts use of carotid hold that blocks blood flow in response to governor’s order

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A Pasadena police cruiser is seen in a file photo from Jan. 11, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

A Pasadena police cruiser is seen in a file photo from Jan. 11, 2019. (KTLA)

The Pasadena Police Department announced Sunday it has suspended the use of the carotid restraint control hold, which involves putting pressure on the side of a person’s neck to stop blood flow.

The announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered California’s police training program Friday to stop teaching officers how to use the neck hold that blocks the flow of blood to the brain and endorsed legislation that would ban the practice statewide.

The initiative was Newsom’s first following more than a week of ongoing protests across the nation against police violence, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The department said it would stop using the carotid hold — also known as a sleeper hold or a blood choke — until further notice.

“Our use of force experts will begin exploring alternative techniques and options for encounters involving dangerous and violent suspects,” the department said in a tweet.

On Friday, Minneapolis city leaders agreed to ban the chokeholds by police. In California, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, along with police agencies in San Diego, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Oceanside, Coronado and La Mesa also announced this week they would stop using the move.

In 1982, the L.A. Police Commission restricted the use of the carotid hold after the deaths of a dozen black men and after then-LAPD Chief Daryl Gates notoriously said African Americans were dying because the “veins or arteries of blacks do not open up as fast as they do in normal people,” the L.A. Times reported. But other law enforcement agencies continued to allow it with fewer restrictions.

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