Police in San Diego, the nation’s eighth-largest city, will immediately stop using the carotid restraint in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd after he was placed in a neck hold in Minneapolis, authorities said Monday.
“We are watching the hurt and pain so many people are expressing after the tragic death of George Floyd, and are committed to taking new actions to make sure something like this doesn’t happen in San Diego,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said.
“As we’ve seen, it is deadly, and it is unnecessary,” City Council President Georgette Gomez said.
The restraint, also called a sleeper hold, involves applying pressure to the sides of the neck with an arm, which can almost immediately block blood flow and render someone unconscious.
Police figures showed officers used it hundreds of times in the past five years. Activists contend it is disproportionately used against black people and other minorities.
Faulconer said it “has led to so much concern and frustration by many in our minority communities.”
Police Chief David Nisleit said he began evaluating the procedure last week after Floyd’s death and will send officers a memo on Tuesday ordering an end to the use-of-force tactic.
“It’s the right thing to do for the community and it’s the right thing to do for our officers,” Nisleit said. “Some will say it’s taking away a tool, I say it’s adding a layer of protection.”
Many police departments already ban the restraint or restrict its use to life-threatening situations.
Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even as he stopped moving and pleaded for air.