Columbia City Council unanimously approves revised use-of-force policy, bans chokeholds

City of Columbia
City of Columbia(City of Columbia press release)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2020 at 6:10 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Columbia Police Department Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook reviewed CPD’s current use-of-force policy and recommended revisions which included a ban on chokeholds and carotid artery holds (“sleeper” holds) unless deadly force is authorized.

Holbrook’s response follows the death of George Floyd, who died while in Minneapolis Police custody from asphyxiation from sustained pressure, according to an independent medical examiner hired by the Floyd family.

On June 16, in keeping with CPD’s commitment to transparency, accountability and professionalism, Columbia City Council unanimously approved Chief Holbrook’s recommendation to update the existing use-of-force policy. The revised policy also reflects Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” recommendations.

Additionally, the policy outlines precautions officers must take in order to avoid positional asphyxia.

This revisions were made with the concerns of protesters in mind.

“The marches and demonstrations that have galvanized the country, and our own Columbia community, for almost three weeks now have brought attention to fundamental concerns with the functions of our metropolitan police forces, and what we ask and expect of our uniformed public servants,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin.

“We are fortunate that in Columbia our police force continues to find ways to better meet the needs of the communities they serve, and today’s decision by City Council on revising use of force policies will hopefully result in better relations and improved trust between our police and our citizens."

Since 2014, CPD has developed protocols, pledges and community-policing initiatives as part of the department’s progressive 21st Century Policing posture.

Additionally, Chief will be discussing the policy revision with his counterparts who have also been appointed to the newly-formed National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.

You can read the full revised use-of-force policy below:

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