The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a comprehensive ban on numerous practices in law enforcement, aimed at curbing tactics that some claim can lead to instances of so-called “police brutality,” according to Politico.
In a statement issued by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the department said it would be banning the use of chokeholds and carotid restraints by law enforcement officers, except in circumstances where “the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.” The department is also banning no-knock warrants, except in situations where an officer believes that announcing their identity could lead to physical harm.
The new rules will apply to all agencies under the jurisdiction of the DOJ, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Bureau of Prisons.
“As members of federal law enforcement,” Monaco’s statement read, “we have a shared obligation to lead by example in a way that engenders the trust and confidence of the communities we serve.”
The new actions were ostensibly taken in response to two high-profile deaths last year that fueled violent race riots across the country. In an incident that drew widespread scrutiny to no-knock warrants, a black woman named Breonna Taylor was killed in Louisville, Kentucky in the crossfire after her boyfriend initiated a firefight with police, who were on the other side of their apartment door and had a warrant for his arrest on drug charges. The officers said that they had announced themselves, but Taylor’s boyfriend has claimed that he heard no such announcement.
The other incident is the death of George Floyd, a black drug addict with a long and violent criminal history who was caught trying to use fake money to make a purchase at a drugstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When Floyd, who had overdosed on fentanyl shortly before the police arrived, began behaving erratically and presented a threat to the officers around him, Officer Derek Chauvin restrained him by pinning him to the ground with one knee on Floyd’s shoulder. Floyd then died of the aforementioned fentanyl overdose while in police custody, although Chauvin was ultimately found guilty of murder due to the high political pressure around the case.
Despite local action being taken against officers in both of these cases, the Department of Justice has ordered its own probes into both the Louisville and Minneapolis police departments.