Minneapolis leaders vote in favor of police reforms; ban choke holds

Activists rally during a demonstration Thursday against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

June 5 (UPI) — The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday on a measure that bans police from using choke holds and other neck restraints in response to the death of George Floyd and national civil unrest.

The changes were the result of an emergency session of the city council and Minnesota Department of Civil Rights, which is conducting an investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Under the new order, MPD officers must immediately report any instances of unauthorized use of force by fellow officers and attempt to intervene. Certain crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets and marking rounds, can only be used with approval by the police chief. Use of such weapons must also include documentation.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey immediately signed the agreement, which must also be approved by a judge.

“This is a moment in time where we can totally change the way our police department operates,” Frey said during the meeting, which was live streamed. “We can quite literally lead the way in our nation enacting more police reform than any other city in the entire country and we cannot fail.”

Minnesota Department of Civil Rights began a comprehensive investigation of the MPD this week on orders from Gov. Tim Walz.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety,” Council President Lisa Bender tweeted before Friday’s meeting.

State authorities on Wednesday upgraded a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin to murder in the second degree, and levied charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd’s May 25 arrest.

The other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin’s first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Anger toward the MPD has come from local activists and politicians since Floyd’s death. Some have proposed reforms to defund the department and others say community members should be allowed to participate in collective bargaining negotiations with the police union.


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