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Springfield City Council: Explicitly Ban Police Chokeholds And Other Neck Restraints

Police headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Springfield City Council is calling for immediate changes to the police department's use-of-force policy in light of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. 

Among the recommendations is an explicit ban on the use of chokeholds and carotid neck restraints, the kind used on Floyd that led to his death.

City Councilor Orlando Ramos, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said Springfield's current policy on such tactics is vague.

"We want to make sure that there's no ambiguity, that there is no romantic that is very clear and precise, that we are banning all chokeholds and carotid restraints," Ramos said.

Other changes would prioritize de-escalation as the first option on every level of force used by police; create an early intervention system to identify, retrain or reassign problem offices; and allow citizens' complaints to be submitted by phone or online.

Ramos said he forwarded those recommendations to Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, who he said had agreed to implement them. A police spokesman confirmed that Clapprood has accepted the recommendations.

Ramos said the council plans to introduce other police accountability legislation later this month.

Also this week, Mayor Dominic Sarno issued a press release stating he'd agreed to review police policies under the Obama Foundation Pledge.

Kari Njiiri is a senior reporter and longtime host and producer of "Jazz Safari," a musical journey through the jazz world and beyond, broadcast Saturday nights on NEPM Radio. He's also the local host of NPR’s "All Things Considered."
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