Jun 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

California Gov. Newsom orders end to police use of "sleeper" chokehold

Gavin Newsom wears a face mask

Gov. Gavin Newsom in Los Angeles on June 3. Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom directed state police to stop using the carotid "sleeper" chokehold on Friday, after 11 days of nationwide protest over the killing of George Floyd.

Driving the news: Newsom's instruction to state police to stop teaching the hold, which restricts blood flow to the brain to render someone unconscious, comes in the wake of Minneapolis also banning police chokeholds.

Context: Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

  • Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who allegedly sold cigarettes outside a convenience store, died in 2014 after a New York Police Department officer restrained him in an illegal chokehold during an arrest.

What he's saying: “We will not sit back passively as a state," Newsom said in a statement. "I am proud that California has advanced a new conversation about broader criminal justice reform, but we have an extraordinary amount of work left to do to manifest a cultural change and a deeper understanding of what it is that we’re working to advance."

  • “We train techniques on strangleholds that put people’s lives at risk,” Newsom told reporters on Friday, per AP. “That has no place any longer in 21st-century practices and policing.”

Go deeper: Biden compares "tragic" death of George Floyd to Eric Garner

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