Crown Heights

Clarke supports chokehold prevention bill

Legislation would make it a civil rights violation

May 4, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke says cops continue to use the chokehold despite NYPD regulations against it. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke is throwing her support behind legislation fellow Brooklyn congressmember Hakeem Jeffries is sponsoring to outlaw the use of chokeholds by police.

The bill would define use of the chokehold as a civil rights violation under federal law.

Clarke said the legislation is important because while chokeholds have been prohibited by the New York Police Department since 1993, there have been thousands of complaints filed by residents about the use of a chokehold. A substantial majority of the complaints were from precincts in which most residents are African-American or Latino, she said.

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“The continued use of the chokehold demonstrates that its prohibition by the Police Department remains ineffective. The chokehold still kills people. This disregard for the inherent dignity of human life violates our laws, our Constitution, and the basic morality without which civil society cannot exist,” Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn) said in a statement.

Jeffries (D-Coney Island-Canarsie-Queens) announced on April 27 that he intends to introduce the bill, called the Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act.

“The use of the chokehold continued despite Police Department regulations to the contrary, as occurred when a police officer used a chokehold on Staten Island resident Eric Garner that resulted in his death. The chief medical examiner confirmed that the death of Eric Garner was a homicide. The same chokehold that killed Eric Garner was, only a few weeks later, used on a pregnant woman in Brooklyn who had committed only the ‘crime’ of barbecuing on the sidewalk near her home,” Clarke said. “Today there are people marching in communities across the United States to affirm the principles our nation claims to uphold. By passing the Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act, we have an opportunity to demonstrate that Congress shares those principles.” 

Jeffries cited the Garner case when he announced that he was introducing the bill. His announcement took place outside One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan. Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, attended the announcement.

“The chokehold is the classic example of an unnecessary violent police tactic. It is an unreasonable measure, it is an uncivilized measure … and this bill will make it an unlawful measure,” the Associated Press quoted Jeffries as saying.




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