DOJ’s report shows MPD officers resisted chokehold ban after George Floyd murder
The U.S. Department of Justice described the use of neck restraints or chokeholds at the Minneapolis Police Department as “unreasonable” and “misused.”
The criticism on neck restraints was among the multitude of findings of the DOJ’s scathing report on MPD that came out on Friday and offers a look behind the scenes at the department when the ban went into effect.
According to the report, the almost immediate ban of neck restraints did not go over well inside the department.
The DOJ’s nearly 100-page report said, “This positive step met considerable resistance.”
Officers and supervisors described it as a “knee jerk” reaction to an “efficient and reliable tactic.”
“Neck restraints are lethal force, and we found that MPD officers often use neck restraints without warning on people suspected of only minor offenses and on people who posed no threat,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant U.S. attorney.
The DOJ specifically cited a violent encounter first reported by 5 INVESTIGATES earlier this year.
Surveillance video shows former MPD Officer Alexander Brown chasing a suspected looter in August 2020, beating him with a baton, and putting him in a chokehold two months after it was banned.
“I was shocked by the violence that I saw,” said Jordan Kushner, the defense attorney who represented the suspect.
The officer later wrote in his report that he “feared for his life” and applied the neck restraint using “proper form.”
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges.
In its report released Friday, the DOJ said that most neck restraints reviewed were “unreasonable,” adding that “MPD must ensure that its ban on neck restraints is fully honored.”