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Austin Police Department updates policy around chokeholds

The Austin City Council will vote on Thursday whether to ban chokeholds as part of several resolutions aimed at police reform.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department (APD) on Wednesday revealed it will update its policy regarding chokeholds and strangleholds following worldwide anti-police violence protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

APD told KVUE chokeholds and strangleholds are not a part of the APD training curriculum and are not approved tactics for restraining or arresting an individual.

“APD neither teaches nor allows the use of the vascular neck restraint or carotid neck restraint,” an APD spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said although not trained or allowed, APD policy does not specifically state it is not an approved tactic.

“We will update our policy to state it is not an approved tactic unless it is a deadly force situation,” APD said.

Chokeholds are one focus of policing reforms happening nationwide as cities work to end police violence and racial disparities.

RELATED: Austin City Council unanimously backs proposed police reform items

The Austin City Council will vote on Thursday whether to explicitly ban chokeholds as part of several resolutions aimed at police reform.

On Tuesday, councilmembers unanimously agreed to back the proposed resolutions in an unusual sign of solidarity.

The items the council is unified on aim to:

  • Set a goal of zero racial disparities in traffic stops and arrests. (Item 50)
  • Create a Public Safety Committee from the existing Judicial Committee. (Item 93)
  • Direct City Manager Spencer Cronk to recommend policies that reduce the look-back period for vetting rental applications for a prospective tenant with a criminal history. (Item 94)
  • Prohibit the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants and reduce the use of militarized equipment by APD. (Item 95)
  • Remove funding from the upcoming year's City budget for hiring additional APD officers or acquiring equipment like beanbag rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. (Item 96)

On the federal level, congressional Democrats have also unveiled a police reform bill that would ban chokeholds.

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