Minnesota legislature passes ban on chokeholds in wake of George Floyd death

Minnesota legislature passes ban on chokeholds in wake of George Floyd death
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The Minnesota legislature passed a ban on chokeholds and neck restraints early Tuesday in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May.

Minnesota’s House and Senate both passed the Minnesota Police Accountability Act that instituted several provisions to improve law enforcement accountability after Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.

The Democratic-led House passed the bill slightly before a midnight deadline instituted by Senate Republicans. The Republican majority Senate followed suit, approving the bill 60-7 at about 2 a.m.. They sent the bill to Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzRepublican lawmakers say Minnesota mask order violates state law against hiding identity Minnesota GOP official who posted image linking mask wearing to Nazi Germany resigns Minnesota couple banned from Walmart after wearing Nazi flags as face coverings MORE (D), who is expected to sign it into law, the Star Tribune reported.

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The accountability bill, in addition to banning chokeholds, also forbids warrior-style training for law enforcement. The Minneapolis Police Department had already banned this training, but the police union offered it in an outside course, The Washington Post reported

The newly passed bill includes a measure to improve data collection for fatal police-involved cases, mandates officers to intervene in certain cases and formulates a state unit to investigate these encounters. It also provides more funding for crisis intervention training and requests a council of arbiters to manage police misconduct allegations.

Police accountability advocates say the bill represented big changes in Minnesota’s criminal justice system, the Post noted. State Rep. Carlos Mariani (D), who wrote the bill, said in a statement it provides “overdue changes” to “ensure no more lives are lost due to police violence.”

“By passing this bill into law, we’re taking the first steps toward major changes to hold police officers accountable for harmful acts, and we are committed to continuing our work for safer communities,” he said. “It wasn’t safe for George Floyd or for Philando Castile, and they deserved a better way to police that builds community.”

Democratic lawmakers originally proposed more adjustments, including measures to restore voting rights for convicted felons and having the attorney general prosecute any deadly police-involved cases. Some Democrats argued the final bill did not do enough, according to the Post.