Minneapolis City Council votes to ban chokeholds one day after George Floyd memorial

Police officers in Minneapolis would be banned from using chokeholds under a measure approved Friday by the city.

Posted: Jun 5, 2020 4:19 PM

By Nicole Chavez, Ray Sanchez and Melissa Alonso, CNN

(CNN) -- Police officers in Minneapolis would be banned from using chokeholds under a measure approved Friday by the city.

The restraining order represents the first policing change in the city since George Floyd's death last week.

"We cannot let George Floyd's death be in vain," said Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, a day after hundreds of people celebrated Floyd's life in the first of several memorials.

Under the temporary restraining order, which still needs a judge's approval before being enacted, police officers would be banned from using chokeholds, be required to report other officers they see using chokeholds and to intervene in such cases.

Additionally, the Minneapolis police chief must authorize use of crowd control weapons, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, according to the order obtained by CNN.

It also would require timely discipline decisions and allow for civilian audits of bodycam footage.

"This is a moment in time where we can totally change the way our police department operates," Mayor Jacob Frey said.

Frey said there were difficulties in the past to make change like this and "now we can finally get this right."

Velma Korbel, director of civil rights for Minneapolis, said she hopes the "state legislature will be compelled to act, to change the laws that impede the city from making the deep systemic change required, and the community has been demanding for decades."

Officials want 'substantive change,' governor says
The measure stems from a civil rights investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed earlier this week.

The investigation was intended to identify structural changes and determine whether the department engaged in systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color.

Gov. Tim Walz applauded the city's leadership for approving the measure.

"We are moving quickly to create substantive change," Walz said in a statement. "I'm grateful to City of Minneapolis leadership for taking these critical steps with us to address the systemic inequities that have persisted for generations in our criminal justice system."

City Council President Lisa Bender called the changes approved Friday "a transformative new model of public safety."

"We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response," City Council member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted. "It's really past due."

Bender acknowledged calls for cuts in police funding but said some residents in communities of color oppose the move because their neighborhoods are unsafe.

"We need to make urgent change with policing right now," she said. "We need to bring our community along and have conversations with as many Minneapolis residents as possible... The eyes of the world are on Minneapolis, and we can do this."

Protesters take to streets for a 10th day
John Harrington, the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety, said the nightly mandatory curfews ended Friday morning and the National Guard was starting to demobilize.

"Every night it got quieter and quieter to the point where we don't see any need for the state to have a curfew. And so there is not going to be any curfew this weekend," Harrington said.

Demonstrators across the country continue to call for justice for Floyd, who died after three officers kneeled on him -- one with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes -- while he was in police custody. All four officers on the scene are now facing charges.

Protests were underway or planned Friday in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and Buffalo.

In New York City, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that his office will decline to prosecute arrests on charges of unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct linked to the protests.

A massive Black Lives Matter banner was painted on the pavement of the streets of Washington, DC, and in a central axis that leads straight to the White House.

Three officers appeared in court
All four officers involved in Floyd's arrest remain in custody.

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were arrested Wednesday and appeared in court the next day to be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Their bail was set at $1 million each, or $750,000 under conditions including that they do not work in law enforcement or have contact with the Floyd family.

Kueng's attorney argued for a lower bail because the incident took place on his third shift as a full-fledged police officer and was with his training officer, Derek Chauvin.

Lane had only been on the force for four days at the time of the incident, according to his attorney.

Video showed Chauvin had he knee on Floyd's neck. Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, while Thao stood nearby.

Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But on Wednesday prosecutors charged him with a more serious count of second-degree murder.

Chauvin is expected to appear in court next week.

Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, says the charges aren't enough.

"I'm never going to be in comfort until those officers are arrested for first-degree murder, not second-degree, not third-degree," Philonise Floyd said. "That was premeditated, and I want justice."

Police complaints over violence at protests
Though the demonstrators calling for justice for Floyd are under curfews in many cities and have clashed with police in recent days, Thursday's protests were largely peaceful.

Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, NYPD's Commanding Officer of Patrol at Brooklyn North, told CNN's Jason Carroll that he was able to deescalate interactions between police and protesters.

"I understand people are frustrated ... people want to see justice for what happened in Minneapolis, but I just asked people to be cool, a lot of the people out here are very respectful, they just want to go protest," Maddrey said. "But you know we have a job to do too, as well, so just try to find that middle line and we were able to just get everybody out of here peacefully."

Police and protesters were also seen negotiating outside the CNN Center in Atlanta as the city reached its 9 p.m. curfew. While they debated the protests continuing in the night, both agreed they did not want to see it turn to conflict.

But the tone of peace was interrupted by some instances of violence. In Buffalo, New York, a 75-year-old man was knocked down by police as two separate groups of protesters broke out into a physical altercation, Mayor Byron Brown said. The man is in serious but stable condition.

And many places are still feeling the fallout from violence at previous days' protests.

Nearly 1,200 complaints have been made against the San Jose Police Department since protests began in earnest four days ago, according to Chief Eddie Garcia. In that same time frame, 180 people have been arrested for looting and vandalism, among other charges.

Video posted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution showed a woman being body slammed by an officer in a protest in the Buckhead area of Atlanta last week.

CNN has reached out to the Atlanta Police Department for comment and to find out whether the officer involved faces disciplinary actions but has not yet heard back.

The woman suffered a broken clavicle, according to a news release from her attorney.

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