Minneapolis has officially moved to take a strong stance against use of chokeholds and excessive force in the police department.
The sad reality is that systemic racism, police brutality, and anti-black societal sentiments will not disappear overnight. Yet thanks to the protestors that have rallied in memory of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other Black Americans killed at the hands of police and bigots alike, perhaps we will slowly begin to see some progress. Today, Minneapolis has taken a strong position on the right side of history, officially banning police from utilizing chokeholds and demanding that officers intervene when witnessing excessive force.
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Following the death of George Floyd, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched a civil rights investigation against the Minneapolis Police Department. It has been announced that all chokeholds are to be banned, and officers of all ranks will be required to report any instances during which illegal chokeholds are utilized. Should they fail to do so, further charges can be enforced in court. Should an officer be faced with a colleague using excessive force, they will now have an obligation to verbally or physically intervene; should they fail to do so, they too will be held accountable for their neglect.
However, it should be noted that this restraining order is temporary -- it still requires a judge to sign off on it, a process that is set to occur on Friday. It's certainly a promising first step, and we can only hope that these practices begin to see further implementation across the United States and Canada alike. The idea that police can move with complete impunity helped fuel these aggressive behaviors to begin with, and now that Minneapolis is moving to instill severe consequences, it seems likely that police will begin adjusting their conduct accordingly.