As several police departments across the country ban the so-called “chokehold” defensive tactic for officers, the Stuart Police Department suspends its use of the vascular neck restraint pending an internal review of the controversial policing technique.
“The technique does have a possibility of hurting someone very badly; choking them if applied incorrectly,” said Stuart Police Chief Joseph Tumminelli. “So it was my decision, based on my understanding of how the technique works to suspend it at the Stuart Police Department.”
According to an updated Stuart PD manual, which had the words “suspended pending review” stamped across the page, the vascular neck restraint is when an officer has restrained a person by the neck to gain control. The document goes on to state that this technique is not intended to render a person unconscious.
This announcement comes two weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis while in police custody when former office Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
The bans come in the wake of massive, predominantly peaceful protests. Demonstrators across the country could be heard chanting, “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the last words of black men George Floyd and Eric Garner, both of whom died at the hands of police.
“You’re headed in the right direction,” said Jimmie Smith, president of the NAACP of Martin County, as he addressed the Chief’s VNR decision. “You’re setting an example.”
Smith and hundreds of others marched across the Roosevelt Bridge in protest of police brutality in America.