According to an exclusive report by NBC News, Minneapolis police used neck restraints at least 237 times since 2015. 44 people or 15% of those suspects were rendered unconscious.
The report notes that a lack of publicly available use-of-force data from police departments across the country makes it difficult to compare Minneapolis to other cities. However, experts says that the number seems unusually high.
Ed Obayashi, an attorney and deputy sheriff told NBC that police departments across the country have been moving away from the neck restraint option for many years because of its “inherent life-threatening potential.”
“It’s common sense,” Obayashi said. “Any time you cut off someone’s airway or block blood flow to the brain, it can lead to serious injury or death as we have seen in so many of these tragedies. By using this tactic, it’s a self-fulfilling tragedy.”
According to Obayashi, the use of the tactic by Minneapolis PD is “dated” and has mostly been phased out in most police departments.
“The [Minneapolis] policy doesn’t appear to reflect what California and other law enforcement agencies using best practices recognize, which is if officers don’t use extreme caution with this force option, the likelihood of serious injury or death rises significantly,” Obayashi said.
According to NBC, police neck restraint is defined as when an officer uses an arm or leg to compress someone’s neck without directly pressuring the airway. Minneapolis police have stated since the death of George Floyd that the tactic is not sanctioned by their department.
According to NBC News, three-fifths of those subjected to neck restraints were Black, 30% were white, almost all were male and under 40.
Most disturbingly, according to the report, the restraint method was used on teenagers, including a 17-year-old suspected of shoplifting and a 14-year-old.
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