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Politics & Government

NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Introduces Senate Version Of Anti-Chokehold Bill

Gage Skidmore
Wikimedia Commons

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is planning to introduce the senate version of legislation that would make chokeholds and other law enforcement maneuvers that restrict oxygen or blood flow a civil rights violation.  The original House version of the Excessive Force Prevention Act was first introduced by Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries of New York following the death of Eric Garner in 2014. 

Gillibrand says the bill would also address what happened with George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“It is something that prohibits the chokehold. It prohibits putting a knee on someone’s neck, putting a knee on someone’s back making them asphyxiate,” said Gillibrand. “Too many people have died because of these excessive uses of force that deny air. Too many people have said to law enforcement ‘I can’t breathe,’ and they’ve died.”

Gillibrand spoke with Errol Lewis on New York One.  She says the legislation has a real chance of hearing and passage, more than it had in the past.

“This bill I think is one that will have resonance with this moment of extreme suffering, anger and fear,” said Gillibrand. “And I believe that it is one that can begin to do the reform that we need in the criminal justice system to hold police accountable for excessive use of force.”

Gillibrand says the legislation would essentially make it possible for families to bring federal civil rights action against police for excessive use of force.  She says the bill is likely to be part of a broader set of reforms of the criminal justice system.