New York State lawmakers approve law to ban police chokeholds

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jun 08, 2020

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban police chokeholds.

On Monday, the NYS Assembly and Senate approved the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act, named after the man who died in 2014. Garner died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest.

The bill will criminalize the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and "establish the crime of aggravated strangulation" as a felony.

“I have worked with my Assembly colleagues to reform our state’s broken criminal justice system. Holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions is a necessary part of that,” Speaker Carl Heastie said. “The NYPD ban on chokeholds was not enough to protect Eric Garner, and it is not enough today. This legislation will put an end to the practice across the state.”

“Almost six years ago, we heard Eric Garner tell police ‘I can’t breathe’ as he was put into a chokehold by an NYPD officer. His words now speak from the grave as we deal with the police killing of George Floyd under nearly identical circumstances. Hundreds of unarmed black men and women have been killed at the hands of police officers before and between these two tragedies. In 2015 I introduced this bill to outlaw chokeholds statewide, and I am proud to see it taken up today as we pass legislation to reform our criminal justice system. This is an important step forward, but it will not be the last. We must work to change the way that police officers interact with communities of color, or we will continue to see these killings occur,” Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley said.

The bill is now expected to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.