Phoenix Police replacing Carotid Control Technique with gentler approach

With police departments across the country under a microscope, especially in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, Phoenix Police say they are doing away with restraint maneuvers that involve the neck.

According to a statement released on June 9, Phoenix Police officials says the department will immediately suspend the training and use of the Carotid Control Technique.

According to documents issued by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, a Carotid Restraint Control Hold is a physical technique where a peace officer will apply continuing compression on the carotid arteries on both sides of the neck, with no effect on the respiratory structures of the throat, in order to gain control.

The same document says a Carotid Restraint Control Hold should not be confused with a bar-arm choke hold, or any other form of choke hold where pressure is applied to restrict the flow of air into the body.

"We can't function as a department without the trust of our community and there are adjustments we can make to strengthen that trust,” said Chief Jeri Williams in a statement at the time.

The technique, since it cuts off blood flow to the brain, can render a person unconscious in seconds. There is still much debate over how dangerous it is, with Phoenix Police saying their officers have used it 46 times in the past 4.5 years, resulting in zero deaths.

New technique promises to be kinder and gentler

On Thursday, Phoenix Police officials showed off the new technique officers will be trained to use instead of the Carotid Control Technique.

The new maneuver comes with a nicer name: Compassionate Restraint. It even promises to be kinder and gentler.

Instead of targeting the neck, the officer crosses the shoulder and chest like a seatbelt, then lifts and drops a leg, sending the subject to the ground, controlling them from above and behind.

"In this case, it is about control, less about rendering someone unconscious. It’s about control," said Officer Michael Malpass with Phoenix Police.

Phoenix Police makes claim on chokehold

As for a knee to the neck, like the technique seen being used in Minneapolis with the George Floyd case, or a chokehold, Phoenix Police officials say they have never trained officers to use it, and never will.

"It’s important for the public to know that we have never taught that. And we will never teach that," said Sgt. Mercedes Fortune.

However, in 2017. Mohammed Muhaymin stopped breathing while being restrained by four Phoenix Police officers. Police say he was acting erratically and threatening others. His attorney says Mohammed cried out "I can’t breathe," just like Floyd.

Mohammed's family is suing the city for $10 million.

In 1994, Edward Mallet, an African American who was 25 at the time, died after a Phoenix Police officer use the chokehold on him. Witnesses also said Edward cried out "I can’t breathe."

That case was settled for more than $5 million.

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