Phoenix Police to suspend carotid control technique training and use

Amid over a week of protests over police brutality and race relations, Phoenix Police officials have announced changes to training, as well as tactics their officers use.

In a tweet, police officials say the department will immediately suspend the training and use of the Carotid Control Technique.

"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.

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.

Phoenix Police's decision to suspend training and use of the Carotid Control Technique came as Houston's mayor and Minneapolis' city council announced restrictions on the use of choke holds.

Phoenix, along with other parts of the country, have seen days of protests following the death of George Floyd, a man who died while in Minneapolis Police custody on May 25.

On Monday, protesters marched on the streets of Downtown Phoenix for the first time after Gov. Doug Ducey's statewide curfew expired without an extension. Previous protests have also seen Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams joining the ranks of the marchers.

"What happens is we’re gonna work together, look at policies, work together, make changes," said Chief Williams on June 5. "We’re gonna work together on the killings. We’re going to work together, but I need you guys to give us some time."

Protesters speak out

Some protesters, like Katt McKinney with the groups Black Women of Faith and All Black Lives Matter, say the decision is long overdue.

“The chokehold should be outlawed," said McKinney. "The next thing that needs to go are the bullets."

Other protesters, however, say while it is a step in the right direction, it is not enough.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s not enough. We need more change to happen,” said Fe'la Iniko.

While Tuesday's march was smaller than ones one week prior, organizers have vowed to keep going.

"Check the civil rights history. Ask them how long they went for," said Iniko. "We’re gonna go as long as our emotions tell us we should be protesting for. Until we can get some real policy changes."

Police union officials respond

Britt London with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association says his members in the union were blindsided by a move that he says didn’t seem to be a problem.

"This is something that’s used in between strikes, punches, kicks, carotid control is next, and then your last resort is deadly force as the situation dictates, and I think that’s what worried some guys," said London.