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Lakewood Police bans carotid hold; follows footsteps of Denver, Aurora police departments

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 20:35:33-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Lakewood Police Department has banned the use of carotid control techniques effective immediately, following in the footsteps of both the Denver and Aurora police departments.

The announcement was tweeted Wednesday evening by the department. No other information about the decision to ban the technique was immediately released, but speaking to Denver7, a Lakewood police spokesman said the department was not afraid of change.

“We pride ourselves in being a progressive police department that’s not afraid to change and not afraid to look at the way that we do things, and to change with the times,” said John Romero, a spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department.

The decision and subsequent announcement come on the same week that both Denver and Aurora updated their policies about the use of this restraint technique.

On Sunday, the Denver Police Department announced policy changes that clarify hat officers are banned from using chokeholds, will require SWAT officers to use their body cameras and mandate that officers report to supervisors if they point a weapon at a person.

Per the updated policies, Denver Police officers will not be able to use chokeholds or carotid compressions, “with no exceptions.” They will also have to report to a supervisor if they point a weapon at a person on purpose.

Previously, officers had been allowed to apply a chokehold or carotid compression only “if engaged in a lethal force encounter.”

Two days later, on Tuesday, Aurora Police followed suit by issuing five changes to department policy, including a ban on the carotid hold. The changes also call for certain warnings officers must give before being authorized to fire a weapon.

The technique has been put into question following a national outcry over the death of George Floyd, who kept repeating he could not breathe after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the man’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, leading to his death. Floyd's death was the latest instance of a black man dying while a police officer put pressure on their carotid arteries or airways.