To form the new policy, the Mayor has been meeting with law enforcement officials and community leaders over the past several weeks.
As a result of this collaborative effort, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Law Enforcement and Community Service and Protection has recommended the following policy changes that take place immediately. We have listed the below changes with some of our comments below each mandate.
- Officers are required to give a verbal warning, before using deadly force, except where there are exigent circumstances.
It is concerning that this mandate, outside any court’s decision, places an officer either wasting precious seconds by giving a warning or facing scrutiny or even civil litigation if they do not. In a decision that could mean an officer’s life, does it really make sense to demand this action?
We recommend the following: Officers should give a verbal warning, if possible without compromising safety, before using deadly force.
- Officers are required to de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force. De-escalation strategies include disengagement, area containment, waiting out a subject, summoning reinforcements, calling in specialized units or employing other strategies.
Although this is again outside any case law, we have no issue with this language.
- Officers will not employ chokeholds or strangleholds, except in emergency circumstances where it is immediately necessary to use deadly force and the authorized weapons are inoperable, inaccessible or otherwise not available.
So let us get this straight. The way this reads, an officer could use a weapon before an LVNR, which is not considered deadly force. This doesn’t surprise us but take a look at this video, which reminds us of the Sterling video in Baton Rouge and tell us again with a straight face that the LVNR should not be used. Maybe the term “chokehold” is not what they are referring to as an LVNR. For the safety of officers and citizens, we hope that the LVNR is still in place.
- Officers are prohibited from discharging a firearm at a moving vehicle unless the vehicle or the persons within the vehicle pose an immediate deadly threat to others.
This one actually makes sense compared to some of the other policies we have seen. If the vehicle is being used as a deadly weapon, it appears that using deadly force is applicable.
- Officers will be required to intervene to prevent another officer from using excessive force and to immediately report when they observe the use of excessive force by another officer.
Once again, this makes sense and we have no issues with it. We continue to wait for any leader, in any city, to actually tell their citizens that their behavior matters. Policy changes can be made until infinity but if suspects continue to resist and fight police officers, there should be no expectation of their safety.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.