DOJ limits use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that would scale back federal law enforcement agencies’ use of chokeholds and “no-knock” search warrants.

Why it matters: The federal policy overhaul comes as the Justice Department pursues investigations of misconduct in police departments across the country.

Several local governments have banned or limited the use of chokeholds and/or no-knock warrants by local law enforcement after calls for police reform grew last year following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Details: Under the Justice Department’s new policies, federal law enforcement are prohibited from using “carotid restraints” and chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized.”

The policy also “generally limits the use of ‘no knock’ entries in connection with the execution of a warrant to situations where an agent has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person,” the DOJ said. Agents seeking “no knock” warrants must get “supervisory approval from both a federal prosecutor as well as the agent’s law enforcement component,” the department added.

What they’re saying: “Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Justice Department,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“The limitations implemented today on the use of ‘chokeholds,’ ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ warrants, combined with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras to DOJ’s federal agents, are among the important steps the department is taking to improve law enforcement safety and accountability.”

Go deeper: Federal officers now required to wear body cameras when serving warrants, DOJ says

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