SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is suspending the use of the carotid control hold, effective immediately.
In a press release Tuesday, the department said it will be “evaluating (the hold’s) use and effectiveness as a compliance tool.”
“The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is committed to transparency about law enforcement budgets, policies and practices,” the statement read. “The Department guards against bias, diligently governs how we use force, and holds accountable deputies who betray the public trust.”
The maneuver, which can block the flow of blood to the brain, has been suspended or banned at several law enforcement agencies across Southern California, after the death of George Floyd prompted mass protests against police violence and racial bias.
“Data demonstrates that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a long-standing commitment to professionalism and integrity in our delivery of public safety services,” the sheriff’s statement says. “Law enforcement must be free from racial discrimination and protect the constitutional rights of each person.”
In addition to suspending the use of the carotid hold, the department also provided information on other practices and policies.
The O.C. Sheriff’s Department does not authorize or train deputies to use chokeholds, according to the release. Nor does it authorize deputies to “place their knee or bodyweight on a subject’s neck” — a reference to the maneuver that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin used to detain George Floyd.
Deputies are also trained in de-escalation tactics and are taught to exhaust all other alternatives before shooting. It is also expected that any deputy who “observes serious misconduct shall take appropriate action to cause the misconduct to immediately cease.”
In an internal memo to the department on May 28, Sheriff Don Barnes told deputies that they are expected to not just comply with training, but must hold themselves and their partners to a higher ethical standard.
“Training and policies are only as good as the people entrusted with carrying them out,” the memo states. ” The badge is tarnished when a peace officer acts outside of their training, violates rights or lets bias cloud judgement. Law enforcement depends on the trust of the community. Incidents like this erode the trust of law enforcement across the nation.”