The Anne Arundel County Police Department has revised its policies regarding chokeholds, categorizing them as deadly force akin to discharging a service weapon though not prohibiting their use.
The policy change, which says chokeholds can only be used in defense of human life, was instituted by the department last week and adds levels of scrutiny and review when chokeholds are used.
Earlier this month, the department was sued by a man who said he was illegally arrested and put in a chokehold last year. Charges were later dropped by prosecutors who had concerns about the circumstances surrounding the arrest, part of which was caught on video.
As part of the lawsuit, 27-year-old Daniel Jarrells of Odenton, Maryland, is asking the department for financial damages and to ban the use of chokeholds.
The revision doesn’t go that far, but County Executive Steuart Pittman tells The Capital Gazette he’s satisfied with the change.
A leader of one of the county’s police unions said the union was able to offer input on the policy change.
O’Brien Atkinson said officers already try to avoid using chokeholds whenever possible, and expressed confidence that future incidents that involve their use will stand up to the new scrutiny.