DC emergency police reform bill would ban chokeholds

In response to George Floyd’s death and the protests that have followed, the D.C. Council will consider an emergency bill to improve policing in the city.

A draft of the bill circulated by Council member Charles Allen would ban the use of neck restraints or chokeholds — such as what was used on Floyd — by any local law enforcement. D.C. police policy already bans them, but current law allows them in some cases.

The plan would require continuing education for D.C. police officers on topics including racism, white supremacy and the duty to report suspected misconduct by other officers.

It would also ban police officers from reviewing their body worn camera recordings before writing reports and improve council access to those videos.

The legislation would also allow felons in D.C. to vote while still serving prison time.

The Board of Elections would be required to send eligible residents voter registration forms, voter guides and a mail-in ballot for the November election.

“Forceful, yet peaceful demonstration has created this moment, and the Council must act to move the cause forward,” Allen, who chairs the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, said in a statement. “Collectively, we have an opportunity and an obligation to try and meet the moment, and working with many of my colleagues, we’ve crafted a strong package. But I want to make clear that this isn’t the end of reforms.”

The plan will be introduced and voted on Tuesday.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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