Policy Assessment: Chokeholds and Other Neck Restraints

Police officers employ a variety of physical restraint methods to control people, including various measures to restrict air passageways, with the chokehold being the most common method. The carotid or vascular restraint, which impedes blood flow to the brain and is designed to render a person unconscious for a brief period of time, is another method involving pressure on the neck. These techniques often accomplish the goal of subduing people, but their use—and misuse—has been a flashpoint for public protests, and the phrase “I can’t breathe” has become a symbol of police brutality.

 

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