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Minnesota state lawmakers ban neck restraints after George Floyd’s death

Minnesota lawmakers Jamie Becker-Finn, Jamie Long, Liz Olson
Minnesota lawmakers Jamie Becker-Finn, Jamie Long and Liz Olson talk at the start of a special session Monday in St. Paul, Minn.
(Glenn Stubbe / Star Tribune)

The Minnesota state legislature passed a package of police-accountability measures early Tuesday that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis.

The sweeping package, said to be one of the most substantial changes to the state’s criminal justice system in years, also bans chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training, in which officers are instructed to view all encounters as inherently dangerous.

Passage of the measures comes after nearly two months of negotiations that followed Floyd’s death May 25. Floyd, who was Black, was restrained face down in the street while handcuffed and with three officers holding him down, including a white officer who had a knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.

The Minnesota House approved the measure 102-29 just before midnight Monday. The Senate passed it 60-7 and sent the bill to Gov. Tim Walz a couple of hours later, in the early hours of Tuesday.

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The legislation also improves data collection around deadly force encounters and creates a new state unit to investigate those cases. It increases funding for crisis intervention training, creates an arbitration panel to handle police misconduct cases and establishes incentives for officers to live in the communities they police, the Star Tribune reported.

Walz, a Democrat, had to call the special session to give lawmakers a chance to rescind the emergency powers he’s been using to respond to the coronavirus crisis. House Democrats blocked a GOP effort to void those powers.

The session also gave legislators another chance to pass the policing measures and a bonding bill, which they were unable to agree on during last month’s special session.

The bonding bill fell to the wayside as legislators worked to pass police reform before time expired on the session.


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