News

Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for end of carotid artery restraint by police

Excessive use of force has 'no place' in policing, governor says

At a June 5 press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces his support for legislation that ends the practice of carotid holds by police officers. Screenshot obtained via California Governor Facebook page.

Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his support for ending the use of carotid holds on detainees, which is similar to the one used on George Floyd in Minneapolis, during his Friday, June 5, press conference.

"Across this country, we train techniques on strangleholds that put people's lives at risk. Now, we can argue that these are used as exceptions, but at the end of the day, a carotid hold, that literally is designed to stop people's blood from flowing into their brain, has no place any longer in the 21st-century practices and policing," he said. He has directed police departments to end the practice and its training immediately.

Newsom's comments come a day after Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, introduced Assembly Bill 119 to make it illegal to use carotid restraint.

The state banned chokeholds, also known as neck restraints, by officers decades ago, Newsom said, but strangleholds were still being used. He said there has been a hierarchy of values that diminished on certain people based on the color of their skin, and it must change.

Newsom used the press conference, which over the past two months has largely focused on issues related to COVID-19, to emphasize the state's commitment to change and improve its treatment of people of color and to move to parity. He has traveled throughout the state to speak with community leaders about the racial inequities and subsequent outrage over police abuses.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

In his interactions and through demonstrations throughout the state in recent days, Newsom said it's clear that youth have expressed with clarity and conviction that they are out of patience.

"They have no patience," he said, adding that there's now a deeper sense of urgency to commit to change beyond policy and to convert that to action.

The black community does not need to change. We need to change," he said. "We can't be long on rhetoric and short on results," he said.

Ron Davis, who served as East Palo Alto police chief for nine years, speaks at a June 5 press conference where Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Davis would serve as one of his advisers on policing and inequality reform. Screenshot obtained via California Governor Facebook page.

As part of his plan, he announced the appointments of Lateefa Simon, president of the Oakland-based Akonadi Foundation and an advocate for civil rights, racial justice, and juvenile justice; and Ronald Davis, former executive director of President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and a 30-year police veteran, as advisers on policing and inequality reform.

Davis served with Oakland police for 20 years as a captain and was police chief in East Palo Alto for nine years starting in 2005. He is credited with significantly bringing down violence in East Palo Alto during the city's homicide crisis through community policing programs.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

In the 1960s, video evidence on civil rights shows that "our job was to oppress civil rights," he said of policing at Friday's press conference. Now, the job of police officers is to protect those rights.

But departments across the country must make good on their stated intentions.

"I've seen a lot of chiefs take a knee. Now take a stance," he said.

Davis said that under Newsom's leadership, the state can help change the culture of policing.

Newsom, quoting 14th-century Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri, said "the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis remained neutral."

The governor said the state will also look at standardizing how force is used in protests, such as the use of tear gas and projectiles such as rubber bullets. Currently, municipalities have their own policies, which vary.

The state enacted Assembly Bill 392 last August, which is the country's toughest law against the use of force. The bill redefines when homicide by an officer is justifiable. Under previous law, a homicide committed by a peace officer was justifiable when arresting a person who committed a felony and the person was fleeing or resisting arrest.

AB 392 limits deadly force to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person, among other reasons related to a threat of serious injury or immediate threat of death.

That bill hasn't stopped violence by police and mistrust, however, he said. Senate Bill 230, companion legislation on implicit bias training and enacted in September 2019, is set to go into effect in January 2021. Newsom said his staff is looking into pulling some features of the bill together faster before that time, however.

He added the state is working to address disparities related to incarceration, prenatal care, early education and other programs. He noted that only 10% of black students have met proficiency standards by the eighth grade.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for end of carotid artery restraint by police

Excessive use of force has 'no place' in policing, governor says

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 5:27 pm

Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his support for ending the use of carotid holds on detainees, which is similar to the one used on George Floyd in Minneapolis, during his Friday, June 5, press conference.

"Across this country, we train techniques on strangleholds that put people's lives at risk. Now, we can argue that these are used as exceptions, but at the end of the day, a carotid hold, that literally is designed to stop people's blood from flowing into their brain, has no place any longer in the 21st-century practices and policing," he said. He has directed police departments to end the practice and its training immediately.

Newsom's comments come a day after Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, introduced Assembly Bill 119 to make it illegal to use carotid restraint.

The state banned chokeholds, also known as neck restraints, by officers decades ago, Newsom said, but strangleholds were still being used. He said there has been a hierarchy of values that diminished on certain people based on the color of their skin, and it must change.

Newsom used the press conference, which over the past two months has largely focused on issues related to COVID-19, to emphasize the state's commitment to change and improve its treatment of people of color and to move to parity. He has traveled throughout the state to speak with community leaders about the racial inequities and subsequent outrage over police abuses.

In his interactions and through demonstrations throughout the state in recent days, Newsom said it's clear that youth have expressed with clarity and conviction that they are out of patience.

"They have no patience," he said, adding that there's now a deeper sense of urgency to commit to change beyond policy and to convert that to action.

The black community does not need to change. We need to change," he said. "We can't be long on rhetoric and short on results," he said.

As part of his plan, he announced the appointments of Lateefa Simon, president of the Oakland-based Akonadi Foundation and an advocate for civil rights, racial justice, and juvenile justice; and Ronald Davis, former executive director of President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and a 30-year police veteran, as advisers on policing and inequality reform.

Davis served with Oakland police for 20 years as a captain and was police chief in East Palo Alto for nine years starting in 2005. He is credited with significantly bringing down violence in East Palo Alto during the city's homicide crisis through community policing programs.

In the 1960s, video evidence on civil rights shows that "our job was to oppress civil rights," he said of policing at Friday's press conference. Now, the job of police officers is to protect those rights.

But departments across the country must make good on their stated intentions.

"I've seen a lot of chiefs take a knee. Now take a stance," he said.

Davis said that under Newsom's leadership, the state can help change the culture of policing.

Newsom, quoting 14th-century Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri, said "the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in times of crisis remained neutral."

The governor said the state will also look at standardizing how force is used in protests, such as the use of tear gas and projectiles such as rubber bullets. Currently, municipalities have their own policies, which vary.

The state enacted Assembly Bill 392 last August, which is the country's toughest law against the use of force. The bill redefines when homicide by an officer is justifiable. Under previous law, a homicide committed by a peace officer was justifiable when arresting a person who committed a felony and the person was fleeing or resisting arrest.

AB 392 limits deadly force to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person, among other reasons related to a threat of serious injury or immediate threat of death.

That bill hasn't stopped violence by police and mistrust, however, he said. Senate Bill 230, companion legislation on implicit bias training and enacted in September 2019, is set to go into effect in January 2021. Newsom said his staff is looking into pulling some features of the bill together faster before that time, however.

He added the state is working to address disparities related to incarceration, prenatal care, early education and other programs. He noted that only 10% of black students have met proficiency standards by the eighth grade.

Comments

Overdue
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:47 am
Overdue, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2020 at 7:47 am
4 people like this

This is good and overdue news from our Governor. Seems the Palo Alto Police Dept must get rid of its use of strangle and carotid holds now.
But if there is little to no accountability within the department which seems the case now, what does it matter? The only accountability will continue to be through lawsuits we read about and pay for.


Zookeeper Approach
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Zookeeper Approach, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm
10 people like this

Why can't the police simply use tranquiler darts like they do to catch and subdue wild animals?

That way no one is inadvertently killed and the suspects can then be brought to trial?

With social distancing mandates currently in effect, getting too close to a suspect can also have it's drawbacks from a public health standpoint.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 7, 2020 at 7:53 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 7, 2020 at 7:53 am
1 person likes this

The strangle hold approach is illegal and not part of regular police training. What we all saw was a problem person enacting an illegal procedure in law enforcement training. I don't pretend to know the politics of Minnesota and what ever their history is but that is not what is taught in the police academy.

It harkens to a show on TV about a giant wrestling watch with John Cena defending his world wide title against an other fierce wrestler with a history. The two have gone at it before. The other wrestler was doing the neck choke hold and the referee did not stop it. I think this same wrestler previously did injure John's neck and it took time to repair. It was horrible to watch, as was the current Floyd death. This was not a black - white match. It was US vs a soviet country.

Some one needs to figure out what professional sports are doing to promote lethal behavior. Tons of children were at this giant wrestle mania event. This was a repeat of a previous event. Children and adults are watching some professional events which are triggering societal behavior.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:28 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:28 pm
Like this comment

AB119 is a start. But, at some point, we have to address the (non)management of police. Whenever excessive force happens, the issue is always presented as "do police management/politicians/public have your back". Well, that should depend on whether or not police behaved properly, and, if they didn't, then, no, we don't have your back. We have to have a system where police are managed. Everybody in every workplace has their performance subject to review.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:18 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:18 pm
Like this comment

I support considering all specific proposals for reform, whether at the local, state, or federal level.
Contrast this approach with the broad smears others are currently doing: all police are bad/racist, etc., all people who look a certain way are racist, privileged, etc., all gistory of the U.S. is racist, and “defunding” the police. If you propose the latter, please specify in your proposal the exact details. I am in no way affiliated with police, but I think we need police or public safety services in some coherent form relatively similar to what we have now. If you want to reform police PRACTICES, then I surely agree and will listen with interests to your specific proposals.


Salena
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Salena, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:30 pm
4 people like this

When Congress abolishes their own Secret Service protection, people will consider abolishing their local police....ie...it will never happen. Just all political pandering for certain votes.


Manni
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:36 pm
Manni, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:36 pm
4 people like this

Why does Gavin get a gun toting Secret Service brut, and yet we are expected to give away our ONLY protection that we pay for with our own TAXES! Why is his life more important than mine? Why does he get to keep his protection yet he supports cuts to my protection?


Lorelle
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:56 pm
Lorelle, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:56 pm
3 people like this

If it’s ALL ABOUT RACE and only white cops are bad, just ask the family of Christopher Wallace...B..I..G...Russel Poole? LA police has had problems for years! There are good and bad cops of ALL colors! Police aren’t perfect and loose their lives at work...do you risk your life for others everyday you go to your work?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:20 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:20 am
Like this comment

Posted by Lorelle, a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)

>> Police aren’t perfect and loose their lives at work...do you risk your life for others everyday you go to your work?

According to this 2016 article, the riskiest professions are: (Web Link)

1) Logger
2) Fisherman
3) Pilot (aircraft)
4) Roofer
5) Trash (garbagemen, recyclers, etc.)
6) Iron and steel worker
7) Driver (truck, sales, etc.)
8) Farmer/rancher/agr. worker
9) Construction supervisor (& similar)
10) Groundskeeper

Recently, I think "health care worker giving COVID-19 care" would be added (Web Link)

Logging, fishing, roofing industries nearly always at or near top of the list. But, consider item #8. Farming. Agricultural workers die to bring us food. It doesn't get any more basic than that. Why don't we have a motorcade every time a farmer dies in the line of duty when a tractor rolls over?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.