Columbia’s Citizens Police Review Board Considers Chokehold Policy 

Columbia’s Citizen Police Review Board was established in the wake of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. According to Columbia’s city website, the board “provides an external and independent process for review of actual or perceived misconduct thereby increasing police accountability to the community and community trust in the police.”

The Use of Deadly Force

On October 19, 2020, the Columbia City Council and Police Chief Geoff Jones discussed Columbia Police Department’s (CPD) current chokehold policy. Council members and officials voiced concern over the current chokehold policy. Most notably, council members and officials expressed unease about the definition of “deadly force.” According to the Columbia Police Department’s Policy and Procedure Manual, police officers can only use chokeholds or neck restraints when using deadly force.

New Draft Ordinance

Councilmember Ian Thomas, Ward 4, introduced a draft ordinance that would completely ban the use of chokeholds and neck restraints by police officers. The draft ordinance is modeled after legislation produced by a professor at the University of Cincinnati. Travis Pringle, a board member of the Citizen Police Review Board, criticizes the draft ordinance for having too many loopholes, stating, “I’m with the chief. I think the language from the University of Cincinnati professor is less restrictive than the current policy.”

If the city cannot agree upon an outright ban, Pringle thinks that clearer language will benefit citizens. According to ABC 17, Pringle said, “If we’re not going to go forward with just a complete ban, period, anything that can help just the community understand that deadly force…if it’s determined that deadly force was warranted that really does include anything that can kill someone. Banning one form won’t excuse anything else.”

Talk to an Attorney to Learn More

If you are interested in attending a Citizens Police Review Board meeting, you can find a complete list of meetings hosted by the board on the City of Columbia website. To learn more about the approved forms of police force, speak with one of our attorneys. A legal professional can help you understand the types of situations that typically lead to the use of force.