Following weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, President Trump today signed an exective order that will aim to change police culture across the country.
The order specifically bans the use of choke holds by police except when an officer’s life is in mortal danger. Basically, choke holds can only be deployed under the same incidents that discharging a firearm would be appropriate.
“We’re united by our desire to ensure peace and dignity and equality for all Americans,”
Trump said after speaking with the family of Ahmed Aubrey:
“These are incredible people … and it’s so sad. Many of these families lost their loved ones in deadly interactions with police … All Americans mourn by your side, your loved ones will not have died in vain,” Trump said. “I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people and I gave a commitment to all of those families … We are going to pursue what we said we will be pursuing it, and we will be pursuing it strongly.”
“As part of this new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned except if an officer’s life is at risk,” he said.
The order also includes provisions for the Justice Department to provide additional resources to police departments nationwide to be trained on de-escalate techniques, additional training on dealing with the homeless, mentally ill, and drug addicted. This includes potentially having social workers become part of the official interactions officers have with the public.
The order also prioritizes the acquisition and development of non-lethal options for subduing suspects. The President said non-lethal options will be explored, sparing no expense.
Despite the sweeping nature of the EO, the President made it clear that he did not support outright defunding of police departments as many protesters have called for.
“I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments. Especially now when we’ve achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history,” Trump said. “Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy and without safety there is a catastrophe.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), welcomed Trump’s EO:
“It strikes a great balance between the vital need for public and officer safety, and the equally vital need for lasting, meaningful, and enforceable police reform,” the organization said. “In our view, President Trump and Congressional leaders are working constructively with law enforcement and community stakeholders to undertake earnest law enforcement reforms that will make our officers and the public they protect safer.”
George Floyd was killed while handcuffed in police custody on May 25th in Minneapolis. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who can be seen in videos with his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck has been arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder. The other three officers who were involved in the arrest have not yet been charged.
The killing has sparked widespread, nationwide protests, which in many instances have, at times, turned into rioting, looting, and property destruction. Hundreds of people have been arrested and injured. One federal law enforcement officer has been killed along with several civilians and numerous injuries among officers and protesters.
The National Guard has been deployed in several states in an effort to keep the peace.
Many state and local leaders have accused outside provocateurs of hijacking protests and turning them violent for their own reasons. Among the groups accused of doing this are ANTIFA, alt-right groups, and white supremacy groups.