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Chokehold not option for local police

Sunday, Aug 3, 2014 9:40 PM
Last updated Monday, Aug 4, 2014 1:22 AM
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The use of the chokehold by police has gotten increased attention after a case in which a man died in New York, but local police said it should never be used here.

“It’s prohibited in this agency,” said Sgt. Charles Mit­chell of the Richmond Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

He said officers have a variety of options, including Tasers and pepper spray, and do not need to resort to the often dangerous practice.

“It is very dangerous,” Co­lum­bia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said of the chokehold.

He said officers have several hand-to-hand options, but the chokehold is not one of them.

Officers are taught to use pressure points or hard hand techniques such as bar hammerlocks that involve manipulating the arm or wrist to gain control of the suspect.

“If they have to go hand-to-hand … they’re advised to create distance (from the suspect),” Mitchell said.

Hand-to-hand combat by officers has generally dropped since the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office began using Tasers in 2012.

So far this year, the sheriff’s office has reported going hand-to-hand 205 times, compared to the 257 times deputies have pulled a Taser from their belts.

During the same period in 2011 - before Tasers were used by the department - officers went hand-to-hand 333 times.

Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Calvin Chew said the threat of the Taser is often enough to make a suspect compliant. To verify the effectiveness of the threat, the department tracks every time the weapon is pulled.

“It’s good because it allows our officers to not have to go hand-to-hand,” Chew said.

Eliminating some of that use of force also cuts down on officer injuries and workers’ compensation claims.


The New York man who shot a video of police putting a man in a fatal chokehold has been arrested on a gun charge.

Ramsey Orta, 22, was leaving a Sta­ten Island hotel with a 17-year-old girl Sat­ur­day when officers saw him put a handgun in the waistband of her pants, police said. The gun was reported stolen in Michigan in 2007, police said.

Orta was in the hospital Sunday, police said, but they refused to reveal why he was there or his condition, citing privacy laws.

Orta shot the video July 17 of an officer using a chokehold to restrain Eric Garner, who complained that he couldn’t breathe and soon died. The city medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. Chokeholds are prohibited by the NYPD.

– From wire reports

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jimmymac 08/04/14 - 10:29 am

The LEO's should be allowed to use whatever they need to use to subdue a combative criminal. I have to laugh when the lady on TV tells everyone her husband was a good man. He has been arrested numerous times but I guess in her world that doesn't matter. You get a 350 lb. drunken or high man fighting a 180 lb. Leo he should just pull out his service revolver and rid the planet of the thug.

itsanotherday1 08/04/14 - 11:21 am
I believe charges have been

I believe charges have been brought against the officer who choked this man to death, and rightfully so. I watched the video and from the beginning believed choking him was unnecessary.

Pops 08/04/14 - 05:42 pm

Is a perp about to be arrested allowed to use a chokehold on a law enforcement officer.?.....let's be fair.....

Citm10 08/05/14 - 06:58 am
A few points to ponder... Did

A few points to ponder...

Did anyone else notice the size of the suspect compared to the officer and his demeanor? Very large guy and obviously took an offensive stance and started actively resisting arrest..

Did anyone notice that the officer had no taser, or oc spray?

The officer moved off as soon as the guy went down. He didn't keep choking him indefinitly.

Ok Richmond County or any county, you square off with a guy that size with nothing but a firearm and tell me that you wouldn't do whatever you needed to do to take him down.

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