June 16, 2020
By: Deborah Childress
President Trump spoke in the Rose Garden at the White House at noon today, where he signed the “Safe Policing for Safe Communities” executive order. The order contains directives, including a national ban on the use of chokeholds in all police encounters with the public, except where a police officer’s life is at risk.
The chokehold, which places pressure on the front of the neck and throat, disables a suspect by shutting down the windpipe, resulting in lack of air supply It is different than the sometimes used carotid and neck restraints.
The president’s executive order also includes incentives for police forces who consistently comply with “best practices,” the creation of a new federal database that enables police departments nationwide to access police officer use-of-excessive-force complaints prior to hiring, and providing police support through the employment of mental health co-responders who can help police offers safely address the mentally ill, the homeless and the addicted. However, it is expected that occasions will arise where the safety of these new co-responders cannot be guaranteed and will require police officers to handle some situations without their attendance.
President Trump is also encouraging that new weapon investments be made to reduce device lethality. No disarming of police guns is included.
With strong backing by police associations and unions, the president is encouraging the U.S. Congress to act quickly with legislation. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tim Scott, a Senate Republican representing South Carolina, are spearheading legislation as the House forms its draft.