Justice Department Restricts Law Enforcement’s Use of Chokeholds and No-Knock Entries

The Justice Department said Tuesday it would be imposing strict limitations on when federal law enforcement officers can use chokeholds and “no-knock” entries, the latest in a series of steps undertaken by the Biden administration to bolster law enforcement accountability.

Under the new policies, federal law enforcement components are prohibited from using chokeholds and “carotid restraints” unless deadly force is authorized, which is considered when an officer has a “reasonable belief” they or another person face imminent danger of death or serious injury.

The department is also placing new limits on the use of “no-knock” entries with the execution of warrants. Under the policy, such entries can only be used when an agent believes there is a threat to physical safety. In those circumstances, the agent must receive approval from a federal prosecutor and his or her law enforcement component.

If an agent does not anticipate the need for a no-knock entry when the warrant was sought, they can conduct such an entry only if “exigent circumstances arise at the scene” that would put the agent or another person at risk. In those cases, the officer must “immediately” notify his or her supervisor and provide written notice to federal prosecutors.

“Building trust and confidence between law enforcement and the public we serve is central to our mission at the Justice Department,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The limitations implemented today on the use of ‘chokeholds,’ ‘carotid restraints’ and ‘no-knock’ warrants, combined with our recent expansion of body-worn cameras to DOJ’s federal agents, are among the important steps the department is taking to improve law enforcement safety and accountability.”

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SOURCE: CBS News, Melissa Quinn