Bellevue Police Department suspends use of neck restraints

Bellevue Police Department Chief Steve Mylett.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue Chief of Police Steve Mylett announced Friday that the department would prohibit the use of neck restraints in circumstances where deadly force is not justified.

The decision was made because of the controversial practice, department officials said. A Minneapolis man died last month when a police officer placed his knee on a suspect’s neck for several minutes. The officer since has been fired and charged with second-degree murder.

The department has trained and approved officers to use a technique, referred to as vascular neck restraint, since 2009.

Procedures like it were permitted as an “intermediate level of force in cases involving resistive or violent individuals posing a threat of harm to the officer,” the department stated.

“As a department, Bellevue Police are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures to better serve our diverse community,” Mylett said. “We recognize that neck restraint techniques, while effective, are highly controversial and divisive. Until we can have additional conversations with the Bellevue community, I have decided to stop their use until further notice, except when the officer’s life is in danger.”

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