Letter Re: NYC Chokehold

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Hugh,

Just a note about chokeholds. A chokehold uses the forearm to put pressure on the windpipe and can easily result in serious injury or death. Most LE departments have outlawed them as a restraint and classified them as “deadly force”, the same as a knife, club, or firearm. Often mistaken for a chokehold (and usually referred to as such by the ignorant media) is the LVNR (Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint), which, when properly applied cuts off blood flow to the brain and the subject passes out in less than 10 seconds, at which time the LVNR is released. Pressure exerted by the LVNR hold is only on the sides of the neck and never on the throat. An LEO must be trained and certified to use the LVNR, as when it is applied improperly it becomes a chokehold. As with other LE tools, yearly re-certification should be required, but department policies vary. LVNR is a little more difficult to use than a chokehold, and it takes regular practice to become proficient in its use. Also, EMS must be engaged immediately after the use of the LVNR to check the subject and verify no injury has occurred. As academy recruits, we all had to experience it and apply it to our fellow students. Failure to release the LVNR immediately upon gaining control of the subject is considered excessive use of force and/or deadly force, both being actionable in court. I have no way of knowing what happened in the NYC chokehold incident, but all indicators point to the use of a chokehold and NOT LVNR. If so, the liability for excessive use of force lies wholly on the officer and the department. – JMHO

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