KEY POINTS

  • Seattle City Council unanimously bans police chokeholds
  • A ban on crowd control weapons was also approved
  • Pelosi, Barr and Trump support ending police chokeholds nationally

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of chokeholds for law enforcement Monday (June 15).

The chokehold ban came amid ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, who died after he was pinned to the ground with a knee to his neck.

The city council also voted unanimously to ban the Seattle Police Department's ability to own, purchase, rent, store or use crowd control weapons.

The weapons ban follows a federal ruling that found Seattle police used excessive force on peaceful protesters after using tear gas on them, violating their First Amendment right to free speech.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant told MyNorthwest that the legislation was the least the city council can do, but it was not enough.

“Legislation like this is critical, especially because it shows the power of a grassroots movement overcoming an entrenched establishment for so many decades, but it needs to be paired with more structural changes in society,” Sawant said.

Councilmember Lorena Gonzales expressed support for the ban on crowd control weapons, saying that the council still needed to address the disposal of weapons currently held by the Seattle Police Department.

“The fact that those types of weapons are being used on our own residents is just abhorrent,” Gonzales said.

Federal officials have already pushed for a chokehold ban at the national level.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described police chokeholds as “lynching” and said she doubts Republicans in the house would oppose the measure.

“I can't imagine they wouldn't have a ban on chokeholds. Let's get reasonable,” Pelosi told CNN.

Attorney General William Barr expressed his support on a federal ban on police chokeholds but clarified that there should be an exception if an officer is “confronted with potentially lethal force.”

“I think there's a general agreement among police agencies that we need clearer standards,” Barr told Fox News. “We have to make sure those standards are trained to and we have to make sure that there are systems in place that hold officers accountable.

“It would be I think a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” Trump told Fox News.