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Governor announces new police standard for mass protests

December 4, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this file photo from May 30, 2020, Congresswomen Joyce Beatty and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin try to intervene as Columbus Police use pepper spray on demonstrators during a protest on the death of George Floyd on South High Street near the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio is developing a statewide standard for police departments to follow when dealing with the types of protests over police brutality and racism that erupted in May and June after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis. (Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)
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FILE - In this file photo from May 30, 2020, Congresswomen Joyce Beatty and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin try to intervene as Columbus Police use pepper spray on demonstrators during a protest on the death of George Floyd on South High Street near the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio is developing a statewide standard for police departments to follow when dealing with the types of protests over police brutality and racism that erupted in May and June after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis. (Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Law enforcement agencies must develop policies for handling mass protests that protect public and officer safety while upholding constitutional rights of expression, assembly, and freedom of the press, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday in announcing a new police certification standard.

The policy should restrict the fewest freedoms possible, limit the use of force, target only harmful behavior, and use predictable and unbiased tactics, DeWine said of the mass protest standard developed by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.

The board also revised its use of deadly force standard to prohibit all chokeholds and neck restraints except when officers are justified in using deadly force to defend themselves or others from serious physical injury or death.

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“We must rebuild trust between the public and law enforcement, and these changes continue to build on Ohio’s work to improve community-police relations,” DeWine said.

The standards are voluntary but departments that don’t follow them will be omitted from an annual published list of departments in compliance.

The governor called for the mass protest standard after protests broke out in May and June following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The board previously created statewide police standards for use of force, use of deadly force, recruiting and retention, and body cameras, among others.