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Portland Police release use-of-force policy

June 9, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The police department in Maine’s largest city bars the use of chokeholds and other methods used to restrict the airways and classifies those actions as deadly force, according to the Portland Police Department’s use-of-force policy.

Those actions include “a chokehold, carotid hold, vascular neck restraint or other techniques (that) involve the application of pressure on a person’s throat, and/or restriction of the airway or blood circulation in the neck are prohibited, unless deadly force is justified,” according to the policy.

The policy was first ratified in 2012 and last amended in 2017, it is unclear when chokeholds were barred, the Portland Press Herald reported.

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The department does not proactively release internal policies for public consumption and released this policy six days after the Press Herald requested it on May 29.

The policy was released as millions of protesters across the world participated in demonstrations demanding police reform following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Floyd died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis after an officer pressed a knee on the back of his neck for minutes, even after he became unconscious.

The department’s policies, including use-of-force, are up for review by the Portland City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

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This story has been corrected to show that one officer pressed and held a knee on Floyd’s back, not three.

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