In: Criminal Defense

No Longer Legal for Police to Use Chokeholds in Texas

The death of George Floyd after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes prompted renewed efforts nationwide to ban such police techniques. There are generally two types of police chokeholds - one is a respiratory chokehold, where the officer uses their arm across the front of someone’s neck, blocking the person’s airways and making it difficult or impossible to breathe.

The other type of chokehold is when the officer places an arm around the person’s neck and applies pressure on the sides of the neck that slows the blood flowing through two large arteries and renders the person unconscious. Both types of chokeholds can and have directly caused the death of detainees.

After these much-publicized and tragic deaths, the widespread highlighting of the problem led many governmental entities across the country to change their laws and ban chokeholds.

Texas is now one of the states that responded by passing laws to address the deadly chokehold problem. The state legislature passed a law prohibiting law enforcement from deliberately using a chokehold of any kind or similar neck restraint when searching, investigating, or arresting anyone. However, the law allows an exception to use such restraints if necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death of the officer or another person.

The law also establishes an officer’s duty to intervene and stop or prevent another police officer from using excessive force, and the law further requires officers to promptly report excessive force. It prohibits law enforcement agencies from training officers on using chokeholds, as well.

While this will hopefully eliminate the use of chokeholds by police officers, the law cannot physically stop officers from engaging in this now unlawful conduct. There will still likely be instances of chokeholds in Texas police encounters, but hopefully, those officers will now face consequences that will deter others from engaging in the same dangerous conduct.

What Rights Do You Have Under the Law as the Victim of a Chokehold?

If an individual has been subjected to a chokehold, they might have suffered injury that could be compensated for under the law. The same goes for families of people who tragically died due to police chokeholds.

When police officers engage in misconduct and violate someone’s civil rights due to the use of excessive force, victims can take legal action against the officers responsible for the misconduct. This is a complicated legal process, however, so you want the right legal assistance. 

Call a Frisco, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a chokehold, you need the right legal help to stand up for your civil rights. You should discuss what happened with a Frisco criminal defense attorney who can help with your police misconduct case, as well as any criminal charges that you might face. Please contact the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, today for a free consultation as to what your rights are in a Texas criminal case.