The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced that it was adopting policy changes to limit the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” entries when serving warrants.
In a memorandum issued to the directories of various federal agencies — including the FBI, U.S. Marshals and the DEA — Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that federal agents should avoid using chokeholds or “carotid restraints” unless the use of deadly force has been authorized.
According to a press release, the Department of Justice says that “deadly force” is defined as “when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”
Agents are also instructed by the memorandum to not use “no knock” entries unless they have “reasonable grounds to believe that knocking or announcing agents presence would create an immediate threat of violence to the agent, and/or other person.”
According to the press release the new policy is “narrower that what is allowed by law” and agents must first obtain “supervisory permission” from both a prosecutor as well as the agent’s law enforcement agency.
In recent years, activists have called for the restriction of chokeholds as well as no-knock warrants. This was especially true in light of nationwide protests against police violence and systemic racism.
Eric Garner is one of the many victims of police chokeholds. Officers entered Breonna Taylor’s home on a no-knock warrant and shot her to death.
“Building trust between law enforcement personnel and the public we serve, is central to our mission in the Justice Department,” Attorney general Merrick Garland said. “The department is making important steps to improve law enforcement safety, accountability, and safety by limiting the use of ‘chokeholds’, ‘carotid restraints, and ‘no knock’ warrants,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.