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Having Second Thoughts? City Council To Look At Language In NYPD Chokehold Bill

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Changes are coming to the city's controversial chokehold bill that subjects officers to criminal charges.

The NYPD has denounced it, saying it goes too far. Now, with a spike in gun violence, the City Council is reconsidering, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Wednesday.

Widespread protests over the death of George Floyd sparked the city to address police reforms more urgently, passing what's known as the chokehold bill, with Mayor Bill de Blasio's support.

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Ignoring concerns raised by the NYPD, the law also allows for criminal charges if officers compress a subject's diaphragm, restricting airflow, during an arrest.

"It's impossible for a police officer to safely place anyone under arrest if you can't touch them from their neck to their belt," said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch.

That's the common refrain from law enforcement unions, who banded together to sue the city.


As gun violence surges at an alarming rate, city leaders are back tracking. Like Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who passionately supported the initial bill.

"There was language that was put in related to the diaphragm and that, right now, seems subjective and it's not clear," Johnson said.

The exact details of the amendment have not been released.

"Chokeholds will be illegal no matter what. As I understand, the focus is on clarification on the issue of diaphragms," de Blasio said.

The PBA said the whole bill should be struck down.

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Meanwhile, neighborhoods that want both police reforms and safety continue to be traumatized by the onslaught of gun violence.

The City Council is expected to introduce the changes during Thursday's meeting. However, Johnson said nothing will be finalized until lawmakers receive public input.

While officers said it's too difficult to make arrests under the current law, no one will say if there has been a slowdown, although data shows fewer arrests have been made.

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