[NYC Chokehold Law]
Lancman: “For six long years, Mayor de Blasio vehemently opposed my bill making it a crime for officers to perform a chokehold…the mayor sees an opening to undo this key police reform.”
Queens Councilman Rory Lancman says the current attempt to amend the chokehold law he introduced is an attempt by NYC politicians–including Mayor Bill de Blasio–to weaken it and the law’s goal of holding violent criminal cops accountable for their crimes.
Eric Garner’s killer supposedly wasn’t reckless. Neither were Sean Bell’s. Or Akai Gurley’s.
All of them avoided indictment, were acquitted or had their conviction tossed out because either prosecutors, jurors or judges couldn’t or wouldn’t accept that those police officers acted recklessly.
So why would the mayor be pushing an amendment requiring prosecutors to also prove recklessness when officers sit, kneel or stand on someone’s chest or back in a manner that compresses their diaphragm — a dangerous maneuver which officers are warned against in the NYPD Patrol Guide itself — a prohibition he signed into law barely a month ago, after passing the City Council by a vote of 47-3?
Why, even though not a single example has been offered of either an officer’s unfair prosecution under the law or of a thwarted arrest caused by the law?
The two-fold answer is obvious, and ominous.
For six long years, Mayor de Blasio vehemently opposed my bill making it a crime for officers to perform a chokehold, and opposed adding to the bill the prohibition on restricting breathing by sitting, kneeling or standing on the chest or back. He signed the legislation reluctantly, his hand forced by the public outcry over police abuse in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
With crime rising and the public now arguably focused on other mayoral-induced disasters, the mayor sees an opening to undo this key police reform.
The amendment in question would require prosecutors to prove both that the officer acted “recklessly” and caused “injury due to asphyxiation.”
Recklessness is a very high standard, requiring that a person “is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists.” When it comes to holding police officers accountable, that is damn near a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Read the rest of this story here:https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-save-the-citys-chokehold-law-20200901-3bh5k7pnl5fpxchhkgpyw4y6xa-story.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true