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The major police reforms that have been enacted since George Floyd's death

 by Orion Rummler | Source

Nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have put new pressure on states and cities to scale back the force that officers can use on civilians.

Why it matters: Police reforms of this scale have not taken place in response to the Black Lives Matter movement since its inception in 2013, after George Zimmerman's acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.

Bans on tear gas, chokeholds

  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kennedy said on June 25 that the city's police commissioner had placed a moratorium on tear gas and "other non-lethal methods," in response to videos of corralled protesters being tear gassed.

  • The Seattle City Council banned tear gas and chokeholds by police on June 15, per the Seattle Times.

  • Seattle's Black Lives Matter chapter and the ACLU accused officers in a lawsuit of using chemical irritants on protesters one day after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a 30-day ban.

  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order on June 15 to ban state police from using chokeholds and prohibiting the state's emergency services from buying military-grade equipment from the federal government.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation on June 12 banning chokeholds and repealing a decades-old law that sealed records of alleged officer misconduct from the public.

  • Minnesota lawmakers passed a package of police accountability measures on July 21 including a ban on neck restraints and chokeholds.

  • A Hennepin County judge approved a deal on June 8 between Minneapolis and the city's human rights department to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints, and require officers witnessing unauthorized force to intervene.

  • The Phoenix Police Department said on June 9 it wouldn't allow officers to use the "sleeper" hold, a few days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom directed state police to do the same.

  • In California, the Berkeley City Council voted to prohibit the use of tear gas without setting an end date to the ban.

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed directed the city's police department to ban the use of tear gas, tanks and bayonets on unarmed civilians.

  • In Texas, Austin City Council unanimously voted to limit police use of force and reduce the department's 2021 budget, the Texas Tribune reports.

  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an order on June 10 to ban police use of neck restraints and chokeholds, "unless objectively necessary to prevent imminent serious bodily injury or death to the officer or others." He added officers couldn't kneel on a suspect's neck.

  • Dallas police officers were ordered by the city's police chief earlier this month to intervene if another officer uses excessive force, NPR reports.

  • Iowa passed a reform bill on June 11 specifying that chokeholds are only acceptable "when a person cannot be captured any other way" or if the officer "reasonably believes the person would use deadly force."

  • The Washington, D.C., Council passed 90-day legislation banning officers from using rubber bullets or chemical irritants on peaceful protesters, the Washington Post reports.

  • The Broward County, Florida Sheriff's Office said it would ban officers from using chokeholds unless "deadly force is justified" and prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles unless their lives are threatened.

  • Colorado's General Assembly banned the carotid "sleeper hold" on June 13, the Denver Post reports.

Body cameras

  • Seattle's mayor said on June 8 she would order officers to turn on body cameras during protests.

  • Denver's police announced on June 7 that officers and SWAT units would turn on body cameras during "tactical operations," and officers need to report "if they intentionally point any firearm at a person."

  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's executive order requires that troopers wear body cameras.

  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner directed officers on June 10 to wear body cameras while serving no-knock warrants.


  • Georgia Gov. Bill Kemp signed a bipartisan bill on June 23 requiring police officers to document when someone is subjected to a hate crime on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion or national origin.

  • The New York City Council voted on June 18 to require the NYPD to disclose what forms of surveillance technology officers use, and to report what rules are in place to protect personal data collected by officers, CNET reports.

  • New York Police Department commissioner Dermot Shea announced on June 15 the NYPD would disband its plainclothes anti-crime unit.

Finding new ways to police

  • The Minneapolis City Council voted on June 26 to replace the city's police department with a community-based public safety model, putting the decision to the city's Charter Commission for review.

  • The Georgia House voted 152-3 on June 19 to let voters decide to eliminate county police departments, which would transfer authority to county sheriff offices, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

No-knock warrants

  • Louisville, Kentucky's Metro Council unanimously voted on June 11 to ban "no-knock" search warrants in the city.

Go deeper: More Black police officers, yet the killings persist


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