Gov. Gavin Newsom directs California police officers to stop training use of carotid chokehold

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he's instructing California police officers to stop training the use of the carotid hold in detaining suspects.

The carotid hold is a form of chokehold that cuts off blood flow through the carotid arteries to the brain.

"At the end of the day, the carotid hold that literally is designed to stop people's blood from flowing into their brain. That has no place any longer in 21st century practices," Newsom said.

The governor said he is immediately instructing POST, the state's commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, to stop training the practice. He added there was also legislation in the works to ban the carotid hold by law in California and he would sign it as soon as it was brought to his desk.

Chokehold restraints, which are different from carotid holds and cut off airflow through the windpipe, are already banned in California.

Newsom hinted his announcement is the first of more reforms to come. He said there needs to be statewide standards on how police do crowd control.

"Protesters have the right not to be harassed," the governor said. "Protesters have the right to protest peacefully. Protesters have the right to do so without being arrested, gassed, and shot up by projectiles."

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Newsom spoke at length about the systemic racism that affects black people across all sectors of society.

He spoke about the racist impact of mandatory minimum sentencing and the war on drugs, which has led to long prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

"One thing we know about our criminal justice system is it's not blind. It discriminates based on the color of your skin. It discriminates on wealth," the governor said. "I don't think this. I know this. Our criminal justice system treats people that are rich and guilty better than it treats people that are poor and innocent."

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"The black community does not need to change," Newsom said. "We need to change. We have a responsibility to change. Our institutions need to change."

Finally, he encouraged Californians to take a stand.

"Dante infamously said that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those in a time of moral crisis that maintain their neutrality. This is not a time to be neutral."

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and protests across the U.S.

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