Minneapolis City Council votes to ban chokeholds one day after George Floyd memorial

Family Members Of George Floyd Attend A Memorial Service For George Floyd Following His Death In Minneapolis Police Custody, In Minneapolis
Family members of George Floyd attend a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Minneapolis City Council passed a restraining order against the city’s Police Department on Friday that bans the use of chokeholds.

“We cannot let George Floyd’s death be in vain,” said Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, a day after hundreds of people celebrated Floyd’s life in the first of several memorials.

Under the measure, police officers would be banned from using chokeholds and required to report the use of banned practices and to intervene in such cases, according to the order obtained by CNN.

Additionally, the Minneapolis police chief must authorize use of crowd control weapons, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, according to the order.

The restraining order is temporary and needs a judge’s approval before being enacted.

“This is a moment in time where we can totally change the way our police department operates,” Mayor Jacob Frey said.

Frey said there were difficulties in the past to make change like this and “now we can finally get this right.”

Velma Korbel, director of civil rights for Minneapolis, said she hopes the “state legislature will be compelled to act, to change the laws that impede the city from making the deep systemic change required, and the community has been demanding for decades.”

The order represents the first changes to Minneapolis policing since Floyd’s death. It also would require timely discipline decisions and allow for civilian audits of bodycam footage.

“We just need to have a really deep conversation in our city about race,” City Council President Lisa Bender said before the vote.

Less than two weeks after Floyd’s death at the hands of police unleashed protests across the nation, Bender called the changes “a transformative new model of public safety.”

“We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response,” City Council member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted. “It’s really past due.”

Bender acknowledged calls for cuts in police funding but said some residents in communities of color oppose the move because their neighborhoods are unsafe.

“We need to make urgent change with policing right now,” she said. “We need to bring our community along and have conversations with as many Minneapolis residents as possible… The eyes of the world are on Minneapolis, and we can do this.”

The emergency meeting Friday afternoon was called by Frey, an outspoken critic of the Police Department.

Protesters take to streets for a 10th day

On Thursday, Floyd’s brother joyfully shared memories of their childhood together in Houston — from eating banana and mayonnaise sandwiches to playing football together — during the first memorial planned in Floyd’s honor.

But Philonise Floyd also said it was painful to be so close to his brother for the first time since his death.

“(The casket) wasn’t open, but we knew he was there,” Philonise Floyd told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday. “And just knowing he was there, it hurt.”

The emotional tribute to Floyd’s life came as protesters took to the street for a 10th day and bail was set at $1 million for three of the ex-officers charged in his death.

Protests that were chaotic and confrontational last week were largely peaceful on Thursday. Demonstrators continue to call for justice for Floyd, who died after three officers kneeled on him — one with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes — while he was in police custody. All four officers on the scene are now facing charges.

A friend of Floyd’s said he did not resist arrest and gave the officers no reason to be afraid. Floyd’s death has reignited conversations over racial bias and police brutality in the US.

Recalling video of Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, on a friend’s shoulders saying “Daddy changed the world,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a news conference Thursday that he is seeing “a reawakening of our national conscious, one that was long overdue.”

And Flint, Michigan, Sheriff Chris Swanson said that the message from Floyd’s death has been a tipping point that will change policing in America forever.

“Get your rest, George,” Rev. Al Sharpton said at the memorial. “You changed the world, George.”

Bail set in Floyd’s case

Protesters’ calls for charges against all four officers at the scene of Floyd’s death were answered Wednesday.

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were arrested Wednesday and appeared in court the next day to be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Their bail was set at $1 million each, or $750,000 under conditions including that they do not work in law enforcement or have contact with the Floyd family.

Kueng’s attorney argued for a lower bail because the incident took place on his third shift as a full-fledged police officer and was with his training officer, Derek Chauvin.

Lane had only been on the force for four days at the time of the incident, according to his attorney.

Video showed Chauvin had he knee on Floyd’s neck. Lane and Kueng helped restrain Floyd, while Thao stood nearby.

Chauvin, 44, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But on Wednesday prosecutors charged him with a more serious count of second-degree murder.

Chauvin is expected to appear in court next week.

But Philonise Floyd says the charges aren’t enough.

“I’m never going to be in comfort until those officers are arrested for first-degree murder, not second-degree, not third-degree,” Philonise Floyd said. “That was premeditated, and I want justice.”

Protesters and police

Though the demonstrators calling for justice for Floyd are under curfews in many cities and have clashed with police in recent days, Thursday’s protests were largely peaceful.

Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, NYPD’s Commanding Officer of Patrol at Brooklyn North, told CNN’s Jason Carroll that he was able to deescalate interactions between police and protesters.

“I understand people are frustrated … people want to see justice for what happened in Minneapolis, but I just asked people to be cool, a lot of the people out here are very respectful, they just want to go protest,” Maddrey said. “But you know we have a job to do too, as well, so just try to find that middle line and we were able to just get everybody out of here peacefully.”

Police and protesters were also seen negotiating outside the CNN Center in Atlanta as the city reached its 9 p.m. curfew. While they debated the protests continuing in the night, both agreed they did not want to see it turn to conflict.

But the tone of peace was interrupted by some instances of violence. In Buffalo, New York, a 75-year-old man was knocked down by police as two separate groups of protesters broke out into a physical altercation, Mayor Byron Brown said. The man is in serious but stable condition.

And many places are still feeling the fallout from violence at previous days’ protests.

Nearly 1,200 complaints have been made against the San Jose Police Department since protests began in earnest four days ago, according to Chief Eddie Garcia. In that same time frame, 180 people have been arrested for looting and vandalism, among other charges.

Video posted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution showed a woman being body slammed by an officer in a protest in the Buckhead area of Atlanta last week.

CNN has reached out to the Atlanta Police Department for comment and to find out whether the officer involved faces disciplinary actions but have has not yet heard back.

The woman suffered a broken clavicle, according to a news release from her attorney.