Contra Costa District Attorney Becton issues ban on carotid holds by DA’s Investigative Unit

Legislation also introduced to ban carotid restraints by law enforcement statewide

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – Today, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a new policy for peace officers within the DA’s Office to ban the use of the carotid hold technique. The DA’s Office employs peace officers as senior inspectors within the Investigative Unit. The ban is effective as of June 23, 2020.

“The use of the carotid hold has proven to be an unnecessary and deadly police technique and will not be used by members of my Investigative Unit. The risks associated with this technique far outweigh any potential benefit. This important policy change reflects a positive move forward in police community relations and reinforces the continuous need to focus on de-escalation, training, and tactics,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

In addition to Becton’s ban for her staff, earlier this month, in response to the death of George Floyd, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) introduced AB 1196, making it illegal to use a carotid artery restraint tactic to forcibly detain a suspect.

The “bill would prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or a choke hold, as defined,” according to the text of the legislation.

As used in the legislation, “carotid restraint” means a vascular neck restraint or any similar restraint, hold, or other defensive tactic in which pressure is applied to the sides of a person’s neck for the purpose of restricting blood flow to render the person unconscious or otherwise subdue or control the person.

AB 1196 passed the Assembly and is now awaiting hearing before the CA State Senate.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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