City Commission, Fargo Police revise policy on use of chokeholds

Fargo Police Chief David Todd says clarity during these times is important for officers and the community they serve

FARGO, N.D. — The Fargo City Commission votes unanimously in favor of a revision to Fargo Police’s “Response to Resistance” Policy.

“It needs to stop,” said Faith Dixon with Black Lives Matter Fargo-Moorhead. “The chokehold is banned in other states, completely banned, and we are still even talking about it.”

In light of recent conversations regarding police brutality across the nation, Fargo Police Chief David Todd is making the policy change addressing use of force.

In collaboration with Mayor Tim Mahoney and command staff, Todd has updated his department’s “Use of Force and Response to Resistance” Policy to include what a chokehold is and when it can be used.

Chief Todd says the goal of this revision is to simply better reflect what the department’s policy already stated more clearly.

“We don’t train chokeholds in our department,” said Todd. “If you administer a chokehold, you are restricting airway or blood flow to the head, so that is arguably a deadly force situation. So, in order to use that type of maneuver, you have to be able to articulate why that was a deadly force situation.”

Under the policy revision, a chokehold is defined as “a physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe or blood flow for the purpose of incapacitation.”

The only exception is if an officer or another person “is in fear of death or serious bodily injury and there is no other alternative available based on presenting circumstances.”

Some in the community believe chokeholds must be banned completely.

“It is 2020. We have seen many black men and women that have died, loss of life, because this is even being considered.”

Faith Dixon and Jamaal Abegaz of Black Lives Matter Fargo-Moorhead say all forms of prone restraint, meaning restraining a person face-down, should be banned.

“This kills people,” said Abegaz. “I think that as we move forward here banning chokeholds, we should also consider banning these prone restraints as well.”

The local Black Lives Matter chapter and city officials are meeting on a regular basis to discuss policies regarding law enforcement and racial equity across the metro.

Read Fargo Police’s full policy manual by clicking here.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News