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Justice Department limits use of chokeholds and 'no-knock' warrants

The controversial techniques have been deployed by law enforcement in a number of high-profile police-involved deaths in recent years.

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Federal law enforcement officers will be prohibited from using chokeholds and "carotid restraints" unless deadly force is authorized and will be severely limited from using no-knock entries, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The controversial techniques have been deployed by law enforcement in a number of high-profile police-involved deaths in recent years.

The carotid restraint technique restricts blood flow to the brain causing temporary unconsciousness and can be inherently dangerous if not done properly, according to the DOJ.

While the memo is directed at federal law enforcement agencies and does not mention high-profile deaths of civilians who died by the hands of local police officers, the Justice Department acknowledged that "the use of certain physical restraint techniques — namely chokeholds and carotid restraints — by some law enforcement agencies to incapacitate a resisting suspect has too often led to tragedy."

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has also directed DOJ to limit the use of "no knock" entries that's connected to the execution of a warrant. If an agent has a reason to believe that announcement themselves at a suspect's home would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and or another person, the agent must first get supervisory approval from both a federal prosecutor as well as the agent's law enforcement component.

Leaders for these federal law enforcement agencies, including task forces, are directed to inform personnel about the policy change and to make sure it is appropriately incorporated into training.

Congress is considering limits on chokeholds and no-knock warrants as part of a police reform bill that has been stalled for months. The "George Floyd Justice in Policing Act" that cleared the House in March includes proposed bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants.