Minnesota lawmakers ban neck restraints after Floyd’s death

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Democratic State Reps, Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, Rep. Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Liz Olson, DFL-Duluth talk at the start of the special session Monday, July 20, 2020 in St. Paul, Minn. With him is Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Anne Neu, R-North Branch.(Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Legislature passed a package of police accountability measures early Tuesday that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis.

The sweeping package was said to be one of the most substantial changes to the state’s criminal justice system in years and also bans chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training in which officers are instructed to view all encounters as inherently dangerous.

Passage of the measures comes after nearly two months of negotiations that followed Floyd’s death May 25. The Black man was restrained face down in the street while handcuffed and with three officers holding him down, including a white officer who had a knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes.

The House approved the measure 102 to 29 just before midnight Monday. The Senate passed it 60 to 7 and sent the bill to Gov. Tim Walz a couple of hours later.

The legislation also improves data collection around deadly force encounters and creates a new state unit to investigate those cases. It increases funding for crisis intervention training, creates an arbitration panel to handle police misconduct cases and establishes incentives for officers to live in the communities they police, the Star Tribune reported.

The Democratic governor had to call the special session to give lawmakers a chance to rescind the emergency powers he’s been using to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats blocked a GOP effort to void those powers.

The session also gave legislators another chance to pass the policing measures and a bonding bill, which they were unable to agree on during last month’s special session.

The bonding bill fell to the wayside as legislators worked to pass police reform as time expired on the session.

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