Las Vegas police move to limit neck-restraint tactics

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The Las Vegas police department updated its use of force tactics to limit the use of a neck restraint to instances where an officer‘s life is threatened, the department announced Wednesday.

The change involving the technique, known as the lateral vascular neck restraint, became effective immediately.

“The LVMPD prides itself on being responsive to community concerns,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in a statement. “We are constantly evolving and looking for ways to improve our Use of Force standards.”

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The technique was previously used in cases when an officer was confronted by an “assaultive” person, the department said. In scaling it back, it may only be utilized when an officer fears for their life during a “deadly encounter.”

The restraint is applied to the sides of the neck to restrict blood flow to the brain, causing someone to lose consciousness. The department made the distinction between the technique and a chokehold, which is used to restrict a person’s breathing.

“LVMPD has never permitted or condoned the use of chokeholds,” the statement reads.

The updated policy comes on the heels of a nationwide reckoning over police misconduct and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May while in Minneapolis police custody.

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In 2017, the department classified the neck restraint as intermediate or deadly use of force after the death of Tashii Brown, a man who died on the Strip after being stunned with a Taser several times, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

He was also repeatedly punched by an officer and placed in a rear naked choke for longer than a minute. A criminal case against the officer was dropped after a grand jury refused to indict him.

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