Though outlawed in 1993, the chokehold is still common practice among New York City police officers. The violent tactic gained national attention after Eric Garner’s choking death last July, and a new report released by an independent investigator has found that police officers who use the banned maneuver are rarely reprimanded.
The report examines ten NYPD chokehold cases between the years of 2009 and 2014. According to WNYC, the Civilian Complaint Review Board recommended at the time that the officers be disciplined by a fine, suspension or termination. However, the police commissioner merely suggested that the officers reread the department’s policies.
Perhaps even more disconcerting is that the usage of the maneuver doesn’t seem to be waning. The report found that in many instances—including mild verbal offenses—a chokehold is the kickback response for officers.
“For 20 years, they’ve been frowning on the chokehold,” said retired New York City sergeant Phil Messina to The New York Times. “What they forgot is that they have a hundred-year tradition of the chokehold.”
Investigators hope that by releasing the report, they’ll expose the illegal tactics and subsequent non-punishments, forcing officers to abide by the policies. The findings are the first in a series of reviews commissioned by the NYPD inspector.