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New York Legislature Passes Bill Criminalizing Use Of Chokehold

The bill, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign into law, is named after Eric Garner who died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer.
New York Legislature Passes Bill Criminalizing Use Of Chokehold
Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In New York, police use of chokeholds has already banned since 1993, but now the state is one step closer to actually criminally punishing the use of chokeholds that result in injury or death, WABC reports.

According to the news station, the New York State Senate and State Assembly passed a law criminalizing the use of chokeholds on Monday in a landslide vote of 140 to 3. The bill is named after Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a banned chokehold in 2014.

The Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act dictates that an officer who injures or kills someone using “a chokehold or similar restraint” can be charged with a class C felony, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, CBS News reports.

“Almost six years ago, we heard Eric Garner tell police ‘I can’t breathe’ as he was put into a chokehold by an NYPD officer,” Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley, the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement, according to CBS. “His words now speak from the grave as we deal with the police killing of George Floyd under nearly identical circumstances.”

The New York State Assembly released a statement noting that some 996 people have accused NYPD officers of putting them in chokeholds since Garner’s death.

“I have worked with my Assembly colleagues to reform our state’s broken criminal justice system. Holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions is a necessary part of that,” Speaker Carl Heastie added. “The NYPD ban on chokeholds was not enough to protect Eric Garner, and it is not enough today. This legislation will put an end to the practice across the state.”

Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Garner in the banned chokehold was fired from the NYPD but was never criminally prosecuted in the case.