NY Bill Would Make Police Chokeholds Punishable By 25 Years Is Prison

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 21, 2019 - 12:55 pm
Al Sharpton

WCBS 880


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A new state law is being proposed in New York that would outlaw police chokeholds statewide.

The legislation, dubbed the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Bill,” would make police chokeholds punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

State Sen. Brian Benjamin is sponsoring the bill. Speaking at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem on Saturday, Benjamin said the NYPD police union will be the chief opposition to the legislation.

“There are going to be some people who are gonna try—Pat Lynch—who are gonna try to make the case that we’re doing something crazy here,” Benjamin said.

Lynch is president of the NYPD’s largest union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. WCBS 880 reached out to the union for comment but have not yet heard back.

The use of a chokehold is prohibited in the NYPD patrol guide, and Benjamin says this bill would codify this policy.

“This is NYPD’s policy. This is not de Blasio’s policy, the state Senate, the Assembly. This is not man’s policy. The NYPD says that a chokehold is illegal,” he said.

Benjamin and his colleague in the Assembly, Walter Mosley, agree that even with Democratic support in both houses of the Legislature “all shades of blue are not the same color.”

“We understand that we cannot take it for granted that just because we have Democrats all throughout our state Legislature that this bill is going to get passed without any form of resistance,” Mosley said.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired in August—five years after Eric Garner died while Pantaleo and other officers were arresting him on Staten Island in July 2014. His death became a rallying cry for activists fighting for police reform.

The Rev. Al Sharpton says his and the Garner family’s support of police should not be questioned.

“We are not anti-police. We are anti–police brutality,” Sharpton said Saturday.