Albany bans choke holds, reaffirms training requirements as part of new reforms signed by Mayor

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has signed an executive order that bans choke holds and knee-to-neck holds, among other police reforms, in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

According to the mayor’s office, these reforms were announced after the first round of “Creating Change Together” conversations were held with community members, Sheehan, and Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

The executive order signed by Mayor Sheehan institute the following policing reforms in the City of Albany:

  • Banning the use of choke holds and knee-to-neck holds by the Albany Police Department
  • Establishing a duty to intervene when a fellow officer is seen using excessive force or verbally escalating a situation
  • Reaffirming training requirements for de-escalation and implicit bias for all members of the Albany Police Department
  • Requiring the history of racism in the United States be taught to all members of the Albany Police Department

“Today, I signed an executive order that represents a small first step in a series of police reforms we will be pursuing in the City of Albany,” said Sheehan in a statement. “Input from our residents into these efforts is critical to building trust and accountability of policing in our city. I encourage all residents to share their thoughts and ideas about reforms you would like to see with my office or with a member of the Albany Common Council.

“Additionally, I want to lend my voice in support of legislation being proposed at the State level, including the repeal of 50-A, and urge the Governor and State Legislature to take action on these important reforms as soon as possible,” Sheehan continued.

The legislature has returned to Albany this week to deliberate on the so-called “Say Their Name” agenda that outlines many criminal justice reform measures, including the repeal of confidentiality of police records.

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