“Choke Holds” Considered A “Last Resort” In South Carolina - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

“Choke Holds” Considered A “Last Resort” In South Carolina

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Cell phone video captured of a New York arrest is raising more questions about police force. Cell phone video captured of a New York arrest is raising more questions about police force.
LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. - Cell phone video captured of a New York arrest is raising more questions about police force.

The latest footage surfaced Thursday, but it was shot days before another incident involving a so-called "choke hold" that turned deadly. Now, police in the biggest city in the country are changing the way they train officers.

The video has called into question training practices and procedures for law enforcement agencies, not only in New York but across the country.

“Officers need to be able to do what they need to do, but only that amount to accomplish their objective,” said Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain.

Chastain said the choke hold is considered deadly force and only used as a last resort.

“That whole word is defensive. It's to defend the officer or defend against a suspect that may hurt someone else,” he said.

He said less is more when it comes to making an arrest.

The state police academy sets training standards and agencies across our area go through drills. In Laurens County, they use chemical spray and stun guns, always with accountability in mind

“Accountability is very important. It's one of the reasons why most of our tasers have video cameras on them,” said Chastain.

In an age where anything can be captured on a cell phone, he said they are being transparent in their actions in the field.

“There’s no excuse for an officer to take advantage of a suspect,” said Chastain.

7 On Your Side spoke to other law enforcement agencies across the upstate. The Oconee County Sheriff's Office said the choke hold is not a training move they teach their deputies. The Greer Police Department agreed, saying neither their officers nor members of their citizen’s police academy are trained to use that method.

Addie Hampton
Addie is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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