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Civil Liability for the Use of Neck Restraints

Accession Number: 028086
Media Type: 
Document

Neck restraints are a valuable but sometimes still controversial procedure for the use of force by police officers and correctional personnel … It is a procedure that is useful when police or correctional officers are in close proximity with suspects or prisoners. While it can be very effective, it requires motor skills training, and attempts at such holds without proper training can turn an improperly applied hold into an air choke. This is especially the case when a subject attempts to resist the hold, such as by attempting to turn around, inadvertently putting pressure on their airway when none was intended … Improperly applied neck restraints that turn into choke holds and restrict the intake of breath can and have in some instances resulted in tragic consequences including death or permanent disability” (p. 101-102). This two-part article looks at the liability issues related to neck restraint use. It is comprised of the following sections: introduction; the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding “City of Los Angeles v. Lyons” and aftermath; subsequent law enforcement cases; neck restraints in correctional settings; the 2007 study by the Canadian Police Research Centre; and suggestions to consider.

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