What is a Chokehold?

According to Florida statute, a chokehold is “the intentional and prolonged application of force to the throat, windpipe, or airway of another person that prevents the intake of air.”

Police have used this method in the past as a way to control the alleged criminal and detain them. It involves placing their arm across the front of the neck of an individual, which blocks their airway so they can’t breathe and are more easily detained.

Are Chokeholds Prohibited in the Miami-Dade Area?

Information found on the Miami Police site regarding “Use of Force” states Choke Hold (Prohibited): A Physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation. This prohibitive statement does not include vascular neck holds.

In June of 2020, moves were made to solidify the chokehold no longer being an authorized form of action that police officers are allowed to use. Some have referred to this as the carotid restraint, and several jurisdictions across the United States have banned the use of these types of restraints for police officers.

What is De-Escalation?

Many police departments nationwide have commonly used de-escalation tactics to diffuse violent situations.

Some of the most common are slowing down, being compassionate, respecting personal space, and more.

Slowing down allows both the police officer and the defendant time to breathe and slow down the situation. Training involves helping law enforcement to realize that not every action requires immediate intervention or reaction.

By being compassionate, this allows the defendant to understand that they have other options other than violence. There are several ways to convey compassion, and many police training models require this to some degree.

Respecting personal space involves giving the defendant some distance, rather than being in close proximity or touching them, which may be enough to escalate an already dangerous situation.

De-escalation techniques have been shown to be effective in diffusing a violent situation and reducing stress for police officers. If officers can effectively reduce violence in problems, they can reduce the amount of time force is necessary, which can, in turn, provide less stress for them in their day-to-day activities.

What is an Acceptable Use of Force?

According to the Police library, “Force can be used against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to defend oneself or others from the imminent use of threat or unlawful force.” The article goes on to say that Miami-Dade has stricter requirements to follow than other state and federal laws, and all employees are required to follow the standards outlined in the Miami-Dade police department. 

Why Are Chokeholds Being Banned?

In response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the resulting protests, many departments across the nation are changing the way that force is used and what is acceptable moving forward to detain alleged criminals.

It is important to note that many departments are providing significant other forms of detaining alleged criminals, whether through de-escalation or other less intrusive forms of restraint. If other forms of restraint aren’t communicated well, officers may feel they need to resort to more violent forms of restraint.

It is also essential for departments to ensure officers are held accountable when they react outside of the acceptable uses of restraint or management of alleged criminals. If it is proven that chokeholds are still being used without being addressed, it isn’t likely that changing the requirements will be respected by officers.

I Was Recently Detained During an Arrest by a Chokehold. Now What?

If you or a loved one was recently involved in an arrest where a chokehold was used, you have options for recourse. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you determine your options and steps to take next.

If this is the first time you or your loved one has been arrested, you may not be aware of your rights. You have a right to a fair trial, to legal representation, the right to remain silent to avoid inadvertently incriminating yourself, and the right to produce evidence against the charges against you.

In some cases, charges can be reduced or dropped entirely, allowing you to return to your life. Each case is different and will have a unique set of circumstances. It is invaluable to you and your family to work with dedicated and relentless criminal defense attorneys to ensure you have the best chance at defending yourself.

The unique advantage that Chad Piotrowski possesses is that he was a prosecutor in Miami-Dade county. Who better to defend you against a prosecutor than a former prosecutor himself? From misdemeanors to felonies, Chad has thorough and unique knowledge of what it takes to protect your constitutional rights effectively against prosecutors.

Contact our office today at (305) 204-5000 to discuss the specifics of your situation and learn what your options are. We offer a free consultation to confidentially discuss the details surrounding your case and learn how we can best assist you and your family. We have several years of working with many residents of Miami-Dade, and we are confident we can help you, too.