Nashville’s police department is revising its use-of-force policies to explicitly ban the use of chokeholds in response to recent protests of George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis.
The department is also telling officers they must intervene if they witness excessive force.
The principles are in line with the recommendations being promoted by the so-called #8cantwait campaign — a program meant to bring immediate change to police departments by laying out actions that chiefs and city leaders can take on their own.
Metro Nashville Police say Tennessee law already prohibits the tactic in most circumstances and that its officers have not been allowed to use it for decades, according to the MNPD training manual. But the department has shared a recent bulletin to officers that also more broadly defines a chokehold as “any pressure or constriction to the neck, throat or windpipe that may inhibit breathing.”
The department also strengthened its rule that requires officers to intervene in cases where their peers are using excessive force, abusing their power or violating other policies. Under the threat of disciplinary action, police also now have a “duty to report” any interventions of unwarranted force to a supervisor “without delay” and “ensure that medical attention has been provided and/or summoned” if needed.
“Our police department embraces these principles, and we will continue to review, improve and strengthen MNPD policies that guide our officers,” Chief Steve Anderson said in a statement.
The update also explains that MNPD will continuously review and update its training and policies.
Many cities have updated or clarified chokehold policies since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, though many police forces have denied using them in recent years. Mayor John Cooper says the Community Oversight Board will also review use-of-force policies.
WPLN’s Tony Gonzalez contributed to this report.