CHANGE FOLLOWS ONGOING DIALOGUE BETWEEN CITY, POLICE AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ON DE-ESCALATION MEASURES
San Diego – Following ongoing dialogue between City officials and community leaders, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined today by City Council President Georgette Gómez, Councilmember Monica Montgomery, Police Chief David Nisleit and community leaders to announce the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) will stop using a carotid restraint as a use-of-force procedure effective immediately.
“We are watching the hurt and pain so many people are expressing after the tragic death of George Floyd, and are committed to taking new actions to make sure something like this doesn’t happen in San Diego,” Mayor Faulconer said. “That starts today with the police chief’s decision to immediately stop this particular restraint that has led to so much concern and frustration by many in our minority communities. I want to thank Chief Nisleit for listening to those demanding justice and doing the right thing.”
The SDPD joins a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country to halt the use and training of the carotid restraint procedure. Chief Nisleit made the decision as part of his ongoing commitment to rebuild the department with a renewed emphasis on community policing.
Chief Nisleit said, “I started evaluating this policy last week following the terrible events in Minneapolis, and believe now is the right time to make this change. Effective immediately, I have placed a stop on the use of the carotid restraint among our Police Department. I have heard from the community and the department wants to work toward strengthening our community partnerships to keep all San Diegans safe.”
With protests occurring in San Diego and across the country following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mayor Faulconer has directed three City of San Diego advisory bodies to hold emergency meetings this week to discuss with residents strengthening community/police relations and updating SDPD’s de-escalation policies. The Community Review Board on Police Practices, the Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations and the Human Relations Commission will each hold public meetings to seek community input on proposed changes.
“The City of San Diego is taking a critical step today by banning the use of the carotid restraint,” Council President Gómez. “As we’ve seen, it is deadly, and it is unnecessary. I thank Mayor Faulconer and Police Chief Nisleit for working with us on this long-overdue reform. My longstanding commitment to equal justice and treatment of all residents with dignity and respect is stronger than ever and unwavering. I’m grateful to all San Diegans who are peacefully expressing their frustration and anger. I will always work with you to hold all our institutions accountable.”
Councilmember Montgomery, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, said: “I am thrilled with this tangible action taken by Mayor Faulconer and Chief Nisleit to ban the use of the carotid restraint. The in-custody death of George Floyd, that has sparked nationwide outrage and protest, has further underscored the need for accountability and transparency measures. This ban will put San Diego at the forefront of strong use of force policies that will help to set the standard across the nation and will undoubtedly save lives of both community members and officers. I will continue to support measures that address police accountability and transparency, and ways to effectuate meaningful change to address the inequity in enforcement and systemic racism.”
Former San Diego Mayor and Police Chief Jerry Sanders, and current President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said: “The decision to change this policy is the right one, and yet, we recognize it is but one component of what is needed to fully address this issue. What it does right now is remove a flashpoint to police interaction with citizens, and very importantly, it starts the road to discussing meaningful change in police and community relations.”