Raleigh Police Department taking steps to ban chokeholds, adopt 8 Can't Wait policies

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020
NC Public Safety Secretary talks police reform, use of force with ABC11
NC Public Safety Secretary talks police reform, use of force with ABC11

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown spoke at Tuesday's Raleigh City Council meeting to address possible policing changes in the department.

Chief Deck-Brown went into detail about 8 Can't Wait's analysis of the Raleigh Police Department's principles.

8 Can't Wait is a project by Campaign Zero created in efforts to reduce police violence through agency adoption and implementation of certain principles.

The website is searchable by city and lists eight categories to which Chief Deck-Brown addressed individually:

Banning chokeholds and strangleholds

"Our policy speaks to chokeholds and lateral vascular neck restraint as a significant use of force and could be considered as a use of deadly force. Referenced in our policy, is to avoid it but it does not ban it," said Chief Deck-Brown. "Today, we will begin recrafting this policy to ban chokeholds and strangleholds."

Has use of force continuum

"In our policy, the use of force continuum clearly delineated the levels of force from the lowest being a physical presence to deadly force to include the definition at each of the levels as well."

Requires de-escalation

"Our policy references the need to evaluate to determine the need to escalate the force used, to deescalate used or to disengage from the use of force," Chief Deck-Brown said. "There is clearly room to improve this policy as well as there are other opportunities de-escalation may be a greater advantage where there is no issue of force at all."

Requires warning before shooting

"What our policy states in this regard is, if feasible, an officer will issue a verbal warning before resorting to deadly force while also recognizing that a verbal warning might not be possible in a split second. That is indeed noted within that policy."

Bans shooting at moving vehicles

"Our policy prohibits shooting at a moving vehicle except in limited circumstances," said Chief Deck-Brown. "For example, when there is a deadly threat from the inside of the vehicle or when an officer or third party is in the path of the vehicle and there is no availability to move outside the path of that vehicle."

Requires exhaust of all other measures before shooting

"Our policy address that officers should use a firearm as a last resort when all other means have failed or are inapplicable."

Duty to intervene

"It shall be the duty of every officer at this agency to attempt to prevent any officer from using unwarranted, reckless or excessive force. They are further directed to report the same as well."

Requires comprehensive reporting

"Incidents involving the discharge of a firearm or the use of force with or without a weapon (hands can be a weapon, body parts can be a weapon as we've seen) must be reported and documented."

The Raleigh Police Department met five of the eight policy topics with the chokehold ban, de-escalation requirement and shooting at moving vehicle ban not meeting 8 Can't Wait's criteria.

"Those three areas are where we did not get the recommendation or the identification that it met their criteria," Chief Deck-Brown said.

In addition to the remaining five, the chief said the department is going to reevaluate all of its policies to ensure that they are using best practices possible.

Tuesday evening, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin announced RPD will adopt the 8 Can't Wait policies effective immediately and that there will be an independent group to review the police response to protests.

The city council agreed unanimously.

Baldwin also thanked Deck-Brown for "working with urgency and transparency."

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