Police advocates say DOJ bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants ‘pander to anti-police narrative’


Police advocates say the Department of Justice’s bans on federal agents using chokeholds,  and no-knock warrants ‘pander to an anti-police narrative’ and are sapping morale among law enforcement officers. 

The National Police Association urged the DOJ to reconsider its bans, which were announced on Tuesday, and  that it ‘hamstrings’ officers’ legal actions to arrest violent offenders. 

‘Instead of placing more controls and restrictions on federal law enforcement, it would be wonderful to see the DOJ use its efforts to control violent crime and violent criminals,’ National Police Association spokesperson Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith told DailyMail.com. 

‘That means more arrests, more incarcerations and prosecutions … It’s incredibly frustrating for law enforcement arrest someone and have them back on the street.

‘It’s time to admit the defund the police is a failure, and let’s get back on the right track and protect American citizens,’ Sgt. Brantner told DailyMail.com.   

The chokehold ban didn’t surprise Bill Johnson – executive direction of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents more than 241,000 officers across the country – or Jason Johnson, executive director of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. 

‘It’s about perception versus reality, and the reality is a chokehold is rarely used,’ Jason Johnson told DailyMail.com.  

Protesters have been vociferously demanding a ban on chokeholds since the death of George Floyd

Protesters have been vociferously demanding a ban on chokeholds since the death of George Floyd

National Police Association urged the Department of Justice to reconsider its ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants and said this 'hamstrings' officers' legal actions to arrest violent offenders 'to pander to an anti-police narrative'

National Police Association urged the Department of Justice to reconsider its ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants and said this 'hamstrings' officers' legal actions to arrest violent offenders 'to pander to an anti-police narrative'

National Police Association urged the Department of Justice to reconsider its ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants and said this ‘hamstrings’ officers’ legal actions to arrest violent offenders ‘to pander to an anti-police narrative’

Of the U.S.’s 100 largest police departments, 71 now prohibit chokeholds – up from 28 before the death of George Floyd – according to the Police Use of Force Project, which has reviewed use of force policies. 

At least 17 states ban chokeholds, up from two since Floyd was murdered. 

Brantner, who was a suburban Chicago cop for 29 years, echoed their sentiments, saying a chokehold isn’t taught and is more of a media-pushed term. 

What most people refer to as a chokehold is a Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, which is a control technique applied to the sides of the neck and uses a combination of physiological factors to restrict blood flow to the brain which may cause the subject to lose consciousness.

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith was a suburban Chicago cop for 29 years. She is now the spokesperson for the National Police Association and said, 'It's time to admit the defund the police is a failure, and let's get back on the right track and protect American citizens'

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith was a suburban Chicago cop for 29 years. She is now the spokesperson for the National Police Association and said, 'It's time to admit the defund the police is a failure, and let's get back on the right track and protect American citizens'

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith was a suburban Chicago cop for 29 years. She is now the spokesperson for the National Police Association and said, ‘It’s time to admit the defund the police is a failure, and let’s get back on the right track and protect American citizens’

Sgt. Brantner said it’s a technique that’s rarely used but ‘is effective in cases involving smaller officers.’

‘It’s difficult to get control of a subject who’s actively resisting a lawful arrest while keeping control of our firearm,’ Brantner told DaiyMail.com. ‘Use of force will never look pretty.

‘What is the DOJ’s point in doing this? It’s not going to protect citizens and it’s going to endanger its law enforcement,’ Brantner told DailyMail.com. 

‘I think it’s a way for the (Biden) Administration to say we are doing something about the false narrative about these rogue cops out here abusing citizens.’ 

The Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint falls under the categoy of ‘carotid restraint,’ which the DOJ banned for federal law enforcement agencies. 

The issue both Bill Johnson and Jason Johnson (unrelated) told DailyMail.com is the ban on no-knock warrants because it sets up a potential confrontation with police and gives suspects a chance to destroy evidence. 

‘The no-knock warrant ban has great potential to cause harm,’ Jason Johnson told DailyMail.com. 

Bill Johnson (pictured), executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents over 241,000 officers, told DailyMail.com that the ban on no-knock warrants hurts police's ability to collect evidence

Bill Johnson (pictured), executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents over 241,000 officers, told DailyMail.com that the ban on no-knock warrants hurts police's ability to collect evidence

Bill Johnson (pictured), executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents over 241,000 officers, told DailyMail.com that the ban on no-knock warrants hurts police’s ability to collect evidence

‘When there is reason to believe a suspect is armed, it’s better to catch them off guard and avoid confrontation,’ he said. ‘If there’s no confrontation, it’s safer for everyone. If you take that way, you’re increasing the risk for officers and everyone involved.’

Bill Johnson said there’s also the issue of destroying contraband and evidence. 

‘Politically, there is a lot of pressure after the death of civilians,’ Bill Johnson told DailyMail.com. ‘I understand the concern, but this went too far and now legitimate law enforcement operations could be hampered.

‘You can be at the front door and say, “This is special agent so and so. We have a warrant to search the premise, and then you hear stuff (from inside) like, “Get rid of it.”

‘It’s not good enough to enter. You have to wait at the door. You’ve kind of lost the tactical advantage of the warrant.’

Bill Johnson told DailyMail.com that ‘there’s been a lot of political pressure, particularly from Democrats but also some Republicans to do away with restraints around the neck area. 

‘This was the (Biden) Administration’s way of quote unquote fixing policing,’ Jason Johnson told DailyMail.com. 

When asked if he thought the DOJ no-knock warrant ban would be amended, he said he doesn’t know and said his group, which supports and defends police and law enforcement professionals, have never gotten a seat at the table. 

Democrats have been pressuring Biden and his administration to make police reforms, Bill Johnson said without naming who. 

At first, he said, some Democrats tried to outright ban the restraint, but there are life-threatening situations where an officer needs to do whatever it takes to subdue a violent suspect, he said.

He used the example of a situation where an officer is disarmed or severely beaten or shot. 

‘At that point, it’s no holds barred,’ Johnson said.   

Tuesday’s DOJ announcement of the bans comes in response to the intense political pressure following the murder of George Floyd and the social unrest that gripped the U.S. over the last year and a half. 

While situations have largely calmed down in recent months, political pressures – particularly from some members of the left – ‘are creating an us versus them mentality, and that’s not what we want,’ Bill Johnson said. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland said 'no-knock' entries would only be allowed in situations 'where an agent has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent's presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person'

Attorney General Merrick Garland said 'no-knock' entries would only be allowed in situations 'where an agent has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent's presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person'

Attorney General Merrick Garland said ‘no-knock’ entries would only be allowed in situations ‘where an agent has reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person’

‘It’s not everyone, but it’s in a lot of places,’ Bill Johnson said, which is killing morale among the rank and file. 

‘The physical risk was always there,’ Johnson told Dailymail.com, ‘but now if the officer makes an honest mistake or a cell phone video catches the last 10 seconds of a situation, the officer is hung out to dry. 

‘There’s a threat to careers, personal reputation and now their freedoms. Anecdotally, it’s been more difficult to retain officers who don’t want to risk all this,’ he told DailyMail.com  

Tuesday’s bans come after more than a year of police brutality protests and calls for police reform that intensified after George Floyd was killed when Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Louisville while executing a no-knock warrant on the wrong house.

The restrictions apply to federal agents who work under the DOJ and local police departments who work with the DOJ through a joint task force. 

Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring police departments to ban chokeholds to receive certification that allows them to access federal grants.  

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have both touted police reform measures but remain at an impasse. 

House Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would explicitly ban chokeholds and end qualified immunity for officers. 

Senate Republicans’ JUSTICE Act focuses on transparency and training, encouraging choke hold bans but not enforcing them. 



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