City Council unanimously approves revised use of force policy

June 17, 2020

In response to the May 25, 2020 in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Columbia Police Department (CPD) Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook reviewed CPD’s current use-of-force policy.  In keeping with CPD’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and professionalism, Columbia City Council unanimously approved Chief Holbrook’s recommendation to update the existing use-of-force policy.

The revised policy, which also reflects Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” recommendations, prohibits the use of chokeholds and carotid artery holds unless deadly force is authorized. Additionally, the policy outlines precautions officers must take in order to avoid positional asphyxia.

“The marches and demonstrations that have galvanized the country, and our own Columbia community, for almost three weeks now have brought attention to fundamental concerns with the functions of our metropolitan police forces, and what we ask and expect of our uniformed public servants,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We are fortunate that in Columbia our police force continues to find ways to better meet the needs of the communities they serve, and today’s decision by City Council on revising use of force policies will hopefully result in better relations and improved trust between our police and our citizens.”

Since 2014, CPD has developed protocols, pledges and community-policing initiatives as part of the department’s progressive 21st Century Policing posture.

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Additionally, Chief will be discussing the policy revision with his counterparts who have also been appointed to the newly-formed National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.