CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"Dangerous New DOJ Policy On Chokeholds and “No-Knock” Warrants"

From Crime & Consequences. In part:

A new memo released from the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Attorney General Merrick Garland makes policy changes that have the potential to endanger the lives of federal agents, as well as the limit the seizure of criminal evidence.  According to the memo released September 14th, 2021, the DOJ is changing policy effective immediately regarding the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants.  The change appears inspired by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.  Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of causing Floyd’s death by using a form of a chokehold to pin him down after he resisted arrest.  Breonna Taylor died in a shootout which began when her current boyfriend shot at police executing a “no-knock” warrant to arrest her former boyfriend, drug dealer Jamarcus Glover.  

. . . .

Chokeholds, which are viewed as a necessary means to physically detain or restrain a suspect, and allowed for in the language provided by subsections 5 and 6 of 10 CFR 1047, can now only be used when conditions of deadly force are met. By stripping the ability to place a suspect in a chokehold who is running or resisting arrest, this policy change may increase the risk of injury or harm to federal officers, who will no longer be able to use this form of restraint when dealing with suspects who run, resist or fight.  This will also allow more suspects to escape.

“No-Knock” warrants are limited by the Garland memo to situations where knocking and announcing would create an imminent threat of physical violence to a federal agent or another person.  The memo does allow for a “no-knock” warrant regarding evidence, but only if it is evidence deemed essential to national security.

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