Proposed bill would ban police chokeholds in Missouri

JPD and Joplin For Justice weigh in

JOPLIN, Mo. – A proposed ban on police chokeholds in Missouri is beginning to gain traction in the legislature.

Republican Senator Shamed Dogan is partnering with Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden and Democrats to outlaw police chokeholds. Dola Flake with Joplin For Justice says it’s an important step towards equity. “So I do think banning this type of chokehold is very important as a step not only towards better practices, but more equitable practices, we know that these types of chokeholds cannot only take lives but that they are more frequently used on people who come from diverse backgrounds.”

For the Joplin Police Department, Captain William Davis says they’re a bit ahead of the curve. “When it comes to chokeholds, the Joplin Police Department, that’s been a practice that hasn’t been in our policy for the better part of two decades, the police department specifically has prohibited their use except in certain situations where an officer may face imminent, serious physical injury or even death.”

However, Flake says since chokeholds can still be used in certain situations, the ban is necessary and she feels the NAACP demonstrated the serious issues in policing in Missouri in 2017. “I think the travel advisory put forth nationally by the NAACP really speaks measures to the culture and the climate of Missouri, I think that we just have to be aware that there is validity in the concern that they have and look forward to ways to making it better.”

Flake says this isn’t a complete fix, but an important step in police reform in the state. “We definitely believe that this is a good move towards equity as well as better practices overall.”