Las Vegas Sun

November 30, 2021

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Reno Police revise use-of-force policy; chokeholds banned

RENO — The Reno Police Department has updated its use-of-force policy as police departments across the country come under scrutiny for excessive force following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Department policy changes stem from demonstrations that have erupted across the country over the death of Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

The changes will take effect immediately and include new guidelines on de-escalation and peer intervention, prohibiting techniques that restrict breathing, increasing supervisor and internal affairs oversight and providing other warning options before resorting to deadly force, department officials said in a statement Friday.

“We immediately reviewed our policies, as these important conversations continue to happen in our city, region, country, and worldwide, for that matter,” acting Reno Police Chief Tom Robinson said. “We are committed to transparency and community policing, and we are proud to release these use of force updates today.”

The changes reflect recommendations from the #8cantwait campaign, which has illustrated eight policies that can reduce police violence by more than 70%, KRNV-TV reported.

Many residents and local officials have been supportive of these new changes, but some still believe still needs to be done for there to be a lasting impact.

“You can’t have a law enforcement system that is unjust in ways that we’ve seen recently and I do not think it’s going to stop with one or two lines in policy,” Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie L. Feemster said. “It’s got to be done at the federal level but certainly at the state level here in Nevada.”

“The events of this week have been challenging for cities all across this nation, and Reno is no exception,” acting City Manager Jason Soto said. “But I am committed to providing a safe community that continues to hold open conversations about policy, procedure and trust with all of our community and media.”

Soto said he and his officers are preparing for any upcoming protests. One is expected Sunday, he said.

“We’re prepared for that to make sure that event remains peaceful,” Soto told the Reno Gazette Journal.

People with contrasting points of view held separate demonstrations at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City on Saturday.

Approximately 100 people demonstrated in support of law enforcement while a smaller group nearby held signs supporting Black Lives Matter. Those demonstrators held signs asking passing drivers to honk their car horns, the Gazette Journal r eported.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong told KOLO-TV that the demonstrators also included supporters of gun rights and people opposed to COVID-19-related restrictions.

Law enforcement personnel stayed in the background and Furlong said everything was calm.