On the News

California Bans Chokeholds, Shuts Juvenile Halls in New Reform Package

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a pair of bills that will bar law enforcement from using chokeholds and require the state attorney general to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed people, Courthouse News reports.

The measures survived a legislative session in which several other police reforms failed in the wake of the George Floyd protests, and they join a long list of reforms nationwide compiled by Axios.

The ban on so-called carotid holds does not apply to the sort of suffocation that killed Floyd when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck. But a new California law was needed, Newsom said, because the tactic no longer had a place in modern law enforcement.

The other bill, imposing a standardized process of independent investigations of police killings, was opposed by police groups but supported by the district attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento.

In other legislation Newsom signed, California will make major changes to its juvenile justice system, shifting responsibility for housing and rehabilitating minor offenders from the state to the county level.

Proponents say closing down juvenile halls and keeping minors in county facilities better suited to give trauma-informed care is a more humane approach to juvenile justice.