It’s a start. Much work remains in the area of police reform.
Excerpts from the Article:
Governor John Carney on Thursday signed House Bill 350, which bans the use of chokeholds by all law enforcement agencies in Delaware.
Representative Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Senator Elizabeth Lockman are the prime sponsors of the legislation. The legislation is part of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ ‘Justice for All’ agenda, which was introduced following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“We have heard the voices calling for change and we are focused on taking meaningful action in Delaware,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation is an important part of a broader effort to improve the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color following the brutal and senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I want to thank members of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus for their leadership on issues around racial justice and law enforcement. Our work together will continue.”
House Bill 350 creates the crime of Aggravated Strangulation as a Class D felony. Under the legislation, a chokehold is only justifiable when a law enforcement officer reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to protect the life of a civilian or an officer.
“We hear far too often about ‘a few bad apples’ in our police agencies. And, far too often, we have seen those ‘few bad apples’ go unpunished, even when their actions result in the deaths of the very citizens they are sworn to protect,” said Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. “Every time that happens, we are sowing the seeds of fear, hatred and mistrust. Communities of color and our allies, both here in Delaware and across the country, took to the streets after George Floyd’s death, specifically to demand an end to those injustices. This legislation makes it clear that these chokeholds are illegal and we will hold the officers who use them accountable in a court of law.”
“Nobody should be above the law; but neither can anyone be beneath justice,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “This is a real step forward for accountability in our state—one that codifies good work done by the Governor in his executive order and one that we owe to so many, including the sponsors of this bill and the advocates who have called for this reform and many others. We still have work left to do, but I am heartened by the progress we are making in Delaware and grateful to those who helped make it happen.”