NEW YORK — A judge has struck down a New York City law that had prohibited the city’s police officers from putting pressure on a person’s torso while making an arrest, calling the measure “unconstitutionally vague.”
Manhattan Judge Laurence Love wrote in a 17-page opinion that phrasing in the law, passed in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, was hard to define and ripe for confusion.
Love’s ruling Tuesday came in a lawsuit brought by police unions opposed to the law, which they referred to as the “diaphragm law” because it barred officers from restraining people “in a manner that compresses the diaphragm.”
NY State Troopers PBA President Thomas Mungeer applauded the decision, saying he appreciated that Love “saw through this politically motivated legislation and returned some much-needed sanity to the world.”
Hank Sheinkopf, who represented the coalition of police unions, previously said Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council’s decision to institute the chokehold ban was “pure politics.”
“They are gambling with the safety of citizens, the safety of our police officers,” Sheinkopf said. “They are interfering with the ability of our police to make lawful arrests. No one feels safe.”
New York City’s law department, which defended the struck down law in court, said it is “reviewing its legal options.”
Emerald Garner, whose father suffered a chokehold death, slammed attempts to change the law in a 2020 interview with PIX11.
“It’s a slap in the face,” she said. “How can you have a chokehold law that says it’s OK to restrict someone’s diaphragm?”