Santa Clarita Valley, CA — Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, officials across the country moved to ban the use of carotid restraints — the type of restraint that often renders a person unconscious by restricting the flow of blood to the brain by compressing the sides of the neck where the carotid arteries are located. In California, the practice was banned statewide.
“At the end of the day, the carotid hold that literally is designed to stop people’s blood from flowing into their brain – that has no place any longer in 21st century practices,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in June.
“LAPD banned the use of the chokehold, if you will, and limited it to only deadly force situations,” former L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell told local media last year.
Despite the massive pushback against the dangerous practice, video uploaded to Twitter this week shows cops have no problem disregarding the policy and applying the chokehold.
On March 30, police received a call about an alleged package theft and around 6:20 p.m., officers spotted a man walking down Danielson St. holding a package. The man fit the description of the alleged thief and was detained by two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies.
The man immediately admitted to deputies that the package was indeed not his and he would later be identified by a postal worker.
“That’s a clue,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “The deputies attempted to detain the man regarding a theft investigation, which sounds like a good idea, right?”
According to police, while they were detaining the man, he became uncooperative and they escalated force to gain control of the situation.
“The man became uncooperative and a use of force occurred,” LASD said.
During the escalation of force, two witnesses were driving by and stopped to film it. What they witnessed they found so shocking they actually called 911 to report it.
In the video we can see one deputy apply the chokehold while the other punches him in his face repeatedly.
“Tell him to stop, tell him to stop, I need him to stop. He can’t breathe,” the anonymous witness can be heard saying in the video.
As the witnesses tell the 911 dispatcher their location, just before the video ends, the deputies are seen holding the man down and he does not appear to be moving. The video then ends.
After the video began circulating on Twitter, the sheriff’s office issued a statement.
“Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station is aware of a video circulating on social media,” said station officials. “A use of force investigation is currently ongoing.”
According to bystanders, the man was transported in an ambulance to a local hospital. The sheriff’s department reported that the suspect, who was not named, suffered moderate injuries but did not require hospitalization.
After the suspect was medically cleared, he was booked at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station for robbery and assault on a peace officer, according to the statement.
After the video began to go viral, police would later claim that the man ‘simulated a handgun’ — a convenient move in an attempt to justify the the chokehold.
‘He Can’t Breathe:’ Video Of Santa Clarita Deputies Leads To Use Of Force Investigation
— The Valley Post (@ValleyPostNews) March 31, 2021