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Press Releases - County Council

Council introduces legislation spearheaded by Councilmembers Jawando, Rice, Navarro and Albornoz to help eliminate excessive use of force by police

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 15, 2020

Expedited Bill 27-20 would establish policy to prohibit chokeholds, ban the use of deadly force except when necessary to protect against serious bodily injury or death and require police officers to take action when observing excessive force

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 15, 2020--On Tuesday the Council will introduce Expedited Bill 27-20, Police-Regulations-Use of Force Policy, which would require the Montgomery County police chief to adopt a Use of Force Policy aimed at safeguarding all community members from excessive use of force by police. Councilmembers Will Jawando, Craig Rice, Nancy Navarro and Gabe Albornoz are the lead sponsors of Expedited Bill 27-20 that was initiated by Councilmember Jawando. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

On June 8, Councilmembers Jawando, Rice, Navarro and Albornoz issued a statement on the use of force by police that focused on the need for legislative action. 

“The last few weeks have highlighted a national trend of the types of policing practices that have led to fatal or dangerous outcomes for the community and specifically community members of color.  Here in Montgomery County we are not immune.  We believe we can do better, and doing better means building systems that root out injustice and working with law enforcement to build relationships with the communities they serve.  We need our police to be guardians, not warriors seeing danger in every interaction.”

Expedited Bill 27-20 would establish a Use of Force Policy that at a minimum would prohibit a police officer from using deadly force, including neck restraints or carotid restraints, except when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury after all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted.  The policy also must prohibit a police officer from striking a restrained individual and requires police officers to stop or attempt to stop the use of excessive force or the commission of a crime by another officer.  Police officers who intervene to de-escalate the excessive use of force must not be retaliated against or disciplined for taking action.

The bill seeks to make the use of deadly force the choice of last resort to protect one's life or the life of another, as there must be no reasonable alternative for less lethal force existing at the time of the police action. The minimum standards established by the Use of Force Policy in Expedited Bill 27-20 would not be subject to collective bargaining.  Similar laws and policies have also been enacted in California, Seattle and San Francisco.  

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 20-257
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931