PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh City Council has approved several measures aimed at overhauling police operations in the wake of demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
A ban on chokeholds and other neck restraints will now be part of the city code as will a requirement for officers to intervene upon witnessing "unreasonable force." The nine council members present approved those changes unanimously Tuesday, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Pittsburgh police use-of-force procedures already ban neck restraints unless officers are "involved in a deadly force encounter," and officials said the manual is being updated to ensure "a clear statement related to a duty to intervene."
Members voted 6-3 to move $250,000 from the police recruit budget to the STOP the Violence fund, which is intended for violence reduction and social services as approved by the council. Also included is a request that the mayor put a hiring freeze on police recruits. By an 8-1 vote, members approved matching a percentage of the police budget — 5% next year and 10% by 2026 — for anti-violence and social services programs.
Also approved 6-3 was a ban on some equipment and weaponry from any source, including the military, such as military surplus weapons or armored vehicles not designed or intended for civilian law enforcement use. The ban also covers weaponized aircraft, bayonets, wooden batons for crowd control and a chemical crowd control device.
Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even as he pleaded for air and stopped moving.