DALLAS (AP) -- After months of protest from civil rights groups,
Police Chief David Kunkle has banned the department's use of a neck
hold that contributed to a man's death last year.
Kunkle said Friday he plans to brief Dallas City Council members on
his decision Monday and ask them to buy 400 Tasers, a type of
electrical stun gun.
The chief's briefing paper to the council said the neck hold is
"difficult to apply in field conditions" and officers may not know
about suspects' pre-existing medical conditions.
The Rev. L. Charles Stovall of the Unified Organizations for Justice,
an activist coalition, welcomed the ban.
"This is something that needed to be done, and it's something that we
rejoice is happening," Stovall said.
But Cpl. George Aranda, president of the Latino Peace Officers
Association, criticized Kunkle's decision.
"To ban a tool that has been effective for so many years due to
community pressure is an insult to our Dallas officers," Aranda said
in Saturday's editions of The Dallas Morning News. "I think with some
updated training and better techniques, we could have saved this
The neck hold, known as the lateral vascular neck restraint, has been
under review since Allen Simpson died in December. Simpson was placed
in a neck hold during a fight with two police officers who were
investigating a drug complaint.
Training experts have said the restraint is safe when used correctly,
but many departments have banned it.
If the council agrees to buy the Tasers, they could be used against
suspects who resist arrest, fail to follow orders or threaten
bystanders, officers or themselves.
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"All the research we've seen on the Taser shows that it's very
effective and can be used without the officers having direct contact
with subjects," Kunkle said.