Bill could ban Colorado police from using two choking techniques

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — When the buzzer sounds at Katharo Training Center in Jefferson County, Steve Hordinski and his students get to work on the mat.

“We get officers here and you know, I’ll do something here and teach them from more of a tactical standpoint,” Hordinski said. 

After the in-custody death of George Floyd, protests erupted across the country over police brutality, as calls for reform echoed over the techniques officers use to choke civilians.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to hurt someone,” Hordinski said.

There are two types of techniques that are used: a chokehold and a carotid pressure hold. Hordinski says the chokehold isolates the airway, cutting off oxygen to the lungs. A carotid hold compresses arteries on either side of the neck, cutting of blood flow to the brain.

“You can still breathe, but you’ll go out,” Hordinski said. 

Hordinski says on the mat, repetition and supervision helps them build awareness for when a subject is ready to tap out. He says in real life, not everyone is going to give you a signal to release if they can’t breathe or lose consciousness.

“There’s a safe way to do it,” Hordinski “The more you train, the safer you’re going to be.”

The police accountability bill moving through the Colorado Legislature currently bans police from using both chokeholds and carotid pressure holds.

The state Senate would need to approve the carotid pressure hold ban, since it was amended in the House.

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