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Trump signs executive order banning chokeholds, reforming police departments nationwide

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to reform police departments nationwide and ban the use of chokeholds on June 16, 2020. (White House/Released)
June 16, 2020

President Trump signed a new executive order on Tuesday to reform police departments nationwide, including a ban on chokeholds except for situations in which an officer’s life is endangered.

Ahead of his signing, Trump said his executive order is aimed at “encouraging police departments nationwide to adopt the highest professional standards to serve their communities. These standards will be as high and a strong as there is on earth.”

“Chokeholds will be banned except if an officer’s life is at risk,” Trump noted.

Trump called the order a “big, big step” and lauded the opportunity to pursue common sense and fight for a joint cause.

The executive order will prioritize federal grants to police departments who certify that their department has obtained independent credentialing proving their commitment to high standards, including de-escalation training.

Funding will also be allocated to support officers dealing with complex cases such as individuals who are homeless, suffer from mental illness or substance abuse. One solution Trump named is establishing co-responder resources that could utilize social workers more often for such cases.

More funds will be dedicated to pursuing advanced, non-lethal weapons in an effort to reduce the incidence of deadly interactions.

“We’re looking at the best of them, and cost is no object. No object,” he said of the weapons.

Trump also said the order will require departments to share information about officers’ personnel records “so officers with significant issues do not simply move from one police department to the next.”

Trump said the order will not undermine law enforcement officers, however, and he also defended the police.

“The vast majority of police officers are selfless and courageous public servants. They are great men and women. When others run away from danger, police run straight into harm’s way, often putting their lives at stake to protect someone who they don’t know or never even met,” Trump said, reflecting on the dozens of NYPD officers killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Trump also condemned talks of ending police departments.

“I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments, especially when we’ve achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history,” he said. “Americans know the truth: Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy, and without safety, there is catastrophe.”

Trump also took aim at former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, saying that they did not attempt to fix issues in law enforcement over their eight years in office.

“In order to make real progress in public safety, we have to break old patterns of failure,” Trump said, and slamming politicians for “failing for decades” and even running cities where the problems are most prevalent.

“I promise to fight for justice for all of our people,” Trump vowed.