The Eric Garner tragedy represents not merely the New York Police Department’s operational failure to stamp out the use of chokeholds during arrests 21 years after the NYPD patrol guide banned the technique, but our legal system’s failure to effectively deter chokeholds even after such high-profile tragedies as the Anthony Baez case in 1994 exposed the legal gaps that allow such conduct to go unprosecuted in state courts.

This article examines the existing legal road map that investigators and prosecutors must navigate in determining whether criminal liability might attach to the conduct of the officers involved.

Prohibition on Chokeholds

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