US President Donald Trump has spoken about the use of chokeholds by police, saying “generally speaking” the practice should be ended.
Mr Trump’s views came across as somewhat conflicted during the interview on Fox News, where he said “the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect” in “one-on-one struggles”.
“Sometimes if you’re alone, and you’re fighting someone whose tough, and you get somebody in a chokehold… What are you gonna do now? Let go and say: ‘Oh let’s start all over again? I’m not allowed to have you in a chokehold’,” he said.
President Trump: “I don’t like chokeholds…generally speaking, it should be ended.” pic.twitter.com/6X3ldKlZ7p
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“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect. And then you realise if it’s a one-on-one now if it’s a two on one that’s a little bit of a different story, depending on the toughness and strength… if a police officer is in a bad scuffle and he’s got somebody…That does happen, so you have to be careful.
“With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he added.
A chokehold is when an officer puts his or her arm around the neck of a suspect, preventing them from breathing.
Mr Trump words come as protests continue across the US against police brutality, particularly towards black Americans, inspired by the death of George Floyd.
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Mr Floyd was a black American who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes after stopping him in Minneapolis.
A chokehold was not used on Mr Floyd but it has become a symbol of police brutality and there have been calls to ban its use nationwide. Many police departments have already banned it.
The people of America are saying they’ve had enough – this time it feels different
Another black American, Eric Garner, died in 2014 after a police chokehold, although the officer involved denies this, saying he used a different manoeuvre.
In comments reported by CNBC, Mr Trump said the practice could be banned by local officials “in some cases” but added that the federal government could make “very strong recommendations”.
A ban was included in legislation proposed by Democrats last week, making the prohibition of chokeholds a condition for federal police funding, but it is not clear if Republicans will support this.
In response to the protests, the White House has been working on an executive order on policing, but it is unclear if this will address chokeholds.
The White House did not comment on chokeholds, and Mr Trump did not mention the subject during a discussion in Texas on Thursday.
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