Following weeks of protests brought on by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, officers in Little Rock will no longer be allowed to restrain people by placing their knees on the necks of suspects.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced the ban on neck restraints and the issuance of an executive order at a news conference Wednesday, saying he would also formalize a ban on chokeholds. Police Chief Keith Humphrey voiced his support for the move.
“With George Floyd’s death, we saw the horrible technique and the horrible actions of that officer which has brought a lot of negative attention to our profession,” Humphrey said. “I believe here in the city that we do have fine men and women that want to do the right thing, but as the chief of police I have to make sure that policies are in place that prevent us from having certain… techniques that we do not need.”
Humphrey said officers found to use the banned procedures could face disciplinary measures ranging from counseling to termination. Scott said Humphrey has 30 days to revise the department’s current restraint policies to reflect the new ban.
Scott also announced Wednesday that he will direct the city Board of Directors to draft an ordinance requiring all residents to wear face masks in public in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This comes after Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke against a similar ordinance passed by city officials in Fayetteville.
“While the City of Little Rock has seen some drops, we remain in the top three or four as it relates to different increases in the COVID-19 confirmed cases," Scott said."We understand after listening to a number of doctors there’s a possibility to see a surge between now and September.”
Scott said the board should have a draft ordinance ready by early next week. Hutchinson said during a news conference earlier on Wednesday that the state could possibly initiate legal action against municipalities that enact public health ordinances contrary to the state’s guidelines.