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Carlsbad Police Department Chief Neil Gallucci and Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy (file photo)

Carlsbad and Oceanside Police to Halt Use of Carotid Hold

Oceanside CA— On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, both the Carlsbad Police Department and Oceanside Police Chief, Frank McCoy released statements regarding the use of the controversial carotid hold. Also known as a sleeper or choke hold, the hold reduces blood flow to the brain by compressing the carotid artery causing the subject to lose consciousness.

Chief McCoy’s statement

As the Police Chief of Oceanside, I have made the decision to ban the Carotid Restraint, commonly referred to as a “chokehold” as a restraining option for our officers. I am aware this particular restraint option has been and continues to be considered unacceptable in many communities. It is time for our department to focus on alternative de-escalation tools and techniques that will help ensure the safety of those individuals in our custody. The Oceanside Police Department is committed to continuing to provide our officers with extensive training on de-escalation tactics and promoting new tools as appropriate alternatives.

Our department is committed to listening and learning from the community, as well as continually improving our relationship through each and every interaction with those we serve and protect.

The City of Carlsbad Police Department statement

The City of Carlsbad Police Department has announced it will immediately halt the use of the carotid hold, a technique that looks like a choke hold but compresses the carotid arteries, not the airway, and results in rapid loss of consciousness.

“We join law enforcement from throughout our region in acknowledging the community’s concerns over the use of this technique, following the shocking video from Minneapolis and the tragic death of George Floyd,” said City of Carlsbad Police Chief Neil Gallucci.

According to Gallucci, using body weight with a knee on a suspect’s neck is inconsistent with any training provided to members of the Carlsbad Police Department.

Under the police department’s policy, the carotid hold technique was used under very limited circumstances and could be an effective way to quickly end an incident that was dangerous to a suspect, officers or both. Since 2017, Carlsbad officers used the carotid control hold eight times:

  • 2017, Male suspect, race “other”
  • 2017, Male suspect, white
  • 2017, Male suspect, white
  • 2018, Male suspect, black
  • 2018, Male suspect, white
  • 2019, Male suspect, white
  • 2020, Female suspect, Hispanic
  • 2020, Male suspect, white

No major injuries resulted from these cases.

“Police officers have a duty to not only use force in a responsible manner but to intervene and prevent excessive force they may witness,” said Gallucci.

In its first report released in 2016, Campaign Zero, a national organization advocating against police violence, gave the City of Carlsbad Police Department the highest ranking among the 100 largest police departments in California. Carlsbad currently ranks number 3, based on data covering 20016 to 2018. Specific findings include:

  • Carlsbad is one of 11 police departments in the state with zero cases of deadly force.
  • Carlsbad had zero complaints of excessive force and zero complaints of police discrimination.
  • Carlsbad had a lower misdemeanor arrest rate than 80% of all California departments.