SEASIDE, Calif. (KION) President Eduardo Ochoa and several departments at California State University, Monterey Bay have released statements speaking out against racism, and one of the concrete actions being taken is a ban on chokeholds.
CSUMB Police Department
CSUMB Police Chief Earl Lawson said the department will be joining all 23 California State University schools in banning the carotid control hold, also known as a chokehold, and implementing policies recommended by a federal task force.
"We are determined to lead by example, joining a growing number of American cities that have committed — collectively and collaboratively — to address police use-of-force policies... To that end, and effective immediately, we are prohibiting the use of the carotid control hold by all CSU police officers. Additionally, no CSU police officer will receive or participate in trainings that teach the carotid control hold." the police chiefs said in a joint statement.
The chiefs said they will also be adopting recommendations of The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which was reported to then-President Barack Obama in 2015.
Some of the actions recommended in the document include developing and disseminating case studies with examples of past injustices, making policies available for public review, allowing for positive non-enforcement interactions in schools and communities, ensuring reasonable language access and separating federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and non-serious crime.
President Ochoa released a statement previously in response to the death of George Floyd during an incident involving police, saying Minneapolis police showed a "callous disregard" for Floyd's life.
Protests erupted around the country in response to his death and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, including some on the Central Coast. Ochoa acknowledges that it is no accident that the victims were African Americans.
In the midst of the protests, Ochoa said polarization and demonization on social media highlight biases, and COVID-19 has exposed inequalities that disproportionately affect people of color.
"In this disturbing landscape, I turn to our university community as the arena in which, and from which, we can fight to counter these forces of darkness. We will do this by deepening our commitment to our values of respect, inclusion, and empathy. Especially empathy. Developing caring human beings is a fundamental task of education," Ochoa wrote.
He concluded by saying the university will take concrete steps to uncover and eradicate biases.