Special Session: Proposed law would ban chokeholds and limit police use of force

Lawmakers on Day 1 of the 32nd special session introduced a bill that would prohibit Nevada police from using choke holds or physical restraints that interfere with a subject’s breathing or blood flow to the brain.

Assembly Bill 3 would limit arresting officers to “only the amount of reasonable force necessary to effect the arrest.”

It does not, however, remove qualified immunity that was enacted to stop frivolous lawsuits against peace officers for doing their job.

AB3 would require other peace officers to intervene and stop an officer they see using unnecessary force on a person, even if the officer using unjustified force is of higher rank.

If the witness is of higher rank, it says he or she must issue an order to immediately stop using unnecessary physical force.

The bill would mandate a written report by the peace officer who observed the misconduct within 10 days.

The bill requires any cases of force causing death or substantial injury, the officer must be tested for alcohol and drugs before the end of his shift.

AB3 further protects the rights of bystanders and witnesses, barring the police from interfering with people recording their actions, attempting to threaten them for recording law enforcement or commanding them to stop recording. It prohibits police from seizing or searching a person for recording law enforcement activities and from illegally seizing the recording device.

It doesn’t change the rules, however, if the person being arrested flees or forcibly resists arrest.

It says anyone injured during an arrest should get medical aid as soon as practicable.

AB3 requires all law enforcement agencies in the state to train all their officers in the new rules and report to lawmakers in November on their agency’s use of force.

It would take effect immediately upon passage and approval.

No action had been taken on the bill Friday.

The Legislature convened for its second special session of the summer on Friday. Lawmakers were called to Carson City late Thursday night by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Sisolak’s proclamation calls for the legislature to:

  • Address criminal and social justice policy reform
  • Work to ensure Nevadans, businesses, workers and the unemployed have the support and protections they need as they battle COVID-19
  • Ensure Nevadans can exercise their fundamental right to vote in a way that does not dangerously expose them to increased risk of COVID-19 infection
  • Help stabilize Nevada businesses so they don’t suffer continued economic hits and establishing safety standards for the workers who are keeping our economy going
  • Remove statutory barriers impeding the work of Nevada’s unemployment insurance program
  • Provide authority for the Judicial Branch to implement alternative dispute resolution measures in cases of rental evictions
  • Items requested by Legislative Counsel Bureau related to the Legislative Branch


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