President Trump makes his way to the Rose Garden for a signing ceremony at the White House earlier this month.
President Trump makes his way to the Rose Garden for a signing ceremony at the White House earlier this month. [Drew Angerer | Getty Images]

Trump Signs Executive Order Barring Most Police Use of Chokeholds

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Updated at 12:51 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday banning the use of choke holds by police, except when an officer believes his or her life is in jeopardy, and which also encourages police departments to improve training on use of force.

The order comes as the president faces tremendous pressure to take action following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police last month.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, which at times sounded like a campaign speech, Trump said Americans “demand law and order.” “They may not say it, they may not be talking about it,” he said, “but that’s what they want.”

According to senior White House officials, the order will create a database to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct, and use federal grants to encourage departments to meet certain higher certification standards on use of force.

It would also call on departments to involve social workers and mental health professionals on calls dealing with homelessness, mental illness and addiction.

The order does not address concerns by many that police treat African Americans and people of color unfairly. The focus, instead, is on breaking down barriers and bringing communities together and not demonizing the police.

On Tuesday the president, as he has in the past month, forcefully defended law enforcement, saying, the number of bad officers was “very tiny.”

And he denounced proposals to defund police departments, saying in many departments were underfunded and under supported.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday afternoon on policing and community relations as Senate Republicans continue work on a policing bill they are expected to unveil this week.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would, among other measures, ban choke holds.

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