Complaints about the New York Police Department's use of chokeholds have increased as efforts to discipline officers using the banned tactic have been a “virtually total failure,” an police oversight board said in an analysis reported by the Wall Street Journal. The Civilian Complaint Review Board's 139-page analysis was commissioned after Eric Garner died after an officer subdued him with a chokehold during an arrest in July.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, the board received 219 chokehold complaints, a level of activity that hasn't been seen since the period between 2006 and 2010, when it received more than 200 such complaints each year. The review board and the NYPD “failed to charge officers with chokehold violations” in the last decade because they informally redefined the definition of a chokehold, the report said. Police rules define a chokehold as “any pressure to the throat” that “may prevent breathing.” In past years, the department took disciplinary actions only against officers who actually interfered with someone's breathing, the analysis found.