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NDP wants RCMP to drop use of controversial neck restraint



(OTTAWA) New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday that the federal Minister of Public Safety should stop the RCMP from ever using a controversial “neck check” technique in their interventions.

In a mandate letter delivered to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki last May, Minister Marco Mendicino ordered federal police to stop using “neck control techniques” by all circumstances.

But the RCMP told CBC this week that the practice is not prohibited.

This technique of immobilization by neck hold, called “carotid strangulation”, has been very controversial since the murder in the United States of George Floyd, in 2020. The black man was killed when a Minneapolis police officer supported him with a knee on the neck for more than nine minutes.

Mr. Singh asks Minister Mendicino to demand from Commissioner Lucki that this technique be abandoned once and for all within the federal police.

An article published last fall in the forensic journal Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine reminded that research on the subject was “sparse”. But the article suggested that the neck restraint could be “safe and effective” in high-risk confrontations, provided it was practiced by properly trained police officers.

After the murder of George Floyd in the United States, Commissioner Lucki promised to review the use of this immobilization technique. The RCMP had also maintained that it did not teach or endorse any technique where officers would place a knee on a person’s head or neck.

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