CMA supports bill to eliminate use of chokeholds and carotid artery restraints

June 08, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 

Today, the California Medical Association (CMA) stood in support of AB 1196, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, that would eliminate the use of chokeholds and carotid artery restraints statewide by law enforcement officials.

“In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer, CMA has been among the many organizations across the country asking what more we can do to address systemic racism both in the house of medicine and in the unequal administration of justice,” said Lee T. Snook, M.D., CMA president-elect.

“Chokeholds and carotid artery restraints have been routinely misused and abused, and have proven fatal. We saw this in the case of George Floyd. We saw this in the case of Eric Garner. And we see it in dozens of cases that go unnoticed by the press every single year.”

On June 1, 2020, CMA President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D., issued a statement in response to the death of George Floyd and institutionalized racism in America. “As physicians dedicated to healing, we cannot choose to ignore the consequences of hatred and discrimination because we know they contribute to disparities in health outcomes for communities of color,” said  Dr. Bretan, calling on his fellow physicians to acknowledge, condemn, and act against the ethnic disparities and the systemic prejudice that pervades and plagues the United States.

Today’s support of AB 1196 marks a part of CMA’s commitment to answering that call by supporting policy changes that systemically target, harm and, in the worst cases, kill members of Black and Brown communities.

“Physicians have a simple creed that guides us through our work: Do no harm,” said Dr. Snook. “We know these chokeholds put lives in danger unnecessarily and must be outlawed to help reduce – and hopefully eliminate – the incidents people dying in police custody.”


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