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Trump Says He 'Generally' Opposes Police Chokeholds, Stops Short of Supporting Ban

New York City Police officers stand behind a protester during a vigil at Foley Square in New York last month.
Timothy A. Clary
AFP via Getty Images
New York City Police officers stand behind a protester during a vigil at Foley Square in New York last month.

President Trump said Friday that "generally speaking," he thinks police should avoid using chokeholds, but he stopped short of saying he supports a ban on the tactic, explaining that he felt it would leave police officers without a measure they might need in certain one-on-one situations.

"I don't like chokeholds," Trump said an interview that aired on Fox News. "Sometimes, if you're alone and you're fighting someone, it's tough," he said.

"It would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended."

Trump said on Thursday that the White House is working to finalize an executive order to "encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation," following nationwide unrest surrounding the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Trump has been criticized for his response to widespread protests over Floyd's death and police brutality and has rejected the idea that there are systemic issues of racism in policing. In the weeks since Floyd's death, Trump has repeatedly praised the country's law enforcement officers and seemed to encourage lethal force against protesters who broke the law, describing them as thugs.

Congressional Democrats have proposed banning chokeholds as part of their policing reforms legislation. Republicans are still working out their proposal. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has said he supports a ban on chokeholds, but Sen.Tim Scott, who is leading efforts in the Senate to craft a package, has focused on training to lessen the potential use of chokeholds.

Several cities — including Raleigh, N.C., Houston, and Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed — have moved to eliminate police use of chokeholds and strangleholds in the weeks since Floyd's death.

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.