Major changes could be coming to the way the Jackson Police Department administers justice.
The Lumumba administration is working with department leaders and others to consider amending the department’s general orders in an effort to provide a “more humane application of public safety.”
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba discussed the topic at a recent Jackson City Council meeting.
The meeting came a few days after the mayor issued an executive order banning choke holds and other uses of force by the department, and as council members considered its own proposal to ban choke holds in the light of the killing of George Floyd.
“We have been meeting, not only with the police department but the task force, and are going through all of this,” he said.
The task force the mayor was referring to was the Officer ID Task Force. The group was put together by the administration a couple of years ago to draw up policies governing the release of names involved in officer-involved shootings. General orders are the directives that govern police department and officer actions.
Lumumba issued an executive order on June 19 banning choke holds, strangleholds and “any other use of force that limits a person’s ability to breathe.”
Provisions of the order also requires police to intervene when other officers are using excessive force, restricts officers from shooting at moving vehicles, and give verbal warnings before shooting a person “unless there are extenuating circumstances where giving a verbal warning is impossible.”
The order also requires the department to develop a “use of force continuum” that limits the type of force that can be used in certain situations, and requires comprehensive reporting in cases where officers use force or threaten to use force.
Meanwhile, Ward Four Councilman De’Keither Stamps is planning to introduce an ordinance at next week’s council meeting to ban choke holds altogether.
He introduced a measure at the June 23 council meeting but pulled it on the advice of Deputy City Attorney James Anderson.
Anderson told the council the measure would need to be reintroduced as an ordinance, rather than order, and that some language in the proposal would need to be cleaned up.
Floyd, an African American, was killed by a white police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck after he already had been subdued.
Recently, the mayor of Shreveport signed an executive order banning the hold, while the mayor of Little Rock banned the police use of neck restraints, according to media in those municipalities.
Jackson Police Chief James Davis couldn’t be reached for comment.