NewsLocal NewsI-Team Investigations


Sarasota Police Department updates use of force policy to ban neck restraints

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 14:06:03-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Sarasota Police Department updated its use of force policy and is now banning neck restraints.

I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivernfound the new order from Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino came two days after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Medical examiner lists Floyd’s death as homicide, says heart stopped while being restrained

Sarasota Police are not authorized to ever kneel on anyone’s neck. This new order goes a step further and bans all other types of neck restraints.

The I-Team obtained a copy of the memo from Chief DiPino, dated May 27, saying, “Effective immediately, officers of the Sarasota Police Department will no longer utilize the Vascular Neck Restraint (VNR) as delineated in S.O.P. 703 - Use of Force.”

The department’s use of force policy, explained on pages 12 and 13 in the document below, describes the Vascular Neck Restraint as a technique that when used properly, “results in a decreased blood supply to the brain which leads to altered levels of consciousness allowing an officer to gain compliance of the subject.”

Sarasota Police Spokesperson Genevieve Judge said, even though the policy states the department authorizes the Vascular Neck Restraint, the Chief of Police memo now prohibits the use of that technique.

Sarasota Police’s use of force techniques gained attention earlier this week, after the department announced it placed one of its officers on administrative leave and opened an investigation. In a video of a May 18 incident, an officer is seen kneeling on the neck of 27-year-old Patrick Carroll.

The cell phone video of Carroll's arrest was posted to social media by Carroll's mother, Terria, on Monday.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Sarasota police officer under investigation after kneeling on man's neck during arrest

The next day, Sarasota Police Deputy Chief Patrick Robinson told ABC Action News, "Utilizing your knee on someone’s neck is not something that we train. It’s not something that we authorize and it’s not something that we stand behind."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pinellas Co. leaders ask deputies, local police to review 'use of force' policies in wake of George Floyd's death

On Thursday, Carroll's attorneys filed a federal civil lawsuit against the three police officers involved with the excessive force. It is pending in the Middle District of Florida.

Spokesperson Genevieve Judge told the I-Team, "Chief DiPino felt it was vital to review this level of force and pulling the VNR use at this time was necessary and a review of the practice and policies was timely. While the incident in Minneapolis was not an officer from the Sarasota Police Department, Chief DiPino said reviewing incidents like this and recommitting ourselves to being better, doing what is right and being proud of our actions is important and valuable."