District Attorney Diana Becton Issues New Policy to Ban Carotid Holds by DA’s Investigative Unit


In an announcement on Friday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a new policy for peace officers within the DA’s Office to ban the use of the carotid hold technique. The District Attorneys Office employs peace officers as senior inspectors within the Investigative Unit. The ban is effective as of June 23, 2020.

“The use of the carotid hold has proven to be an unnecessary and deadly police technique and will not be used by members of my Investigative Unit. The risks associated with this technique far outweigh any potential benefit. This important policy change reflects a positive move forward in police community relations and reinforces the continuous need to focus on de-escalation, training, and tactics,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

The move comes after Governor Gavin Newsom has already made the request of law enforcement.

Meanwhile, in response to the death of George Floyd, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) has introduced AB 1196, making it illegal to use a carotid artery restraint tactic to forcibly detain a suspect. The bill is co-authored by members of the CA Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, API, and LGBTQ Caucus.

AB 1196 is currently awaiting a hearing before the CA State Senate.

Earlier this month, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a broad agenda for police reform aimed at improving use-of-force procedures, addressing issues around bias in policing, and increasing accountability and transparency.

Within that, he urged police to adopt use-of-force reforms which included the Ban of Chokeholds and Carotid Restraints. All agencies should have a policy prohibiting the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, carotid restraints or other restraints, or body positioning that is designed to, or which may foreseeably result in, the cutting off of blood or oxygen to the person;


  1. A lot of really good, talented attorneys have left the DA’s office when this creature came onboard! What a shame!

  2. I’d like to hear more about the studies she did that led her to this conclusion. All I can find for data is a CA DOJ report that studied carotid use between 2016-2018. It found two deaths after use of this hold, for the entire state. It’s not clear if they were even the cause. One subject appears to have been armed with a machete and attacking people. What was the extent of the problem? What lead her to believe it was unnecessarily deadly?


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