Missouri Senate votes to ban police chokeholds

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill that would ban police chokeholds in Missouri and allow Kansas City police to live outside the city passed the state Senate on Monday. 

Senators voted 30-4 to send the measure to the House. 

The bill's progress follows years of inaction by the GOP-led Legislature on police accountability following Michael Brown's death in Ferguson.

Police chokeholds fell under public scrutiny after a white Minneapolis police officer last year pressed his knee against the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, until he stopped breathing. Video of Floyd's death sparked outrage and months of protests. 

The Missouri bill's passage in the state Senate came the first day that the former Minneapolis police officer went on trial on charges of murder and manslaughter for Floyd's death. 

University City Democratic Sen. Brian Williams said he doesn't everything in the compromise legislation but said it represents progress.

"George Floyd should still be alive today," Williams said in a statement. "We cannot bring him back, but we can ban police chokeholds to make sure deaths like his do not happen in Missouri. This bill will save Black lives, and its passage is a monumental step forward on an issue that has failed to make progress in Missouri until now."