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SMITHTOWN, NY – A police officer’s use of “chokeholds” to subdue a suspect resisting arrest is currently sweeping across the nation as the new great controversy, causing municipal, state and federal elected officials to propose legislation, which would essentially ban the use of them entirely.
This long list includes: Governor Andrew Cuomo (NYS) and Gavin Newsom (California), Mayors Bill de Blasio (NYC) and Jacob Frey (Minneapolis), California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck Schumer.
As a lifelong martial artist, 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, retired undefeated MMA fighter, current trainer of Pro and Amateur MMA combatants and police officers, I believe that banning the use of choke holds by law enforcement would have a disastrous impact upon the safety of the public and police officers themselves. Allow me to explain why.
The chokehold is the ultimate equalizer.
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It gives its user the ability to stop a much bigger and stronger adversary. If performed correctly it will exact the least amount of damage to both parties involved. The same cannot be said of the striking arts – including boxing, kickboxing and Thai-boxing.
In addition to my experience with my students, I have a personal understanding of the benefits of using a chokehold for self-defense. My 9-year-old son, whom I have trained in martial arts since he was three years old, does not possess the pure physical strength to stop a grown man attempting to harm him by using only strikes. His best and only chance would be to use a chokehold. Banning him from using it, obviously would be absurd.
A similar scenario could affect law enforcement.
Prohibited from using a chokehold, a police officer facing a larger, stronger criminal suspect resisting arrest would be left with two options: let the suspect go free or draw his/her firearm.
Is this what Americans now facing a violent crime epidemic really want?
Editors note: Professor Tom Muller has now joined The Published Reporter® as a expert columnist. We are thankful he has joined our team of contributors to inform our readers while helping spotlight this critical issue as well as other issues which arise in the future. He is the owner of Muller BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Smithtown, New York.