Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter XIII. Limitation on Chokehold.


§ 5–125.01. Intent of Council.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on August 1, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

The Council of the District of Columbia finds and declares that law enforcement and special police officer use of neck restraints constitutes the use of lethal and excessive force. This force presents an unnecessary danger to the public. On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd by applying a neck restraint to Floyd with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in cities and states across the world, including in the District, have taken to the streets to peacefully protest injustice, racism, and police brutality against Black people and other people of color. Police brutality is abhorrent and does not reflect the District's values. It is the intent of the Council in the enactment of this subchapter to unequivocally ban the use of neck restraints by law enforcement and special police officers.


(Jan. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-77, § 2, 32 DCR 6497; May 3, 2021, D.C. Act 24-76, § 101(a), 68 DCR 004935.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-188.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(a) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-76, May 3, 2021, 68 DCR 004935).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(a) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-437, Oct. 28, 2020, 67 DCR 12993).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(a) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-336, July 22, 2020, 67 DCR 9148).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(a) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-151, Dec. 3, 2020, 67 DCR 9920).

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 5 of D.C. Law 6-77 provided that the Mayor may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 15 of Title 1.


§ 5–125.02. Definitions.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on August 1, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) Repealed.

(2) Repealed.

(3) "Neck restraint" means the use of any body part or object to attempt to control or disable a person by applying pressure against the person's neck, including the trachea or carotid artery, with the purpose, intent, or effect of controlling or restricting the person's movement or restricting their blood flow or breathing.


(Jan. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-77, § 3, 32 DCR 6497; May 3, 2021, D.C. Act 24-76, § 101(b), 68 DCR 004935.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-189.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-302.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(b) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-76, May 3, 2021, 68 DCR 004935).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(b) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-437, Oct. 28, 2020, 67 DCR 12993).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(b) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-336, July 22, 2020, 67 DCR 9148).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(b) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-151, Dec. 3, 2020, 67 DCR 9920).

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-125.01.


§ 5–125.03. Unlawful use of neck restraints by law enforcement officers and special police officers.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on August 1, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(a) It shall be unlawful for:

(1) Any law enforcement officer or special police officer ("officer") to apply a neck restraint; and

(2) Any officer who applies a neck restraint and any officer who is able to observe another officer's application of a neck restraint to fail to:

(A) Immediately render, or cause to be rendered, first aid on the person on whom the neck restraint was applied; or

(B) Immediately request emergency medical services for the person on whom the neck restraint was applied.

(b) Any officer who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be fined no more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or incarcerated for no more than 10 years, or both.


(Jan. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-77, § 4, 32 DCR 6497; May 3, 2021, D.C. Act 24-76, § 101(c), 68 DCR 004935.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-190.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-302.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(c) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-76, May 3, 2021, 68 DCR 004935).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(c) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-437, Oct. 28, 2020, 67 DCR 12993).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(c) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-336, July 22, 2020, 67 DCR 9148).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 101(c) of Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-151, Dec. 3, 2020, 67 DCR 9920).

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 5-125.01.