Florida bill targets strangulation by police officers

FILE - In this May 31, 2020 file photo, visitors make silent visits to organic memorial featuring a mural of George Floyd, near the spot where he died while in police custody, in Minneapolis, Minn. The message from protesters around the United States is that George Floyd is the latest addition to a grim roster of African Americans to be killed by police. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – About eight months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched off nationwide protests, a Florida state senator has filed a bill that targets strangulation by police officers.

The bill (SB 730), filed Friday by Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, could lead to officers facing third-degree felony charges if they strangle people under certain circumstances.

“A law enforcement officer commits the offense of strangulation by a law enforcement officer if while on duty the officer knowingly and intentionally impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of an individual so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm or death by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the individual or by blocking the nose or mouth of the individual, including the use of a chokehold or similar restraint,” said the bill, filed for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 2.

Floyd, a Black man, died in May after a police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest, preventing him from breathing.