MDPD Director discusses ban on neck restraints at 5000 Role Models of Excellence conference

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III expounded on the department’s recently announced ban on neck restraints during a conference hosted by the 5000 Role Models of Excellence mentoring program and the Miami Dolphins.

Community leaders, members of law enforcement and 100 young men attended the 5000 Role Models Police and Youth Conference, held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Thursday evening.

Ramirez reiterated his commitment, on behalf of South Florida’s largest police department, to halt the use of neck restraints.

“Me, the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, promise you that there will never be a chokehold application again in Miami-Dade County, ever,” he said.

Ramirez elaborated on the department’s ban on officers’ use of the Applied Carotid Triangle Restraint (ACTR), which he confirmed in a thread of tweets posted Thursday morning.

“We were the only ones, aside of another agency, that was using it,” said Ramirez, “and I realized that, you know what? What matters right now is to show the community that I’m listening to them, that we’re listening.”

The policy change from MDPD comes after the department released an open letter to the community on Monday that listed policies already in place.

The letter stated the use of chokeholds and strongholds were no longer authorized but still allowed the ACTR.

Organizers said the goal of the conference was for the men to connect with officers and deputies in their community.

Prior to the start of the conference, 7News cameras captured young men from 5000 Role Models of Excellence speaking with members of law enforcement with multiple chairs spread across the stadium’s field to promote social distancing.

Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores delivered the keynote speech.

The program featured a memorial for George Floyd and other black lives lost.

Officers took a knee alongside the young attendees and 5,000 Roles Models’ founder, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck, May 25.

“I don’t want to ever hear or see again, ‘I can’t breathe,’ ever,” said Ramirez.

MDPD is following on the footsteps of many other agencies in South Florida. City of Miami Police did away with neck restraints years ago, not long after 24-year-old Antonio Edwards was handcuffed and put in a chokehold. He spent several years in a coma before he died.

BSO and Hialeah Gardens Police still have ACTR on the books but only to be used when there’s a justified need for deadly force.

“Using this type of chokehold and strangulation techniques, that’s deadly force. Make no mistake about it,” said Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.

Other public officials, like Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan, believe neck restraints should be eliminated completely.

“I think that this is a preventive method to get rid of it. There’s not a question about it,” said Jordan.

Ramirez said the decision to ban neck restraints was based on a number of factors, including feedback from the community and police officers.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.