In a victory for the city’s powerful police unions, a state Supreme Court judge struck down a city law banning police officers’ use of chokeholds and other physical restraints on Tuesday, saying the wording of the law was “unconstitutionally vague.”
The law, passed last summer, had been met with fierce resistance from police unions, who sued the city last fall over its passage. The language of the statute — which forbids officers from compressing a suspect’s diaphragm — was overly broad, the suit said, and made it nearly impossible for officers to physically engage suspects, even if the use of force was in good faith.
Justice Laurence L. Love agreed: “The phrase ‘compresses the diaphragm’ cannot be adequately defined as written,” he wrote in his ruling in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The judge encouraged the city to revise its law, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, at his daily news conference on Wednesday, urged lawmakers to move quickly to do so.
Let's hear it for Rory Lancman and company for not knowing how to pass a bill that doesn't violate the Constitution.