Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recommends banning chokeholds, limit use of no-knock warrants

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is releasing proposed police reform policies for law enforcement throughout the state and is recommending the state bans the use of chokeholds and limit no-knock warrants, among several other items.

The governor released her four-pronged plan after working with community leaders and law enforcement organizations. According to the governor, the plan "will make significant reforms in policy, personnel, participation and community engagement, and prevention and accountability to address racial disparities in how law enforcement is applied toward communities of color."

The four-pronged approach includes reforms to Policy, Personnel, Partnership/Community Involvement, and Prevention and Accountability

Since the death of Geroge Floyd in late May in Minneapolis, protests throughout the nation have demanded action. Gov. Whitmer added four seats to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). Among the new position is a Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights which the governor's office says will bring more community voices to the table as it considers police reform.


Among the action items, the Whitmer Administration is supporting legislation that does the following:

  • Ban chokeholds/windpipe blockage.
  • Further limit the use of no-knock warrants.
  • Require "duty to intervene" policies.
  • Classify false, racially-motivated 911 calls as a hate crime.
  • Require in-service training for all licensed law enforcement officers to maintain licensure.
  • Authorize MCOLES to do the following Audit law enforcement agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting violations of law or improper use of force. Establish penalties for agencies who don’t comply with reporting.
  • Audit law enforcement agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting violations of law or improper use of force.
  • Establish penalties for agencies who don’t comply with reporting.
  • Direct the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Diversion Council to make recommendations on best practices and training for police departments when responding to situations involving persons with mental illnesses.   

 “All Michiganders, no matter their community or the color of their skin, deserve equal treatment under the law,” Governor Whitmer said. “This proposal will help us ensure that law enforcement officials treat all Michiganders with humanity and respect, and will help us keep our communities safe. I will continue working with leaders in law enforcement to make public safety more just and equitable in Michigan.”  

The governor is also encouraging police departments to participate in efforts to report on the use of force by officers.
“People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “These reforms will help us build a more just and equitable law enforcement system and ensure the safety of Black Michiganders across the state. ”  


The Whitmer Administration said it will work with leaders in law enforcement to build a 'more empathetic police force'. To do that, Whitmer said she wants to provide incentive programs for agencies to hire or retrain officers who live where they work and require that disciplinary records from legal violations or improper use of force are retained by the departments.


The governor's release also said it wants to invest in programming in communities around the state and invest in breaking down barriers between police and communities. 


She also said she wants an independent investigation of all shootings and use of force that result in the death of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement.

These recommendations are not being implemented but are being proposed by the governor's office.