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Texas George Floyd Law - Houston Criminal Attorney - Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 2.33

Texas Law and the George Floyd Incident: A New Era for Policing - Houston Criminal Attorney - Brian Foley


Houston Criminal Attorney - Texas George Floyd Law

Introduction

The tragic death of George Floyd in May 2020 sent shockwaves across the United States and around the world. The incident prompted nationwide protests, ignited discussions about police reform, and brought to the forefront the urgent need for change in law enforcement practices. One significant response to this call for reform was the passage of a new Texas law, known as Article 2.33, which addresses the use of neck restraints during search or arrest. In this blog post, we will explore the George Floyd incident, the implications of Article 2.33, and its broader implications for policing and criminal defense.


The George Floyd Incident

George Floyd's death was a watershed moment in the United States, sparking outrage and a renewed focus on police brutality, particularly the use of chokeholds and neck restraints. The video footage of George Floyd's arrest, during which a police officer kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes, horrified the world and highlighted a fundamental issue within law enforcement: the use of excessive and potentially lethal force.


Floyd's tragic death galvanized the nation, leading to protests and calls for police reform, accountability, and justice. The incident underscored the need for a comprehensive reevaluation of police practices and policies, both at the state and national levels.


Article 2.33: A Response to the George Floyd Incident

In direct response to the George Floyd incident, Texas passed Article 2.33, a significant piece of legislation aimed at curbing the use of neck restraints during arrests or searches. This article prohibits peace officers from intentionally using chokeholds, carotid artery holds, or similar neck restraints when apprehending a person unless such restraint is deemed necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death to the officer or another person. The passage of this law signifies a critical step in addressing the issues brought to light by the tragic events in Minneapolis. Here is the full text of the law:


Art. 2.33. USE OF NECK RESTRAINTS DURING SEARCH OR ARREST PROHIBITED. A peace officer may not intentionally use a choke hold, carotid artery hold, or similar neck restraint in searching or arresting a person unless the restraint is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to or the death of the officer or another person.


Implications of Article 2.33

Article 2.33 has far-reaching implications for policing and criminal defense in Texas. It places restrictions on the use of potentially lethal techniques during arrests, with a focus on protecting the lives and well-being of those being detained. This law reiterates the value of human life and aims to prevent avoidable fatalities due to excessive force.

The introduction of Article 2.33 also highlights the importance of accountability within the law enforcement community. It sets clear boundaries for the use of force and holds officers responsible for their actions. This, in turn, can provide critical evidence in criminal defense cases, as it establishes a standard for evaluating the legality of an arrest or use of force during an arrest.


Additional Provisions in Article 2.33

Apart from the ban on neck restraints, Article 2.33 also addresses the duty of peace officers to request and render aid when encountering an injured person during the performance of their official duties. This provision emphasizes the responsibility of officers to ensure the well-being of individuals in their custody, further promoting safety and accountability.

Moreover, the law includes provisions related to the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. It requires agencies to adopt written policies regarding the use of force by drones, promoting transparency and ethical use of this technology.


Conclusion

The George Floyd incident served as a catalyst for change in policing practices, not just in Minnesota but across the nation. The passage of Article 2.33 in Texas represents a significant step towards police reform and accountability, addressing the use of neck restraints and establishing guidelines for the humane treatment of individuals during arrests. As criminal defense attorneys, it is essential to understand the implications of this law to better serve our clients and promote justice in the Texas legal system. The evolving landscape of law enforcement policies and practices is a testament to the power of public demand for change and a reminder that progress is possible through the legal system.


Art. 2.33. USE OF NECK RESTRAINTS DURING SEARCH OR ARREST PROHIBITED. A peace officer may not intentionally use a choke hold, carotid artery hold, or similar neck restraint in searching or arresting a person unless the restraint is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to or the death of the officer or another person.


Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 534 (S.B. 69), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2021. Text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 979 (S.B. 2212), Sec. 1 For text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 534 (S.B. 69), Sec. 1, see other Art. 2.33. CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Statute text rendered on: 9/24/2021 - 72 - For text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1011 (H.B. 1758), Sec. 1, see other Art. 2.33.


Art. 2.33. DUTY TO REQUEST AND RENDER AID. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a peace officer who encounters an injured person while discharging the officer's official duties shall immediately and as necessary: (1) request emergency medical services personnel to provide the person with emergency medical services; and (2) while waiting for emergency medical services personnel to arrive, provide first aid or treatment to the person to the extent of the officer's skill and training. (b) The peace officer is not required to request emergency medical services or provide first aid or treatment under Subsection (a) if: (1) making the request or providing the treatment would expose the officer or another person to a risk of bodily injury; or (2) the officer is injured and physically unable to make the request or provide the treatment.


Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 979 (S.B. 2212), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2021. Text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1011 (H.B. 1758), Sec. 1 For text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 534 (S.B. 69), Sec. 1, see other Art. 2.33. For text of article as added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 979 (S.B. 2212), Sec. 1, see other Art. 2.33.


Art. 2.33. LAW ENFORCEMENT POLICY ON USE OF FORCE BY DRONE. (a) In this article: (1) "Drone" means an unmanned aircraft, watercraft, or ground vehicle or a robotic device that: (A) is controlled remotely by a human operator; or (B) operates autonomously through computer software or other programming. (2) "Law enforcement agency" means an agency of the state or an agency of a political subdivision of the state authorized by law to employ peace officers. (b) Each law enforcement agency that uses or intends to use a drone for law enforcement purposes shall: (1) adopt a written policy regarding the agency's use of force by means of a drone, before the agency first uses a drone, and update the policy as necessary; and (2) not later than January 1 of each even-numbered year, submit the policy to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement in the manner prescribed by the commission.


Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1011 (H.B. 1758), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2021.

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