French Police: Inadequate arrest techniques

French Police: Inadequate arrest techniques

By Didier Bertin – 26 June 2020

In France the Minister of domestic affairs has forbidden the police to use the keys of strangulation for the arrests; police unions do not seem to have understood that he was thus trying to protect the policemen from themselves in order to avoid any mistakes that would question the authority and respectability of the Police. The police duty is to protect the French democratic system and, as such, its image must be perfect. These unions should focus on wages of policemen, office equipment, and the provision of weapons and vehicles suitable in particular against organized urban guerrillas in “the lost territories of the French Republic” (French suburbs where the laws cannot be applied).

The “Gendarmerie”, which is the Police out of the cities, does not use this technique anymore for many years and this does not prevent it from carrying out arrests.

The keys of strangulation are part of military fighting techniques used in theatres of operations where the missions are to safeguard his life at all costs and that have nothing to do with the arrest.

There are two types of keys: (i) the blood strangulation that cuts the blood flow to the brain by compressing the carotid arteries and (2) the respiratory strangulation that prevents the renewal of oxygen in the blood by compressing the trachea. The police would have been advised to use only the second technique. According to the newspaper “Huffington Post”, a policeman affixes the flat forearm from the back to the trachea of the individual to be arrested in order to block his breathing and then to tackle him to the ground and on the stomach. This key may cause injuries and the immobilization on the ground in this position can affect again the breathing. Diaphragmatic and thoracic breaths, even at rest, lead at different degrees to movements of the ribcage. These movements should naturally increase in phase of amplified breathing which could be induced by stress. According to the Huffington Post when the person is lying on the stomach, the head is set aside and the immobilization is done with the knee on the shoulder blades or shoulders. Holding someone too long in this position may cause a choking.

As a matter of fact on January 3, 2020 in Paris (France) and on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis (USA) Cédric Chouviat and George Floyd respectively died after having been tackled on the ground and were complaining that they could no longer breathe.