France's interior minister announced Monday police will no longer conduct chokeholds that have been blamed for multiple cases of asphyxiation and prompted new criticism after George Floyd's death in the U.S.
At a news conference in Paris, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said "the method of seizing the neck via strangling will be abandoned and will no longer be taught in police schools."
Immobilization techniques where officers apply pressure with their knees on prone suspects, as officers did in Floyd's case, are used in policing around the world and have long drawn criticism. French lawmakers have called for such practices to be banned.
Castaner spoke out as the country's government comes under increasing pressure to address brutality and racism within the police force. France has seen several protests over the past week sparked by Floyd's death last month, which has stirred anger against racism and police brutality around the world.
The interior minister said the move is not just a reaction to recent events but comes after months of work by the commission on police procedures.
He added that stricter punishments would be implemented on cases of racism inside the police forces, whereby disciplinary processes such as suspensions would be followed by criminal proceedings. Castaner called racism an "abject evil" that has no place in French society.
Three days after Floyd died in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, another black man writhed on the tarmac of a street in Paris as a police officer pressed a knee to his neck during an arrest.