SEATTLE - From the American Civil Liberties Union to the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, there's criticism over the King County Sheriff's Office training deputies to use a neck restraint technique.
At a Monday press conference Sheriff John Urquhart addressed questions about it.
"We do not train chokeholds. Let me say that again. We do not train on chokeholds," said Urquhart.
King County Sheriff's deputies are trained to use a Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint which is not considered deadly force, according to the Sheriff. It is a technique that was brought back after a decade of not using it.
"The rationale for why they want to introduce this policy now given what we saw in New York with Mr. Garner, I don't know," said Charles Gaither, the director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.
Cell phone video from July shows Eric Garner's arrest by NYPD which included an apparent chokehold. Garner died. The incident is being investigated.
While the Sheriff says they do not use chokeholds, Jennifer Shaw with the ACLU considers the technique being taught a risk.
"A properly placed hold can easily turn into a chokehold when someone moves or twist," said Shaw.
Gaither, who reviews KCSO use of force cases, points to the Sheriff's policy.
"I see this as a lethal use of force, something that if you are in a fight for your life I believe this is an appropriate technique. But the policy is very silent on when you should use this technique," said Gaither.
In response to Gaither's concerns, Sheriff Urquhart said, "he has not said a word to me about problems with use of force in the Sheriff's office."
But Gaither and Shaw want to talk with the Sheriff now because they are concerned that in the field, the use of force technique could harm instead of help.