NYPD using new tactic in taking down suspects

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Jim Dolan has the story. (WABC)

Taking down out of control suspects is very much on the mind these days of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The NYPD is now tackling a new technique.

At Progressive Martial Arts in Fresh Meadows, the students and instructors work on moves that are at once precise and brutally effective.

It's so violent that it makes it a little ironic that the Police Academy has now turned to the martial arts to actually minimize injuries, to make sure fewer people are hurt and killed when taking down suspects.

The death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officers on Staten Island last year, lead to a massive overhaul in training methods at the NYPD Academy.

What many viewed as a poorly administered and always illegal chokehold caused Garner's death. They are teaching something much different now.

It's called the Armbar Hammerlock, and Nick Sacoulus demonstrated it for Eyewitness News. Officers go for the wrist and elbow instead of the neck, and then apply pressure in opposite directions until the person goes to the ground, where they're easier to handcuff. Police train to do it in teams, and are learning it in just three days.

"Is that enough?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Absolutely not," said Sacoulus, of Progressive Martial Arts.

Sacoulus says it takes weeks of training to master the move, and then you have to practice it after that.

"You have to rep it out tens of thousands of times for it to be a conditioned response, something that you train and learn for even a month you know, it's not enough time," Sacoulus said.

Sacoulus says all martial arts moves require discipline and constant training, so that when you need the move, performing it is a reflex.

"Under high stress situation, when the adrenaline is pumping, it's an emotional situation, you're going to react and usually it's going to be something that it has to be ingrained for it to actually come out," Sacoulus said.

Related Topics:
eric garnernypdbill brattonNew York City
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