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Amnesty International condemns US police brutality

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This image shows US police crackdown on demonstrators outside of the White House, June 1, 2020 in Washington DC. (Photo by AFP)

Amnesty International has condemned the excessive use of force by US police in its recent crackdown on demonstrators protesting against racial discrimination and police brutality in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd.

In a report published on Tuesday, the rights group said the police in the US had committed 125 human rights violations in 40 states.

Among the human rights violations cited in the report included the use of pepper balls and smoke canisters to clear protesters from Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, and the deployment of tear gas by Philadelphia police on protesters who were trapped on Interstate 676.

“In some instances, the excessive use of force that causes severe pain or suffering may constitute torture or other ill-treatment, in violation of international law,” the human rights organization said in its report.

US police forces in different cities between May 26 and June 5 have used militarized equipment; excessive force including the use of batons, kinetic impact projectiles, and tear gas and pepper spray in the crackdown, the report noted.

It added that activists, journalists, legal observers and even medics had been targeted by police in the crackdown.

The Amnesty report concluded that the excessive use of force by US police to clamp down on the pro-justice protests was the very issue that had started the recent movement. 

The crackdown of protesters is “ultimately a symptom of the very issue that started these protests: unaccountable police violence,” according to Amnesty's report as quoted by The Hill.

The human rights organization recommended to the US Justice Department to fully implement the Death in Custody Reporting Act, a law Congress passed in 2014 to require states to report deaths in police custody, but has yet to be fully implemented.

The pro-justice protests erupted across the country after video footage showing the Minneapolis police killing of Floyd went viral.

The footage shows a white police officer using his knee to put excessive force on the neck of Floyd until even after the handcuffed victim had become unresponsive. 


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