The UN Received an Offer... to Help the US Transform Policing Policies?

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Posted: Jun 10, 2020 7:15 PM
The UN Received an Offer... to Help the US Transform Policing Policies?

Source: AP Photo/Jim Mone

George Floyd's family last week asked the United Nations to step in and recommend potential police reforms that could be taken in the United States. Specifically, the family wanted to see "the end of the provision of military equipment and military-type training for police, the teaching of deescalation techniques, independent prosecutions and autopsies for 'extrajudicial' police killings," NBC News reported.

Ben Crump, the Floyd family's attorney said the international community is needed for "support" and "intervention."

“When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention,” Crump said in a press release.

On May 28th, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released a statement about other African Americans who have died in police custody:

“This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by US police officers and members of the public,” Bachelet said. “I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police -- as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public.” 

“The US authorities must take serious action to stop such killings, and to ensure justice is done when they do occur. Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed.”

“I welcome the fact that the Federal authorities have announced that an investigation will be prioritized,” she said. “But in too many cases in the past, such investigations have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures.” 

“The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognized and dealt with,” she added.

While saying she understood the anger unleashed by Floyd’s killing, Bachelet urged people in Minneapolis and elsewhere to protest peacefully.

“Violence and destruction of property won’t solve the problem of police brutality and entrenched discrimination,” she said. “I urge protestors to express their demands for justice peacefully, and I urge the police to take utmost care not to enflame the current situation even more with any further use of excessive force.”

In a statement on Wednesday, UN independent human rights experts condemned the United States' moves to curb riots, particularly through the use of the National Guard.

“We are inspired by the determination and innovation of civil society in the United States. They are putting forward ideas to recreate public security grounded in human rights. The voices and participation of affected communities in local and federal efforts to reform the system must be heard and ensured with no further delay,” the experts said.

It will be interesting to see just how involved the UN decides to get, if at all.