US police violence goes beyond all reasons: Russian human rights activists urge the UN to clamp down
An issue of the police authority and the appropriateness of the force application, especially in countering crowds, has been quite acute for already many years. Recently there have been a number of cases in Europe which have re-actualized this question. For example, in May a video was published in social media showing German police in Frankfurt-am-Main beating with truncheons and using spray on a person lying on the road. In the same month, in Brussels, police used water cannons against protesters in response to attempts of pelleting officers with branches and bottles. In London large-scale protests were launched in March against the bill “On Police, Crime, Sentences and Courts”, which could give police more tools to prevent violations of order and law during demonstrations and punish those responsible if they do occur.
While in European countries the authorities and society are trying to find a compromise solution on the boundaries of police powers and disciplinary measures for violating them, in the United States police officers regularly commit violence against citizens of the country and remain unpunished. In 2021, 1,068 people died at the hands of American law enforcement officers. And last year the number was almost similarly shocking – 999 people were killed.
One of the most famous and high-profile cases of police violence in the United States was the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, when a policeman from Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, pressed Floyd’s neck with his knee to the asphalt and held him in this position for 7 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd lay face down on the road. This case received widespread publicity and sparked numerous protests across the country. However, few people know that in the United States police officers killed six more people while on duty, a day after the court passed a conviction in the case of the George Floyd murder.
Among the new victims of American law enforcement officers were a man in Escondido, California, who was previously often prosecuted for crimes, a 42-year-old American from eastern North Carolina, an unidentified man in San Antonio, as well as another person killed in that the same city within a few hours after the death of the first. A 31-year-old man from central Massachusetts and a 16-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio also died as a result of police actions.
In addition, the US law enforcement officers have repeatedly shown cruelty during illegal protest actions. This spring, during a rally against police brutality in Texas, a law enforcement officer threw Whitney Mitchell, who has no arms and legs, from a wheelchair. The girl participated in the event because of her boyfriend, who was killed a year earlier by a police officer during a similar action in defense of the rights of African Americans.
Such a horrifying situation leads to the conclusion that American human rights organizations are not coping with their responsibilities, since thousands of people are suffering from the actions of the US law enforcement agencies. The Russian Foundation to Battle Injustice (FBI) decided to come to the aid of their US counterparts.
The FBI was established with the assistance of Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin as a human rights organization aimed at combating police brutality around the world. The foundation’s initiative group strives to consistently defend the rights of victims of law enforcement officers violence and draw attention to this problem in the United States and other Western countries.
In the beginning of July the Foundation to Battle Injustice had sent an open letter to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The FBI appeals to the Chairman of the HRC, Najat Shamim Khan, with a request to hold an urgent meeting in order to approve a permanent humanitarian mission to the United States of America – with an aim to stop constantly observed offenses and police brutality.
“The entire civilized world is a witness of a racially motivated civil war initiated by the police against people of the US,” the open letter states.
Recently, the UN human rights group published a report on racist incidents by the US police officers. According to experts, in 190 out of 250 cases deaths of the African descent people were caused by police officers. Most often, such incidents occur in Europe, Latin and North America. At the same time, most commonly, law enforcement officers manage to avoid punishment. The Foundation to Battle Injustice mentions in its appeal the names of Americans killed by the police — Marvin Scott III, Tyler Wilson, Javier Ambler, Judson Albam, Adam Toledo, Frankie Jennings and Isaiah Brown.
In these circumstances, the Foundation to Battle Injustice suggests considering sending an international humanitarian mission to the United States, which will work to prevent systematic human rights violations. The FBI notes in an open letter that the UN has successful experience in conducting such operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, El Salvador, Cambodia and Liberia.
The FBI members consider that “the current situation in the United States regarding human rights and freedoms has frightening similarities with South Africa during the apartheid era.” That is why the Foundation to Battle Injustice demands from the UN Human Rights Council “to immediately respond to the crisis of state violence against citizens in the United States.”
It will be remembered that the Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention.