U.N. Human Rights Council will debate whether police killings of black men are modern day lynchings

police-killings-of-black-men-are-the-modern-day-lynchings-unPolice killings of Black people in the United States are reminiscent of lynchings and the government must do far more to protect them, a United Nations working group says in a report that will be debated at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.

The hard-hitting criticism—drawing a comparison between modern police behavior and mob killings of Black people in the 19th and 20th centuries—comes at a time of renewed racial tension in the United States.

This week Charlotte, North Carolina, saw street riots over the shooting of a Black man, Keith Lamont Scott, by a Black police officer. On Friday, a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man turned herself into authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching,” said the report by the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

Most lynching victims died by hanging. A 2015 report by a non-profit organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, said 3,959 Black people were killed in “racial terror lynchings” in a dozen southern states between 1877 and 1950.

“In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” said the report. “Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Police killings go unpunished because initial investigations are usually conducted by the police department where the alleged perpetrator works because prosecutors have wide discretion over presenting charges and because the use of force is not subject to international standards, the experts’ group said.

They recommended the United States create a reliable national system to track killings and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, and end racial profiling, which is “a rampant practice and seriously damages the trust between African-Americans and law enforcement officials.”

To improve race relations, education should be “accompanied by acts of reconciliation” to overcome bigotry and past injustices, while federal and state laws should recognize the negative impact of enslavement and racial injustice, the report added.

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10 Responses to U.N. Human Rights Council will debate whether police killings of black men are modern day lynchings

  1. UN: Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis & must be addressed as a matter of urgency

  2. United Nations working group says police killings of black people in the United States are reminiscent of lynchings

  3. Liza says:

    More on this subject. Posted on the EJI website on July 14, 2016. These encounters are occurring somewhere in this country all day long. Inevitably, some will result in death and those are the few that make the news. And they generally make national news when citizens post videos on social media.

    Police Abuse of People of Color Is Not Limited to Shooting Deaths
    July 14, 2016
    The tragic shooting deaths of young people of color by police has generated outrage after some of these incidents were captured on video. There is no doubt that shooting deaths of unarmed people of color is the most extreme manifestation of this problem, but thousands of incidents take place every day in this country in which people of color are unfairly shot, beaten, harassed, threatened, menaced, humiliated, or disrespected by law enforcement officers.

    Read the article…

    • Liza says:

      I meant to post this as reply to Dallas Newton’s comment.

    • Liza says:

      A prime example. The cops did this because the 14 year old child gave them a “dehumanizing stare.” The felony charges against the child were eventually dropped probably because of the public outrage. There was a video, but what would have happened to this kid without the video?

      14-Year-Old Boy Choked, Arrested, and Prosecuted for Staring at Police
      June 20, 2013

      EJI has joined the call to have felony charges dropped against 14-year-old Tremaine McMillian, who has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest with violence – a felony – after he allegedly gave police officers a “dehumanizing stare” on a beach in Miami, Florida.

      Just after 11:00 a.m. on Memorial Day on Haulover Beach, Tremaine was carrying his newborn puppy, Polo, and a baby bottle for feeding the puppy, and playing around with another youngster when Miami-Dade police on ATVs confronted him.

      “They told him that behavior was unacceptable,” Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told reporters. “He walked away and officers followed him.” Zabaleta said the child gave officers “dehumanizing stares.” A police officer grabbed Tremaine and slammed him to the ground, injuring the puppy, then held Tremaine in a chokehold until he urinated on himself.

      Tremaine’s mother, Maurissa Holmes, used her cell phone to capture the incident.


    • Liza says:

      And wasn’t it eye contact that started the sequence of events leading to the cop gang murder of Freddie Gray?

  4. Dallas Newton says:

    There are as many Black women tortured and murdered in jails as there are Black men being shot down in the streets; Natasha Mckenna being one of the most gruesome. The silence of the Black community was deafening in her case. Black women’s lives matter also.

    • Dallas, the black community has not been silent about the killing of Natasha McKenna. That’s a lie. We covered it and I see others have covered it. Stop trying to find fault and help cover her too. Do all that you can do. There are so many deaths it’s almost impossible to cover them all. I’m drain from trying to cover each one every 28 hours.

    • Liza says:

      The truth about these killings just isn’t accessible without citizen reporting and social media. It’s getting harder for “law enforcement” to hide the bodies in the streets but what goes on jails is mostly under the radar. That needs to change, of course, and there are signs that it will. But the number of deaths is overwhelming, as SG2 says, and so many are being missed. In addition to deaths, what about folks who are injured or maimed or wrongfully convicted and have their lives stolen in ways other than being killed?

      We don’t even know the depth and breadth of this crisis.

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