Heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons ‘more appropriate for a battlefield’ used by police
Federal government should set up commission to investigate policing crisis
‘Racism and white supremacy are fuelling these killings and the police response to the protests’ - Rachel Ward
Reacting to heavy-handed, militarised policing in response to protests in several US cities this weekend following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, Rachel Ward, National Director of Research at Amnesty International USA, said:
“In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force.
“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable.
“US police across the country are failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters.
“Police must engage in de-escalation, before the situation worsens.”
A police officer who was sacked following footage showing him pinning George Floyd to the floor with his knee despite Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe, has - after a delay of several days - now been arrested and charged with Floyd’s murder.
Rachel Ward added:
“Racism and white supremacy are fuelling these killings and the police response to the protests.
“President Trump must end his violent and discriminatory rhetoric and policies, and the US government - at all levels - must ensure the right to protest as guaranteed by international law.”
Police use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons and equipment to patrol largely peaceful demonstrations may intimidate protesters who are practising their right to peaceful assembly. These tactics can lead to an escalation in violence.
Rachel Ward said:
“The police must de-militarise their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organisers to reduce tensions and prevent violence, or to stop it as soon as it breaks out, to protect the right to peaceful assembly.
“All unnecessary or excessive force must cease immediately, and all instances of potentially excessive or unnecessary force against protesters must be investigated. Any officers who broke the law must be held accountable.”
Amnesty is urging the federal government and US cities and states to act swiftly and meaningfully to address the root cause of these protests and take immediate measures to stop unlawful killings of black people and others by police, including:
Notes to editors:
Additional research and statements from Amnesty International USA on policing, the right to protest and developments in Minneapolis, can be found below:
End of statement.
Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."
"Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable."
— Amnesty International statement
The big picture: The National Guard mobilized and curfews were imposed in several states after clashes between police and demonstrators protesting the May 25 death of George Floyd and other black people who've died in police custody.
Zoom in: Authorities fired tear gas again Saturday during clashes with protesters in Minneapolis, where demonstrations entered a fifth day.
Of note: Georgetown Law professor Paul Butler, author of "Chokehold: Policing Black Men," noted the reactions of some police this week were different to the response to demonstrations against coronavirus restrictionsin Michigan last month.
Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.
This is a time to unite the people, to containment their eager, and to relax the situation with solutions: cash, free the millions of non violence people from U.S. jail, establish nationwide free health care and minimum income, and start restore peace among all the citizens of USA.
Race Riots, 1900-1960
Robert Charles Riot (New Orleans), 1900
New York City Race Riot, 1900
Atlanta Race Riot, 1906
Springfield, Illinois Race Riot, 1908
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Chester, Pennsylvania Race Riot, 1917
Houston Mutiny and Race Riot, 1917
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Race Riot, 1918
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Washington, D.C. Riot, 1919
Chicago Race Riot, 1919
Knoxville Race Riot, 1919
Elaine, Arkansas Riot, 1919
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Rosewood Massacre, 1923
Harlem Race Riot, 1935
Beaumont Race Riot, 1943
Detroit Race Riot, 1943
Columbia Race Riot, 1946
Urban Uprisings, 1960-2000
Cambridge, Maryland Riot, 1963
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Rochester Rebellion, 1964
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Elizabeth, New Jersey Uprising, 1964
Chicago (Dixmoor) Riots, 1964
Philadelphia Race Riot, 1964
Watts Rebellion (Los Angeles), 1965
Cleveland’s Hough Riots, 1966
Chicago, Illinois Uprising, 1966
The Dayton, Ohio Uprising, 1966
Hunter’s Point, San Francisco Uprising, 1966
The Nashville Race Riot, 1967
Newark Race Riot, 1967
Plainfield, New Jersey Riot, 1967
Detroit Race Riot, 1967
Flint, Michigan Riot, 1967
Tuscon Race Riot, 1967
Grand Rapids, Michigan Uprising, 1967
The King Assassination Riots, 1968
Hartford, Connecticut Riot, 1969
Asbury Park Race Riot, 1970
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Miami (Liberty City) Riot, 1980
Crown Heights (Brooklyn) New York Riot, 1991
Rodney King Riot, 1992
West Las Vegas Riot, 1992
St. Petersburg, Florida Riot, 1996
College Campus Violence
University of Georgia Desegregation Riot, 1961
Ole Miss Riot, 1962
Houston (Texas Southern University) Riot, 1967
Orangeburg Massacre, 1968
Jackson State Killings, 1970
21st Century Racial Violence
Cincinnati Riot, 2001
Oscar Grant Oakland Protests, 2009-2011
Ferguson Riot and Ferguson Unrest, 2014-2015
Baltimore Protests and Riots, 2015
Charleston Church Massacre, 2015
Milwaukee Riot, 2016
Charlotte Riot, 2016
Jackson State Killings, 1970