News Release

International Commission Charges that U.S. Police Violence is Torture

KERRY McLEAN, kerrymclean@gmail.com
McLean is an international human rights lawyer and the spokesperson for the Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence, which just released their extensive report [PDF].

The commission was set up by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, and National Lawyers Guild “to examine whether widespread and systematic racist violence in policing against people of African descent” in the U.S. constitutes violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The report finds “a pattern and practice of racist police violence in the U.S. in the context of a history of oppression dating back to the extermination of First Nations peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the militarization of U.S. society, and the continued perpetuation of structural racism.”

These conclusions were drawn by twelve Commissioners — judges, lawyers, professors and experts from Pakistan, South Africa, Barbados, Japan, India, Nigeria, France, Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, the United Kingdom, and Jamaica — who held public hearings from January 18 to February 6, 2021.

The Commissioners “find violations of the rights to: life, security, freedom from torture, freedom from discrimination, mental health, access to remedies for violations, fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to be treated with humanity and respect. … The Commissioners find that U.S. laws and police practices do not comply with the international standards on the use of force, which require legal basis, legitimate objective, necessity, precautions, proportionality, protection of life, non-discrimination, and accountability. …

“Many Black people are killed in broad daylight to intimidate communities and because officers don’t fear accountability.”