United Nations Expresses Concern over Grand Jury Acquittals of Police Accused of Killings of African Americans

police brutality

In 2012, there was an angry demonstration in Dallas, Texas when police shot and killed James Harper.

Harper, an African American, was shot dead at drug house in the 5300 block of Bourquin Street while, according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, police were responding to a kidnapping call.

These kinds of scenes have dominated headlines in recent weeks after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, opted to absolve a white police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager.

The disturbance over the killing in Missouri was followed by more rioting after a grand jury in New York, decided not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man, in July 2014.

In the wake of the two decisions United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the United States to do “anything possible to respond to demands of greater accountability.”

“We are obviously aware of what is going on here in our backyard,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric responding to questions at a briefing at UN Headquarters. He said the Secretary-General’s thoughts were with the families of Mr. Garner, a Staten Island resident, and the people of New York.

“I think the case is again focusing on the attention of accountability of law enforcement officials,” he added, welcoming an announcement by the US Justice Department that it was opening a civil rights investigation in the case.

After the grand jury decision in Ferguson UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, expressed concern.

“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row,” he said.

Pointing to Article 9 of the UN’s Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Mr. Zeid said police officers were called upon to “not use firearms against persons except in self-defense or defense of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.”

The deaths in Missouri and New York highlighted America’s record of police officers killing African American males on the global stage.

Earlier this year a study by the Public Religion Research Institute found Americans of all backgrounds believe the US criminal justice system has become increasingly racist.

If you believe you have been wrongly arrested or your rights have been curtailed by law enforcement officers, you should contact an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney.

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