Wednesday, November 29, 2023

United States: police and justice plagued by “systemic racism,” according to UN experts

UN experts said on Thursday they had found “systemic racism” against the black community within the US police and judicial systems, highlighting the need for urgent reform.

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For 12 days, the team of the “UN Independent Expert Mechanism to Promote Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Policing”, created after the death of African American George Floyd in 2020, met in April and May with victims, representatives of civil society, the judicial system, police unions, federal and local officials, in Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York.

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Their report, sent to the media on Thursday, highlights the “systemic and deeply rooted racism” against the black community in the United States and states that this “legacy of slavery (…) is spreading among military forces US”. order and system of justice”.

“We have heard dozens of heartbreaking testimonies about how victims are not getting justice or reparation,” one of the experts, Tracie Keesee, said in a statement.

“This is a systemic problem that requires a systemic response. All stakeholders, including police services and police unions, must join forces to combat the prevailing impunity,” he demanded.

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The expert group was created in July 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council, approximately a year after the death of African American George Floyd, murdered on May 25, 2020 by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to investigate accusations of racial discrimination. It motivated police violence around the world.

According to their report, studies have shown that African Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and 4.5 times more likely to be imprisoned.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that the abusive behavior of certain police officers is part of a broader pattern,” observed researcher Juan Méndez.

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“The attitudes of the American police and criminal justice system reflect the attitudes of American society,” he said, emphasizing the “pressing need for comprehensive reform.”

In this sense, the report makes 30 recommendations for the US administration and the 18,000 police departments in the United States.

The expert group calls in particular that in crisis situations, particularly in relation to mental health, homelessness, traffic and school, armed police officers should no longer be the first to automatically be sent to the the place of the scene.

Times of National
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