Police killings of Black Americans amount to crimes against humanity that should be investigated and prosecuted under international law, global human rights experts from 11 countries said in a devastating report.
The 188-page report, compiled by human rights lawyers from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, comes in the wake of the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd and other police killings of Black people in the U.S. Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” after Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
The report was part of an inquiry into the systemic killing and maiming of unarmed African Americans by U.S. police.
“The commissioners find an alarming, national pattern of disproportionate use of deadly force not only by firearms but also by Tasers against people of African descent,” the report said. “Many Black people are killed in broad daylight to intimidate communities and because officers don’t fear accountability.”
For centuries, Black people in the U.S. have consistently called out the effect state violence has, not only on marginalized communities but society as a whole.
The killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor strengthened the Black Lives Matter protest movement across the U.S. and reignited efforts to call out the police and other U.S. institutions for perpetrating or supporting violence towards Black people.
The human rights report called these killings “police murders” and called on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to open an immediate investigation with a view to prosecutions.
Disproportionate use of excessive force by police led to the deaths of 43 Black people in the cases examined, according to the report.
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“This finding of crimes against humanity was not given lightly, we included it with a very clear mind,” said Hina Jilani, one of the 12 commissioners who led the inquiry, according to the Guardian. “We examined all the facts and concluded that that there are situations in the U.S. that beg the urgent scrutiny of the ICC.”
Experts also said that cis- and transgender Black women, girls, and femmes are disproportionately killed by police in the U.S.
This is the list of commissioners named in the report: