Amnesty International: U.S. Must End Militarized Response To Protests
Axios reports that Amnesty International issued a statement urging “for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of ‘excessive force’” against protesters.
The human rights group called out police for “failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest” and warned they were “endangering the lives of protesters.”
Since protests broke out over George Floyd's death and “other black people who’ve died in police custody,” the National Guard has mobilized and curfews were instated in several states.
Officers have used restraint, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets among other devices against protesters and even journalists.
New York City, Las Vegas, Columbus, Seattle, Denver, Miami and Tampa Bay are some of the cities where reports of excessive force have surfaced.
Amnesty International said in a statement: "Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable."
As demonstrations escalate, Georgetown Law Professor Paul Butler points out the difference in police response to the demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions in Michigan in April.
"Unarmed people, many of whom are people of color, protest police brutality and are met with police brutality — flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets," he told Vox. "But when armed, mainly white protesters storm the Michigan state capitol, the police just let them be."
President Trump praised the police’s response to protesters, deeming the latter as “THUGS.” NYPD Chief Terence Monahan and Mayor Bill de Blasio made statements condemning the escalation with the former stating, “When violent individuals throw bottles, rocks, and cause serious injuries to our officers — we will make arrests."
However, Fraternal Order of Police national president Patrick Yoes said in response to Floyd’s death, "We know what happens in communities when police officers lose the respect and trust of the public they protect." He stressed the importance of “[regaining] that trust by continuing to hold ourselves to the highest possible standard in a transparent way."