AIUSA Letter to Attorney General Urges Push for Passage of End Racial Profiling Act, in Response to Trayvon Martin Killing

Press Release
July 18, 2013

AIUSA Letter to Attorney General Urges Push for Passage of End Racial Profiling Act, in Response to Trayvon Martin Killing

Human Rights Organization Also Urges Study of "Stand Your Ground" Laws

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @AIUSAmedia

(NEW YORK) – Amnesty International today called on Attorney General Eric Holder to take action to address the disparate treatment of minorities and racial profiling in law enforcement and in society at large. The organization called on the U.S. government to throw its full weight behind passage of the End Racial Profiling Act and urged the Justice Department to initiate a study of "Stand Your Ground" laws based on its concern these laws may encourage "deadly force where unwarranted."

Amnesty International is mobilizing its one million supporters online in the United States to contact their representatives in Congress to support the End Racial Profiling Act.

In a letter to Holder, Amnesty International said it welcomed his decision to investigate the Martin case to determine whether civil rights violations had occurred that could be prosecuted at the federal level.

"We urge that the investigation make a thorough examination of all the circumstances in the case," said the letter. "It remains deeply disturbing that Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was perceived as an intruder - leading ultimately to his being shot minutes later - after doing nothing more than returning from a shop while visiting his father in a gated community."

Addressing the concern about "Stand Your Ground" laws, Amnesty also noted that, "racial stereotyping of African-American youth may have played a role in the initial failure by police and prosecutors to file charges or conduct a proper investigation."

While the actions of private citizens are beyond the scope of the ERPA, the adoption of the law nationwide would aid awareness of discrimination and profiling in communities at large, Amnesty said.

Thenjiwe McHarris, Amnesty International USA senior campaigner, said: "The entrenched discrimination that pervades U.S. society at all levels must be acknowledged and addressed as a matter of urgency. The persistent failure to seriously address these human rights issues has grave consequences which disproportionately impact young people of color."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.