Amnesty International Joins Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality

Press Release
August 14, 2014

Amnesty International Joins Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality

Activists Come Together As U.N. Reviews U.S. Record on Race

Contact: Amanda Simon, asimon@aiusa.org, (212) 633-4162, @AIUSAmedia

(NEW YORK) – Today Amnesty International USA will join grassroots activists across the country to mark the deaths of victims of police brutality with a moment of silence at 7:20 p.m. EDT. In the last several weeks, the deaths of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old from Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner, a father of six from Staten Island, NY, at the hands of police have refocused national attention on race and policing. Both were unarmed black men. Protests in Ferguson have continued since Brown's death on Saturday, with police engaged in heavy-handed crowd control tactics including tear gas and rubber bullets.

"Law enforcement, from the FBI to state and local police, are obligated to respect and uphold the human rights of our communities," said Amnesty International USA's executive director, Steven W. Hawkins. "The U.S. cannot continue to allow those obligated and duty-bound to protect to become those who their community fears most."

As events continue in Ferguson, today, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations continued its review of the United States' record on race. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has heard from U.S. representatives on how they're working to end racial bias in this country, frequently raising concerns reflected in Amnesty International USA's shadow report, and the many other shadow reports submitted by non-governmental organizations to the committee.

"While the country's record on racial discrimination is debated on a global stage at the U.N. this week, communities across the U.S. are observing a moment of silence to acknowledge the problem of police brutality. Now is the time for decisive action to end unnecessary and excessive force by police and its divisive effect on our communities. There can be no ambiguity about when a police officer is allowed to take a life," Hawkins said.

"We must make it clear to authorities at the federal state and local level – and to the rest of the world – that we won't stand for the death of one more black man at the hands of police."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members 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.