• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Calls for Approval of Civilian Board to Oversee St. Louis Police

April 17, 2015

WASHINGTON- Amnesty International USA calls for the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to establish a Civilian Oversight Board that would evaluate police shootings, as well as broader police practices.

The civilian review board was proposed in the wake of the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent Department of Justice investigation. While the DOJ did not press charges against Wilson, the report found that the Ferguson Police Department violated individuals' Fourth Amendment rights and exhibited racial bias when it stopped people without reasonable suspicion, arrested them without probable cause, and used unreasonable force against them. Alderman Terry Kennedy filed Bill 208 calling for the formation of a police civilian oversight board.

“The DOJ report showed that the Ferguson police force was more concerned about generating revenue through unfair fines and tickets than they were with protecting the lives of the people they were sworn to serve,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “This legislation would be an important step in ensuring appropriate systems of oversight. It is critical that reforms at the national level follow suit, including guidelines for using deadly force in the U.S. that are in line with international standards.”

If approved, the civilian review board would have the ability to investigate allegations of police misconduct; research and assess police policies, operations and procedures; and make findings and recommendations. The board could also independently review evidence and witness statements from investigations by police internal affairs. All findings will be reported to the city’s public safety director and police commissioner.

To read On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson, go to: amnestyusa.org/OnTheStreetsOfAmerica