• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Sends Human Rights Observers to Baltimore

April 29, 2015

BALTIMORE, MD – Amnesty International USA is sending a human rights observer delegation to Baltimore today to observe police and protester activity in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The delegation will be monitoring compliance with human rights standards for the policing of protests.

"We are calling on the police in Baltimore to exercise restraint, and to ensure that peaceful protesters can assemble and the media can do its job without undue interference,” said Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins. “Confronting protestors in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put law enforcement in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible.

“Our delegation of independent human rights observers will be seeking to ensure that police protect the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and that only the minimal amount of force necessary is employed if violence occurs. Excessive force, such as tear gas, should not be used to curtail the rights of a non-violent majority in order to quell the acts of a few.”

On April 28, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to the Baltimore Police Department to express concern over the death of Freddie Gray and the use of tear gas at protests demanding accountability for his death.

For a list of best practices on the policing of protests with respect for human rights, as identified by Amnesty International, please see the following: www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/GoodPracticesForLawEnforcementForPolicingDemonstrations.pdf