• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Statement Following Declaration of State of Emergency in St. Louis

August 10, 2015

The following can be attributed to Jamira Burley, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA:

“We call on all law enforcement agencies to facilitate and not restrict the right to peaceful protest and assembly, and to take all necessary measures to prevent the unnecessary or excessive use of force.

“Officers have the right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the public, but in doing so, they must act with restraint and in accordance with international standards. Force should only be used when nonviolent means have been exhausted or proven ineffective, and lethal force should only be used in situations where it is necessary to protect life.

“We are monitoring the events in Ferguson and the St. Louis area closely, and urge the authorities to take an approach that leads to de-escalation. They should avoid threatening appearance or behavior, inappropriate equipment, and arbitrary arrests. Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate to a battlefield may suggest that conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions and placing people at further risk. Furthermore, the use of so-called ‘less lethal’ weapons like tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades can cause serious injury and even death.”

Amnesty International USA’s October 2014 report “On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson” can be found here.

The June 2015 report “Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States” can be found here.