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CONTACT: Mandy Simon, [email protected]
 
In the wake of unsubstantiated comments by FBI director James B. Comey suggesting that increased scrutiny of police officers has led to a rise in violent crime, Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:
 
“The assertions made by Director Comey are outrageous. By his own admission, these statements are not backed up by data, and there are mixed reports about levels of crime since the heightened scrutiny of police officers began after the protests in Ferguson.
 
“Rather than making unsubstantiated claims that hinder dialogue and constructive criticism of police practices, what is urgently needed is an official collection and publication of nationwide statistics on the use of force by police.
 
“We also need President Obama and the Department of Justice to support the creation of a national commission to conduct a nationwide review of police use of lethal force laws, policies and training and practices, as well as a thorough review and reform of oversight and accountability mechanisms. These laws, policies and practices must be brought in line with international standards.
 
“We do agree with the director that this data is urgently needed. But until we have this information, it is irresponsible to assign blame and skirt accountability.”
 
Amnesty International USA released a report, Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States, in June calling reform at the state and federal levels to ensure that laws are brought into line with international law and standards.
 
Follow Steven W. Hawkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/StevenWHawkins
 
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people in over 190 countries who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.