• Press Release

Executive Order on Police Does Not Address Problems in the Criminal Justice System

February 9, 2017

President Trump today signed an executive order calling for new federal penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers. Amnesty International USA issued the following statement from campaigner Noor Mir:

“Law enforcement officers face unique hardships and challenges due to the nature of their work. Authorities are already able to vigorously prosecute crimes against law enforcement officers, and there is no history to suggest that officers are not fully protected by current laws. This order will not protect anyone, and instead it creates additional penalties that could cause people to be significantly over-prosecuted for offenses including resisting arrest. 

“This order does nothing to address real and serious problems in the U.S. criminal justice system. Relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve could instead be improved by investing in reform of the criminal justice system and better training for officers. Police already have laws protecting them, but there is no federal standard for the prosecution of officers who unlawfully kill civilians. Implementing a standard for lethal force in line with international standards will protect both police and civilians.”

Currently, all 50 states already have laws that make it a serious crime to assault or kill a law enforcement officer. No states have laws that meet international standards on the use of lethal force. Federal law requires the death penalty – which Amnesty International opposes in all circumstances — or a life sentence for killing a federal officer, and imposes a death or life sentence for killing a local officer involved in a federal investigation.