Geen enkel Amerikaanse staat voldoet aan de internationale standaarden in verband met het gebruik van politiegeweld. Dat zegt Amnesty International vandaag in een nieuw rapport.
Het rapport Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States bevat enkele schokkende bevindingen:
“De politie heeft de fundamentele plicht mensenlevens te beschermen. Dodelijk geweld moet absoluut het laatste zijn waarnaar de politie grijpt,” zegt Steven W. Hawkins van Amnesty International USA.
“Het verontrust ons zeer dat er geen enkele Amerikaanse staat is wiens wetgeving in lijn is met deze standaard. Hervormingen zijn nodig en wel onmiddellijk. Er staan levens op het spel.”
Lees meer in het Engelstalig persbericht:
The report is based on a review of the use of force statutes within the USA. Amnesty International reviewed relevant US Supreme Court decisions, the Department of Justice guidelines on the use of deadly force, and available statistical data, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
In addition to finding that all state laws are overly broad and fail to meet international standards by allowing for police to use lethal force in a wide range of circumstances, the report finds that 13 states also fail to meet the lower standards set by US constitutional law on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have no laws on the use of lethal force (Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming).
The report also found that none of the states’ statutes on the use of lethal force include provisions on accountability mechanisms.
At present, there are no comprehensive national statistics tracking deaths or injuries at the hands of the police in the USA. Estimates of people killed annually by law enforcement around the country range from 400 to 1,000.
According to the limited government data available, African Americans are disproportionately affected by the use of lethal force. The African American population of the USA is 13% but makes up 27% of those killed by law enforcement.
The report calls for the Department of Justice to collect and publish statistics and data on police shootings and to sort the data by race, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity and indigenous status.
“A nationwide review of lethal force laws, policies and training is urgently needed,” said Steven W. Hawkins.
“We are calling on the President and the Department of Justice to create a national task force to carry out this review and institute comprehensive reforms, including of oversight and accountability mechanisms. If the United States is to comply with its international legal obligations on human rights, these policies must be brought in line with international law and standards.”