SECTION 5-  SYSTEMIC RACIST VIOLENCE IN POLICING AGAINST PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT IN THE UNITED STATES HAS RESULTED IN A PATTERN OF GROSS AND RELIABLY ATTESTED VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

 

I. INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW GUARANTEES HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS TO PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT IN THE UNITED STATES

 

  1. The United States of America (United States) is required by International Human Rights Law to guarantee to all people within its jurisdiction, including people of African descent, human rights and fundamental freedoms. These include the right to life; the right not to be subject to extrajudicial killing (arbitrary deprivation of life); the right to security; the right to freedom from arbitrary detention; the right to a fair trial and presumption of innocence; the right to be free from torture; the right to equality and freedom from discrimination based on race, gender, disability or status as a child; and the right to mental health. Countries have duties to effectively prevent, punish, and redress violations of these rights, and to thoroughly and independently investigate and provide effective remedies.

 

  1. In 1949, four years after the founding of the United Nations system, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).[1] The document is a milestone that enshrines a universal set of standards of achievements for all people and all nations. It sets forth, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The U.S. played a critical role in the drafting and adoption of the UDHR. Indeed, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped create the document. It sets forth two kinds of human rights: (1) civil and political rights and (2) economic, social, and cultural rights. These rights were later codified in two binding treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

 

  1. The United States has ratified three of the most important human rights treaties that protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Black people in the United States in the context of policing. They are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);[2] the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT);[3] and, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).[4] The provisions of treaties the U.S. has ratified are part of U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.[5]

 

  1. A number of other critical human rights treaties and instruments that have been universally accepted or ratified by the overwhelming number of countries also guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms to people of African descent in the United States. For a detailed examination of International Human Rights Law relating to the rights and freedoms of people of African descent in the United States in the context of policing, see Appendix II to this Report.
  1. The protection of the above-mentioned rights as applied to law enforcement officers are primarily codified in the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials [6](Code of Conduct) and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials of 1990 (UN Basic Principles).[7]
  1. The Code of Conduct was created by the UN General Assembly and it states specifically that in the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons (Art. 2). Its provisions are designed to ensure that where force may have to be used to protect life, protection of human rights must guide the actions of law enforcement officials. The Code of Conduct includes, among other duties, the obligation of law enforcement officials to secure medical attention for people in their custody, and the duty of law enforcement officials to report violations of the Code of Conduct to their superiors.
  1. Both the Code of Conduct and the UN Basic Principles are built around the protection of human rights and providing effective remedies when violated. The UN Basic Principles will be examined in Section 6.

 

II. SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

 

Violation of the Right to Life

“The right to life is a fundamental human right without which all other rights would have no meaning.[8]

“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”—Article 6(1) of the ICCPR

 

  1. The right to life must be protected without discrimination of any kind. The U.S. must effectively investigate and punish violations of the right to life, and ensure that the investigation of a potential unlawful death is independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, effective, credible, and transparent.[9]

 

  1. All of the cases heard by the Commissioners in which Black people were killed exhibited the arbitrary deprivation of the right to life in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT); and, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  Every case in one form or another showcased arbitrary deprivation of life in the failure of the police to conform their practices to the UN Basic Principles for the use of force by law enforcement.

 

  1. The Commissioners found a pattern of police killings wherein regardless of the context of the encounter, the overriding driver of these killings stemmed from and was reflective of systemic racism. Whether in the context of stop-and-frisks, traffic stops, alleged drug raids, or other types of encounters of questionable legal basis, the common denominator in all of these cases is the unwarranted use of deadly force that evinced a disregard for Black life and the consequences of taking Black life. This is the very essence of the arbitrary deprivation of life, and has implications for the principle of non-discrimination.

 

  1. The Commissioners found that Black people who had no reason to be approached by law enforcement—going about their day, in their homes, walking in their communities, or driving in their cars—were approached by law enforcement and their lives senselessly taken in violation of their rights under international law. These arbitrary killings were unjust, unpredictable, done without due process of law, and in violation of the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.  The Commissioners’ findings thus accord with the findings of the Brookings Institution that “Black people are 3.5 times more likely than white people to be killed by police when Blacks are not attacking or do not have a weapon.”[10]

 

  1. Moreover, as discussed under the Use of Force standards on accountability in Section 6 of this Report, the Commissioners found a gross violation of the right to proper investigations and accountability. The Commissioners note that national statistics show that only one percent of police killings in 2020 resulted in officer convictions.[11]

 

Violation of the Right to Liberty and Security

  1. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[12] and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination[13] guarantee the rights to liberty and security of person, meaning that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention, and that all have a right to protection by the State against violence or bodily harm inflicted by government officials or by any individual group or institution. Children cannot be deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily.[14]

 

  1. The Commission found a pattern of gross violations of the right to security of Black victims of police violence, as well as their families and communities. Specifically, the Commissioners found a pattern of police killings of Black people after violations of their Fourth Amendment rights, which violated their right under international law to be free from arbitrary arrest or detention, as well as their right to be free of bodily harm. Further, the Commission found a pattern of racial targeting of people of African descent for arbitrary arrest or detention through discriminatory patterns of policing predicated on racially biased and disproportionate traffic and investigatory stops as well as other forms of “order maintenance.” Beyond the pattern of police killings of people of African descent, such widespread surveillance and criminalization of Black communities—consistent with the findings of a recent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report[15]—violates Black communities’ rights to be free of arbitrary arrest or detention. Further, police targeting deprives Black communities of access to the social goods of secure and safe communities. The Commissioners heard testimony that reasonable and widespread distrust of the police is such that community members do not call the police when they require assistance, for fear of targeting.

 

Violation of the Right to a Fair Trial and Presumption of Innocence

 

  1. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[16] guarantees the right to a fair trial by an impartial tribunal and the presumption of innocence. When a suspect is deprived of life in the absence of lawful self-defense or judicial process, such deprivation constitutes an unlawful extrajudicial killing.

 

  1. As previously noted in connection with the Right to Life, and the international law principles governing Use of Force and Non-Discrimination, the Commissioners found a pattern of state-sanctioned extrajudicial killing of people of African descent by police. Moreover, as previously noted, the Commissioners found a clear pattern of state-sanctioned criminalization of Black people through targeted policing of Black communities permitted by U.S. law. Specifically, the Commissioners found a pattern of “pretextual traffic stops” and noted that such stops “are a common precursor to police killings and uses of excessive force against people of African descent.” Such extrajudicial killings and racial targeting in violation of the Right to Life, and principles of Use of Force, and Non-Discrimination also amount to violations of the Right to a Fair Trial and Presumption of Innocence. Indeed, extrajudicial killings per se violate the Right to a Fair Trial and Presumption of Innocence. Similarly, the racial targeting and criminalization of Black communities violate the Right to the Presumption of Innocence as people of African descent are presumed guilty in the absence of

 

Violation of the Non-Discrimination Requirement

 

  1. The requirement of non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of International Human Rights Law from which no exemption is allowed. The non-discrimination requirement includes the prohibition on discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and status as child, among other grounds. The right to non-discrimination is enshrined in the ICCPR and the ICERD, as well as all other human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (See Appendix 2).

 

  1. In the context of policing, the non-discrimination requirement means that, “[s]tates must…adopt a both reactive and proactive stance encompassing all available means, to combat racially motivated and other similar violence within law enforcement operations.”[17]
  1. The Commissioners found a pattern of race-based discrimination in the use of deadly force in violation of the right to freedom from discrimination. Specifically, the Commissioners noted, “Half of the people shot and killed by law enforcement are white, but Black people are shot at a disproportionate rate.[18] They further noted, “Although Black people account for less than 13% of the U.S. population, they are killed by police at over twice the rate of whites.” Moreover, the Commissioners found that “the disproportionate use of excessive force by police against Black people pervaded the 44 cases examined by Commissioners.” This finding is consistent with the 2018 report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), “Police Violence Against Afro-Descendants in the U.S.,” which described a “pattern of use of excessive force against persons of color”[19] and concluded that “racial bias forms the backbone of many problems of police abuse, overrepresentation of African-Americans in arrests and in the prison system, and unequal access to justice, as well as wider issues of racialized poverty and unequal access to economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights in the U.S.”[20]
  1. Discrimination against people of African descent in the U.S. is not only demonstrated by the disproportionate number of killings of Black people, but also in the racial profiling, pretextual traffic stops, order maintenance policing, and police violence against people of African descent in the U.S. CERD defines racial profiling as “the practice of police and other law enforcement relying, to any degree, on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as the basis for subjecting persons to investigatory activities or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity.” It can also be based on “intersecting grounds such as religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and age.” Racial profiling “is not motivated by objective criteria or reasonable justification.”  It can manifest itself “through a behaviour or acts such as arbitrary stops, searches, identity checks, investigations, and arrests.”[21]

 

  1. Specifically, the Commissioners’ finding that “that use of force against unarmed people of African descent during traffic and investigatory stops is driven by racial stereotypes and racial biases” and “U.S. law enforcement agencies routinely target people of African descent based on racist associations between Blackness and criminality,” constitute separate and independent violations of the right to nondiscrimination. The findings of the Commissioners are consistent with national data for 2020: “Black people were more likely to be killedby police, more likely to be unarmedand less likely to be threatening someone when killed,”[22] based on national statistics that Black people form 13% of the national population while accounting for  27% of victims of police killing, 35% of the unarmed people killed by police, and 36% of people alleged to be unarmed and unthreatening.[23]

 

  1. The Commissioners found violations of the right to non-discrimination for the killings of Black people with mental illness, in violation of Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[24] and Article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[25]

 

  1. The Commissioners found violations of the right to non-discrimination against cis- and transgender Black women, girls, and femmes in violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.[26] Patterns of such unlawful discrimination in the use of force substantiated by the findings of the Commissioners were consistent with the data showing, “[T]he risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for individuals with untreated mental illness than for other civilians approached or stopped by officers”[27] and “cis- and transgender Black women, girls, and femmes are disproportionately killed[28] by police in the United States.[29]

 

Violations of the Prohibition against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

  1. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.[30] The Convention on the Rights of the Child also prohibits torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in Article 37. Law enforcement officials may not invoke superior orders as a defense to a charge of torture, as stated in Article 5 of the Code of Conduct.

 

  1. UNCAT, Article 1 defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person…based on discrimination of any kind…by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” Article 2.2 of UNCAT allows for no circumstances or emergencies where torture is permitted. UNCAT, in Article 16, also prohibits other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The distinction between torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment “primarily results from the intensity of the suffering inflicted.”[31]
  2. UNCAT mandates that States Parties adopt effective measures to prevent and remedy torture in any territory under the State’s jurisdiction.[32] In 2014, the Committee Against Torture (CAT), which interprets UNCAT and monitors implementation by States Parties, addressed racism and violent acts of torture in policing against Black people in the U.S. CAT was “concerned about numerous reports of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials,” particularly against individuals “belonging to certain racial and ethnic groups,” immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals.[33]

 

  1. The Commissioners’ findings are consistent with violations of the international prohibition against torture by the use of Tasers, compression asphyxia, lateral vascular neck restraint (chokehold), rough rides, and vehicular techniques that caused victims to be chased down in fear for their lives before ultimately being killed. Specifically, the Commissioners’ findings that police use of restraints–resulting in killings where Black victims were choked, suffocated, or crushed over a period of several minutes, often while begging for their lives—amount to “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” by government actors “based on discrimination.” The national data and the Commissioners’ findings regarding a discriminatory pattern of targeting persons of African descent support this conclusion.

 

  1. Similarly, the Commissioners’ finding of a pattern of unlawful and excessive force against people of African descent through infliction of chokeholds and compression asphyxiation, by either kneeling or standing on victims, and by cuffing victims, supports a finding of torture as to the restraint-related cases heard by the Commissioners.

 

  1. The local practices of the Baltimore Police Department’s widespread use of rough rides, and the use of vehicles to kill and maim people of African descent in Washington, DC by the Metropolitan Police Department, constitute discriminatory practices by government officials causing “severe pain or suffering” amount to torture prohibited by UNCAT.

 

Taser Use May Be Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

 

  1. In 2020, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued the “The Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement.”[34] in which it warned that Taser use may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in certain circumstances. The Guidance states in para. 7.4.11 that Tasers should not be used to overcome purely passive resistance to the instructions of an official by inflicting pain. Repeated use of tasering “should be avoided whenever possible.”

 

  1. In its 2014 observations on U.S. reports, CAT stated that it was “appalled” by the number of deaths reported as a result of using electrical discharge weapons (Tasers).[35] CAT recommended that the U.S. “ensure that electrical discharge weapons are used exclusively in extreme and limited situations – where there is a real and immediate threat to life or risk of serious injury – as a substitute for lethal weapons and by trained law enforcement personnel only.” In addition, CAT recommended that the U.S. “revise the regulations governing the use of such weapons with a view to establishing a high threshold for their use and expressly prohibiting their use on children and pregnant women.” Significantly, CAT said it was “of the view that the use of electrical discharge weapons should be subject to the principles of necessity and proportionality.”[36]

 

  1. The Commissioners’ findings regarding particular cases of Taser use, and its nationwide, disproportionate application to people of African descent supports a finding of torture by the use of Tasers in the cases heard by the Commissioners.

 

Violations of the Right to Mental Health

  1. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,[37] in Article 12, guarantees “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities[38] provides in Article 5: “States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.”

 

  1. The Commissioners found the police violated the right to mental health of Black people experiencing mental health crises. National data establishes that, “[T]he risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for individuals with untreated mental illness than for other civilians approached or stopped by officers.”[39] Moreover, the overwhelming weight of the testimonies before the Commissioners was consistent with nationwide data that establish the police should not be the first responders for Black people experiencing mental health crises, as “police are more likely to approach African-American mentally ill persons as criminal subjects rather than as people having health problems,”[40] according to Expert Witness Michael Avery. Such findings of the Commissioners and relevant data thus substantiate the conclusion that the rights of people of African descent to mental health is violated by police violence.

 

  1. Further, a finding of violations of the Right to Mental Health is supported by national data on Killings of Persons with Mental Health Issues in the Mapping Police Violence database showing that approximately eight percent of police killings involve a person experiencing a mental health crisis, 46.1% of which are persons of African descent.[41]

 

III. SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF THE DUTIES TO INVESTIGATE AND ENSURE EFFECTIVE REMEDIES

 

Violations of the Duty to Investigate

 

  1. States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) must ensure that investigations in all cases of potentially unlawful deaths are independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, transparent, and effective.[42] UNCAT imposes upon States Parties the obligation to ensure the prompt, impartial investigation of allegations of torture, protection of complainants and victims, compensation and rehabilitation for victims and, in the case of death, compensation for dependents.[43]

 

  1. The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (UN Investigation Principles)[44] reflect a global consensus on the standards required for the investigation of potentially unlawful deaths. They require a thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions (Article 9); independence and impartiality of those conducting autopsies (Article 14); and government action to bring justice to persons identified by the investigation as having taken part in extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions (Article 18).

 

  1. In case after case, the Commissioners found evidence of an alarming pattern of manipulation of evidence, cover-ups, and obstruction of justice. The Commissioners found collusion between various arms of law enforcement, including police officers and their unions, prosecutors, coroners and “independent medical examiners.” Relatedly, the Commissioners found a troubling  pattern of the creation of false narratives and smear campaigns directed at victims and their families. Specifically, the Commissioners note prosecutors who work closely with officers are the ones who present police misconduct cases to the grand jury, raising a systemic conflict of interest in violation of the principle of impartial investigation. Further, the Commissioners found evidence of a pattern of complicity in official cover-ups by state examiners and experts who are required to make independent findings. Additionally, the Commissioners heard evidence of official procedures that invited such obstruction and manipulation by subjecting police suspects to protocols whereby the crime scene is not secured and officers are permitted additional time before giving a statement to confer with their police union and colleagues to generate agreed-upon narratives. When investigations were conducted, the Commissioners found that police forces engaged in a pattern of destruction, loss, and manipulation of evidence, and obstruction of  justice in connection with the unjustified killings of unarmed persons of African descent, including a process by which officers cover up for each other in a practice known as the “blue wall of silence.”

 

  1. Taken together, such findings support the Commissioners’ broader finding of systemic violations of the rights of people of African descent to impartial and independent investigations and non-discriminatory access to effective remedies for violations.

 

  1. Further, the Commissioners find systemic violation of the right to effective investigations regarding Black victims of police killings. Specifically, the Commissioners found, “After police officers brutally murder and torture Black people, the tragedy is compounded by the systemic impunity the officers enjoy.” Such a finding was consistent with national data that only one percent of police killings in 2020 resulted in officer convictions.[45] While such findings and data suggest a pattern of impunity in violation of  the principle of Accountability as to the Use of Excessive Force, as previously discussed, they also constitute a systemic violation of the duty to conduct effective investigations.

 

Violations of the Duty to Ensure Effective Remedies for Violations

 

  1. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT); and, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) all require States Parties to ensure effective remedies for violations of the fundamental freedoms and human rights guaranteed in those treaties, which may require changes in relevant U.S. laws and practices.[46]

 

  1. The right to remedies must be determined by competent legal authorities and must be enforced. (ICCPR Article 2). States Parties must assure effective protection and remedies, through State institutions, against any act of discrimination that violates human rights and fundamental freedoms, and must ensure the right to seek reparation for any damage suffered as a result of discrimination. (ICERD Article 6) State Parties must ensure that victims of torture and their dependents have a right to redress and compensation. (UNCAT Article 14). State Parties must keep rules and practices to prevent cases of torture under systemic review. (UNCAT Article 11).

 

  1. The Commissioners heard testimony that establishes a gross violation of the duty to ensure effective remedies for violations of the right to life and other fundamental freedoms and human rights of people of African descent in the U.S. The Commissioners concluded, “The brutalization of Black people is compounded by the impunity afforded to offending police officers, most of whom are never charged with a crime. Those who do face charges are invariably acquitted or escape time in custody.” Such lack of accountability was evidenced by the very few cases Commissioners heard in which prosecution was initiated. As the Commissioners noted, the reasons for such lack of accountability range from prosecutors’ conflicts of interest in prosecuting police officers who are effectively their colleagues, the influence of police unions, the departure from standard grand jury procedure to benefit officers, and bias against Black victims in favor of police killers by not only prosecutors and police unions. but also by coroners, investigators. and the internal review board charged with disciplining officers.

 

  1. The Commissioners also noted the lack of independent and impartial review of police killings, including the absence of judicial review of the virtually unlimited discretion of prosecutors. The Commissioners further noted that the failure to remedy gross police misconduct amounts to condoning repeated instances of brutality that ultimately culminates in use of deadly force. The Commissioners further found “qualified immunity amounted to condonation of brutal police violence against persons of African descent, and created a culture of impunity whereby offenders were not held accountable, and families were left without redress.”

 

IV. SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF DUTIES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT

 

Violations of the Duty to Seek Medical Attention

 

  1. The Code of Conduct[47] sets forth the duty of law enforcement officials to secure medical attention for people in their custody. Article 6 states, “Law enforcement officials shall ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required.” Law enforcement officials have a duty “to the best of their capability, prevent and rigorously oppose any violations” of the Code, under Article 8.

 

  1. As the Commissioners found, however, in 13 of the 44 cases they heard, police denial of or failure to obtain timely medical attention contributed to the deaths. In many cases, police actively prevented medical treatment from being administered. Further, in all of the mental health cases the Commissioners heard where victims and their families made mental health calls, the police responded rather than trained medical professionals. This amounts to a per se violation of the duty to secure medical attention for Black people.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] G.A. Res. 217 (III) A, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 9 (Dec. 10, 1948).

[2]  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 (Dec. 16, 1966) (ratified by the U.S. June 8, 1992).

[3] Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, art. 14, Dec. 10, 1984, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 (hereinafter “CAT”).

[4] G.A. Res. 2106 (XX), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, art. 6, U.N. Doc. A/RES/2106 (Dec. 21, 1965) (hereinafter “ICERD”).

[5] U.S. Const. art. VI, § 2.

[6]  G.A. Res. 34/169, Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (Dec 17, 1979).

[7] Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 1990, https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/useofforceandfirearms.aspx . In 2020, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued the Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement See OHCHR, Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement, U.N. Doc. HR/PUB/20/1 (2020), available at https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CCPR/LLW_Guidance.pdf

(accessed 25 Mar 2021) It covers such weapons as Tasers. This Guidance is built on the same principles as the Code of Conduct and the UN Basic Principles.

[8] Myrna Mack-Chang v. Guatemala, Order of the Court, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 101, at 121 ¶ 152 (Nov. 25, 2003); Manfred Nowak, UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary 121 (2005 ed., 1993).

[9] UNHRC, General Comment No. 36: Article 6 (Right to Life), 124th Sess., adopted 8 October – 2 November 2018, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/GC/36, available at: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/CCPR_C_GC_36_8785_E.pdf (accessed 25 Mar 2021).

[10] Ray, supra n. 4.

[11] Mapping Police Violence, supra n. 175.

[12] ICCPR, supra art. 9.

[13] ICERD, supra art. 5.

[14] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nov. 20, 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S. (hereinafter “CRC”).

[15] Police Violence Against Afro-descendants in the United States, supra n. 22 at 19.

[16] ICCPR, supra art. 14.

[17] Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, 1 Apr. 2014, U.N. Doc. A/HR/6/36, ¶ 58, available at https://www.icnl.org/wp-content/uploads/cfr_2-A-HRC-26-36_en-(2).pdf (accessed 9 March 2021) (hereinafter “Report on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions”).

[18] 985 people have been shot and killed by police in the past year, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/ (last updated Mar. 21, 2021).

[19] Police Violence Against Afro-Descendants in the U.S., n. 22 supra at 24.

[20] Id. at 11.

[21] CERD, Concluding Observations on the Combined Seventh to Ninth Periodic Reports to the United States of America, U.N. Doc. CERD/C/USA/CO/7-9 (2014).

[22] 2020 Police Violence Report, Mapping Police Violence, https://policeviolencereport.org (hereinafter “2020 Police Violence Report”).

[23] Id.

[24] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, art. 12, Dec. 16, 1966, 933 U.N.T.S. 393 (hereinafter “ICESCR”). (The U.S. has signed but not ratified ICESCR).

[25] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, art. 5, Dec. 13, 2006, A/RES/61/6106. (hereinafter “CRPD”). (The U.S. has signed but not ratified CRPD).

[26] Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Dec. 18, 1979, 1249 U.N.T.S. 13 (hereinafter “CEDAW”). (The U.S. has signed but not ratified CEDAW).

[27] Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters, Treatment Advocacy Center (Dec. 2015), https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/overlooked-in-the-undercounted.pdf .

[28] Edwards, Lee, & Esposito, supra n. 6.

[29] Crenshaw & Richie, supra n. 135.

[30]   ICCPR, supra art. 7.

[31] Rep. 92/05, Case 12.418 (Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. Oct. 4, 2005).

[32] Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, June 26, 1987, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 (torture does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions)

[33]CAT/C/USA/3-5 (concluding observations on the combined third to fifth periodic reports of the United States of America).

[34] OHCHR, Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement, U.N. Doc. HR/PUB/20/1 (2020), available at https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CCPR/LLW_Guidance.pdf (accessed 25 Mar 2021) (report adopting Code of Conduct and Basic Principles).

[35] CAT/C/USA/3-5 at C.27.

[36] Id.

[37] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, opened for signature 16 December 1966, 933 U.N.T.S. 393, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx (last visited Feb. 21, 2021) (the U.S. has signed but not ratified the ICESCR).

[38] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 30 Mar 2007, 2515 U.N.T.S. 3, https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html (last visited Mar. 25, 2021) (the U.S. has signed but not ratified the CRPD).

[39] Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters, Treatment Advocacy Center (Dec. 2015), https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/overlooked-in-the-undercounted.pdf .

[40] Expert Testimony and Submission to the Commission of Attorney Michael Avery, citing Mental Health Facts for African Americans, American Psychiatric Association. Available at https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/mental-health-facts

[41] 2020 Police Violence Report, supra. n. 236.

[42] HR Committee General Comment No. 36 (2018) on art. 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at ¶ 27.

[43] UNCAT, arts. 12-14.

[44] See Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions; Recommended by Economic and Social Council Res. 1989/65 (May 24, 1989); Welcomed by G.A. Res. A/RES/44/159 (Dec. 15, 1989), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ArbitraryAndSummaryExecutions.aspx

[45] 2020 Police Violence Report, supra.n. 236.

[46] UNHRC, General Comment No. 31: Article 2 of the Covenant: The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/74/CRP.4/Rev.6, (Apr. 21 2004), http://www.refworld.org/docid/478b26ae2.html.

[47] G.A. Res. 34/169.

Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email
Print