SECTION 2 – INTRODUCTION

“Nate was my perfect gift from God. When Nate was killed, every hope and dream in my head was destroyed, taken, and relegated to a statistic, a statistic that doesn’t matter much in the United States of America.” —Dominic Archibald, mother of Nathaniel Pickett II[1

“Jordan, obviously was running for his life. And to chase him into a trash strewn alleyway, and then you murder him. And you lay him down in trash and proceed to hogtie him and watch him bleed out.” —Janet Baker, mother of Jordan Baker[2

“With six officers on top of her putting her in this torture device, do they realize at some point she had stopped moving… They failed to check on Kayla. Because her last breath, her last words were, ‘Get off me, I can’t breathe.’ And they ignored her, her cries for help.”[3] —Maria Moore, sister of Kayla Moore.

The Crisis of Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States

  1. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was brutally killed by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds despite repeated pleas by Mr. Floyd and onlookers to release him.

 

  1. When the video of Floyd’s murder went viral, massive uprisings erupted throughout the United States and around the world, with demands for reform, defunding and abolition of the police. Indeed, the public outrage over what has been termed a modern-day lynching was not only about the sheer horror of the torturous public execution of an unarmed Black man by police after his arrest for a low-level offense; it also stemmed from the frequency with which the murders of unarmed Black people by the police continues unabated in the United States.

 

  1. In the same year Mr. Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, more than 1,100 people were killed by police, with Black people killed at more than twice the rate of others. “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.”[4] Today one out of every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police violence over the course of his life, which is approximately 2.5 times the likelihood of white men being killed by police.[5] Black women are also significantly more likely to die in this manner than their white counterparts, as they are 1.4 times more likely to be killed by police than white women.[6]

 

  1. Floyd’s dying plea, “I can’t breathe,” called out 28 times, was not only the cry of one Black man facing a brutal extrajudicial killing in broad daylight. It is also the collective refrain of people of African descent killed by law enforcement in the U.S., most often in the course of the victims’ lawful activities, in encounters occasioned by racist targeting of communities of color for disparate policing and surveillance.

 

  1. “I can’t feel my insides,” Mr. Floyd uttered. “I can’t feel my legs.” He called out for his mama, who had predeceased him by two years. Mr. Floyd said, “Tell my children I love them.” Two other officers kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s back and legs as a fourth officer stood guard to keep horrified citizens from intervening to save Floyd’s life, threatening them with mace.

 

  1. In his testimony before this Commission of Inquiry, Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, implored the Commissioners, “I’m asking you to let his legacy continue to build a brighter future from structural racism and police brutality . . . I’m asking and seeking justice for all Black and Brown men, women and children who have needlessly been killed by racism and police violence.” He added, “Not only did my brother have the weight of three police officers on him, he had the weight of a nation plagued with centuries of systemic racism that stole his last breath.”[7]

 

  1. The killing of George Floyd shone a light on a long-ignored national scourge–the scourge of racial inequality, racial capitalism, white supremacy, slavery and its legacy in the U.S., in which two systems of law exist: one for whites, and another for Black people. Under color of law, Black people are targeted, surveilled, brutalized, maimed and killed by law enforcement officers with impunity, as Black life itself is criminalized and devalued.

 

  1. Over the summer of 2020, family members of the victims, Black organizers, activists and allies joined together to form the largest protest movement in U.S. history.[8] The origins of this movement began after another unjust and glaring act of white supremacist impunity. Seven years earlier, Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry when Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted. In July 2014, Eric Garner was brutally choked to death by police officer Daniel Pantaleo of the New York Police Department: the entire event was recorded on cellphone video and released for all the world to see. The following month, video recordings captured the extrajudicial killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as he walked in his neighborhood and was attacked by a police officer who shot him 12 times while his hands were raised. The police killing of young Michael Brown, who said, “Don’t shoot,” galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

  1. Even as public extrajudicial killings of Black people in the U.S. by police have sparked nationwide protests, civil disobedience, community organizing, calls to defund the police, and demands for racial justice and accountability, time and time again justice has been denied. As police departments promise new training and are brought under federal consent decrees, police officers continue to unjustifiably kill Black people. Moreover, programs adopted by one of the country’s largest police departments to curb racial targeting resulted in fewer stops, but produced no change in the discriminatory policing of Black people and the devaluation of Black lives.

 

  1. Police killings and the officers’ subsequent impunity devastate Black communities. Spouses are widowed, children grow up without parents and siblings, and relatives suffer unimaginable loss. To add insult to injury, some families are harassed by police even after their loved ones are killed. Generations of Black families and broader Black communities are traumatized.

 

  1. Failed by U.S. courts and laws reflective of systemic racism, the families and loved ones of victims of police killings continually find their recourse under domestic law lacking. Officers are protected by their unions and remain in their positions. Investigations are led by the same prosecutors who work closely with officer suspects and declinations are therefore frequent. U.S. constitutional standards for a finding of excessive force allow officers’ subjective fear to govern the reasonableness of their conduct and dismissals are frequent. When families seek civil remedies, they are often blocked by the doctrine of qualified immunity.

 

  1. With the killing of George Floyd, echoing the “I can’t breathe” cry of a dying Eric Garner almost seven years earlier, and in the face of structural racism inadequately addressed by U.S. law and proposed reforms, the families of Black victims of police killings look to the international community to vindicate the human rights of their slain loved ones. They include the rights to life, security, fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to be free from discrimination, torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by U.S. police due to their status as people of African descent.

 

  1. The oppression of Black people and devaluation of Black lives has deep roots in the history of the U.S. where, from the time of the original North American colonies, Black people were caught in a nested loop of violence, dehumanization, structural racism and the systemic exploitation of their labor power. Violence, dehumanization and exploitation required a precise legal, military and ideation system. The necessity to police the movement of Black people and to extract wealth from them gradually cemented the racial division in the U.S. The unbroken links between the genocide of the First Nations peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, the violence of Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, COINTELPRO[9] and the current militarization of U.S. society has been obscured by the shibboleths of American exceptionalism.

 

  1. In June 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) strongly condemned “the continuing racially discriminatory and violent practices perpetrated by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent,” noting in particular the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in Minnesota, and the deaths of other people of African descent. The HRC also condemned structural racism in the criminal justice system and passed a resolution[10] directing the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on intentional law enforcement agencies’ systemic racism, and violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies globally.

 

The Need for International Intervention and Attention from International Peace and Justice Advocates and the Genesis of the Commission of Inquiry

“We understand the necessity for global solidarity. For our struggle to be successful we need international pressure on the United States to end unaccountable police violence. In bringing this crisis to the United Nations, we are reminded that the last campaign of Malcolm X was to bring the struggles of Black people in the United States to the international arena of human rights […]MAPB stands in that tradition, appealing to the ‘world opinion and the conscience of mankind’ to help us in our struggle for justice.”  —Collette Flanagan, Founder, Mothers Against Police Brutality[11]

  1. On June 8, 2020, the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Philando Castile, together with more than 600 rights groups, petitioned[12] the HRC to convene a special session to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the on-going crisis of police violence and systemic racism in policing resulting in violations of international human rights laws against people of African descent in the United States.

 

  1. Although the petition was supported by its 17-member African Group of Nations, the HRC succumbed to enormous diplomatic pressure from the U.S. and other allied countries and declined to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the United States. The HRC instead passed a resolution,[13] mandating the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to prepare a report on systemic racism and violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies globally. The HRC’s refusal to convene a specific inquiry into the pattern and practice of police violence against people of African descent in the United States stands in stark contrast to its willingness to examine similar violations of member countries in the Global South.[14]

 

  1. Recognizing that the killings and maimings of unarmed Black people by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. continue unabated and any effective domestic remedies are either non-existent or exacerbated by the policies of the U.S. government, and learning that the HRC would not convene a Commission of Inquiry to investigate these crimes, three non-governmental civil society organizations—the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild—convened a Commission of Inquiry composed of distinguished expert members of the legal community from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The Commission of Inquiry’s mandate was to conduct an independent inquiry into:

 

    1. cases of victims of police violence, extrajudicial killings and maimings of people of African descent and entrenched structural racism in police practices throughout the U.S.; and
    2. structural racism and bias in the U.S. criminal justice system that results in the impunity of law enforcement officers for the violations of U.S. law and international human rights standards.

The Purpose of the Commission of Inquiry

  1. The Commission of Inquiry was established to examine whether 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. The Commissioners made findings regarding a pattern and practice of racist police violence in the U.S. within the context of a history of oppression dating back to the extermination of First Nations peoples, the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, the militarization of U.S. society, and the perpetuation of structural racism.

 

  1. The Commission of Inquiry is forwarding its recommendations to the High Commissioner, the HRC, UN Member States, and all relevant stakeholders concerned about ending human rights violations, ensuring accountability, and providing reparative justice. Specifically, this report seeks to determine whether relevant domestic U.S. law meets the international law and standards, and whether the individual cases of police killings heard by the Commissioners form part of a pattern of deprivation of the human rights of people of African descent in the U.S. through extrajudicial killing by law enforcement.

 

The 1979 Predecessor to the Commission of Inquiry

 

  1. The 2021 Commission of Inquiry is founded on the 1978 Petition alleging violations of human rights of minorities, filed on Human Rights Day, by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ. The Petition was filed pursuant to ECOSOC Resolution 1503 (XLVII) (Procedure for Dealing with Communications Relating to Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and Resolution 1 (XXIV) of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The inspiration for the 1978 Petition was the 1951 Petition “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People,” submitted to the United Nations by Paul Robeson and William Patterson from the Civil Rights Congress (CRC).

 

  1. A year later, in l979, International Association of Democratic Lawyers organized a Delegation of International Experts[15]to investigate the allegations of the 1978 Petition, and to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Commission. These jurists were asked to determine if there was a consistent pattern of gross violations of the human and legal rights of minorities, including policies of racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. The 2021 Commission of Inquiry is modeled after the 1979 Delegation.

 

The Convening Organizations of the Commission of Inquiry

  1. The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) is a U.S. association, formed in 1968, to offer legal assistance to Black civil rights activists. NCBL is composed of judges, law students, attorneys, legal activists, legal workers, and scholars. The NCBL mission is: “To protect human rights, to achieve self-determination of Africa and African Communities and to work in coalition to assist in ending the oppression of all peoples.” NCBL is a bar association whose primary focus is the welfare of the Black community. NCBL is the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation.

 

  1. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) is a worldwide non-governmental organization which has held consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council since 1969. Since the founding of IADL in Paris in 1946, its members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of the human rights of groups and individuals, as well as threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law. From the organization’s inception, IADL members throughout the globe have protested racism, colonialism, neocolonialism and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights, often at the cost of these jurists’ personal safety and economic well-being.

 

  1. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is the United States’ oldest and largest progressive bar association and was the first bar association in the U.S. to be racially integrated. The NLG’s mission is to use law for the people, uniting attorneys, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests.

 

Commissioners 

  1. The Commission of Inquiry is composed of distinguished human rights experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. There are 12 Commissioners, including prominent judges, lawyers, professors, advocates and UN special rapporteurs. The Commissioners are:

 

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Barbados

Professor Niloufer Bhagwat, India

Mr. Xolani Maxwell Boqwana, South Africa

Professor Mireille Fanon-Mendès France, France

Dr. Arturo Fournier Facio, Costa Rica

Judge Peter Herbert OBE, UK

Ms. Hina Jilani, Pakistan

Professor Emeritus Rashida Manjoo, South Africa

Professor Osamu Niikura, Japan

Sir Clare K. Roberts, QC, Antigua and Barbuda

Mr. Bert Samuels, Jamaica

Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, Nigeria

  1. Full details of the Commissioners’ mandate and methodology, the transcripts and videos of the hearings it conducted, and the credentials of the Commissioners, Rapporteurs and Convening Organizations can be found at https://inquirycommission.org/. They are briefly summarized below.

 

Methodology of Case Selection

  1. The cases heard by the Commissioners were representative cases that met the criteria listed below. All selected cases involved the egregious, unjustified killing or maiming of individuals of African descent in the United States, including:

 

    • The killing of unarmed individuals who posed no threat of death or serious bodily harm;
    • The killing of individuals fleeing the police who posed no serious threat of death or serious bodily harm to the police or others;
    • The use of, or threat to use, physical or psychological intimidation to extract confessions; and
    • The maiming of individuals fleeing the police and/or who posed no serious threat of death or serious bodily harm to others.

  1. The representative cases were selected from a larger pool, drawn from the cases listed in the August 3, 2020 civil society letter to the High Commissioner’s Office, from the U.S. Mapping Police Violence database, and additional cases brought to the Commissions’ attention by U.S. civil rights attorneys. The Commissioners specifically sought representation of cases involving Black women, both cis- and transgender.

 

  1. The Commissioners examined the objective facts of each case to determine whether the case met the selection criteria for inclusion.

 

Structure of the Report

 

  1. The report of the Commission begins with an examination of the background and context of systemic racist police violence and structural racism in the U.S., including historical forms of systemic exploitation and structural racism in policing.

 

  1. It then presents the Findings of Fact establishing systemic racist police violence and impunity in the U.S. organized by 11 identified themes: (1) Pretextual Traffic Stops as Precursor to Police Killings and Excessive Force; (2) Maintenance of Order Policing Triggers Deadly Police Violence; (3) Killings of Black People after Committing Fourth Amendment Violations; (4) Excessive Use of Lethal Restraints; (5) Lethal Police Violence Exacerbated by Medical Apartheid; (6) Lethal Police Violence against Black People in Mental Health Crises; (7) Excessive Use of Force Against Cis- and Transgender Black Women, Girls, and Femmes; (8) Killing and Traumatizing of Black Children; (9) Racist Police Violence Traumatizes and Devastates Families and Communities; (10) Police Killings of Black Immigrants; and (11) Complicity of Legal Actors in Police Violence and Killings of Black People through Qualified Immunity and Systemic Impunity.

 

  1. The report examines the relevant International Treaties and Conventions which guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms to people of African descent.

 

  1. The report also discusses how existing U.S. laws and practices do not comply with international law and standards and that the Commissioners’ findings demonstrate a pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent in the U.S.

 

  1. The report ends with conclusions and recommendations. A summary of each case that was heard is provided in the report.

 

Sources of Information for the Commission of Inquiry

 

  1. Public Hearings with Live Testimony from Family Members and Lawyers of Black Victims of Systemic Racist Police Killings and Maimings in the United States

 

  1. The Commission of Inquiry held public fact-finding hearings from January 18 to February 6, 2021. Due to travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, the consultations, meetings, and hearings were conducted virtually. The Commissioners heard evidence in 44 cases from throughout the U.S., dating primarily from 2010 to 2020. The cases were presented by attorneys for the family or estate of the victims and by family members. Further, the Commissioners received written submissions regarding each case, and broader written materials regarding patterns and practices within particular municipalities and states, as well as statistical evidence of the systemic nature of police killings.

 

  1. a. Focus of Hearings

 

  1. The Commission of Inquiry heard testimony from victims’ families and community activists on the impact of systemic racist police violence perpetrated against themselves, their families, and their communities. The Commissioners also heard testimony from the lawyers representing the families, who provided details to the Commissioners regarding the response to the killings from police officers, prosecutors, judges, medical examiners, government officials and the media. In focusing on victim impact, the Commission aligned itself with the mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, who has expressed that central to her work are “the voices of victims of African descent and their families and communities. It is critical for us to hear and learn from their experiences, as we formulate recommendations that seek to bring about genuine and transformative change.”[16]

 

  1. The Commissioners examined police violence through an intersectional lens, ensuring representation from cis- and transgender Black women who were killed or injured by police. The Commissioners also assessed the ways in which police violence intersected with other forms of vulnerability, including immigration status, mental illness, and houselessness.

 

  1. b. Cases Heard

 

  1. The Commissioners heard evidence in the following cases:

Clinton Allen

Jimmy Atchison

Jordan Baker

Sean Bell

Jayvis L. Benjamin

Jacob Blake

Tashii Farmer Brown

Michael Brown, Jr.

Aaron Campbell

Damian Daniels

Patrick Dorismond

Manuel Elijah Ellis

Malcolm Ferguson

George Floyd

Shereese Francis

Antonio Garcia, Jr.

Eric Garner

Barry Gedeus

Henry Glover

Casey Goodson

Ramarley Graham

Freddie Gray

Richie Lee Harbison

Jason Harrison

Botham Shem Jean

Marquise Jones

Linwood Lambert

Andrew Kearse

Juan May

Kayla Moore

Nathaniel Pickett II

Jeffery Price

Daniel Prude

Tamir Rice

Momodou Lamin Sisay

Mubarak Soulemane

Alberta Spruill

Darius Tarver

Breonna Taylor

Vincent Truitt

Shem Walker

Patrick Warren, Sr.

Tyrone West

Tarika Wilson

Ousmane Zongo

 

2. Recorded Testimony from Expert Witnesses

 

  1. In addition to the testimony of victims’ families and attorney representatives, the Commission of Inquiry heard testimony from several eminently qualified experts, listed below.

 

  1. Collette Flanagan, Founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB), spoke about the experiences of families seeking accountability and reform. She appealed to the international community to seek redress for the national crisis people of African descent in the U.S. are experiencing.

 

  1. Lakisha Alomaja, Esq. is an associate attorney at the Mayday Law Office in Houston, Texas, and a member of the advisory board of the Prairie View A&M University Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center. She is a co-author of the law review article, When perceptions are deadly: Policing, given the summer in Ferguson, Missouri and other similar stories, before and since. She provided information and testimony regarding the article.

 

  1. Attorney Michael Avery, professor emeritus at Suffolk University Law School, former President of the National Lawyers Guild, co-founder of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and author of Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation, testified before the Commissioners regarding police targeting of Black people with mental health issues, as well as the deadly and disproportionate use of Tasers against people of African descent.

 

  1. Professor Laura Cohen is Director of the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, and is the Justice Virginia Long Scholar at the Rutgers University School of Law—Newark, where she teaches courses in juvenile justice. She is also a faculty member of the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic. Professor Cohen provided an overview of the criminal legal system in the U.S. She explained that this system is rooted in intrinsic race and class biases. She also detailed the obstacles to prosecuting offenders who operate under color of law.

 

  1. Camille Gibson, Ph.D., C.R.C., is Interim Dean of the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology at Prairie View A&M University and Executive Director of the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center. She is a co-author of the law review article, When perceptions are deadly: Policing, given the summer in Ferguson, Missouri and other similar stories, before and since. She provided information and testimony regarding the article.

 

  1. Camillo Perez Bustillo, Director of Research, Advocacy, and Leadership Development at the Hope Border Institute, testified regarding overlapping concerns between the Commissioners’ inquiry on the systemic police violence against people of African descent in the U.S. and the discriminatory and xenophobic policies of U.S. immigration and border control.

 

  1. Andrea Ritchie, a self-described “Black lesbian immigrant,” is a police misconduct attorney and Researcher in Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality and Criminalization at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, where she recently launched the Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action initiative. Ms. Ritchie spoke to the Commissioners about police violence against women, LGBTQIA communities, and gender non-conforming people of color in the United States. Ms. Ritchie is also the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color and co-author of Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women policy report.

 

  1. Attorney Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office of Chicago provided expert testimony with relevant background on the history of police killings in the U.S of people of African descent dating to the 1969 case of Fred Hampton, the 1971 massacre at the New York Attica Correction Facility, and systemic racist torture of African-Americans by the Chicago Police Department from 1972 to 1991. He is the author of The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago.

 

  1. Penny Venetis, Dickinson R. Debvoise Scholar at Rutgers Law School, where she is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, spoke regarding the effect of qualified immunity on civil liability under U.S. law, as well as other barriers in domestic law to accountability for killings by police officers.

3. Research on International Law and U.S. Laws

  1. The Commissioners reviewed relevant U.S. and international law and standards applicable to the vindication of the rights of the victims and their families under international law. They also undertook a review of applicable domestic law to determine compliance with the international law and standards.

4. Literature Review

  1. In addition to hearing factual testimony, and receiving written submissions of evidence, the Commissioners also reviewed recently compiled reports on police killings, along with those spanning many decades, by various civil society organizations, listed below. Citations to other relevant source materials are included throughout this report. Literature reviewed included:

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and the NYU Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic, The State of Black Immigrants, 2016[17]

University of Chicago Law School, Deadly Discretion: The Failure of Police Use of Force Policies to Meet Fundamental International Human Rights Law and Standards, 2020[18];

Julian Scott, Camile Gibson, Lakisha Alomaja, Ashley Minter and Leanna Davis, When perceptions are deadly: Policing, given the summer in Ferguson, Missouri and other similar stories, before and since, Ralph Bunche Journal of Public Affairs, Spring 2017;[19]

The Written Submission of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/1;[20]

The Written Input on Human Rights Council Resolution 43/1 by The International Network Of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO);[21]

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Report on Police Violence Against Afro-descendants in the United States (2018);[22] and

The Report and Findings of International Jurists Visit with Human Rights Petitioners in the United States, August 3-20, 1979.[23]

 


[1] Video and Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Nathaniel Pickett II, International Commission of Inquiry of Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States (Jan. 18, 2021), https://inquirycommission.org/video-and-transcript-nathaniel-pickett-ii-hearing-monday-january-18-international-commission-of-inquiry/ (hereinafter, “Case of Nathaniel Pickett”).

[2] Video and Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Jordan Baker, International Commission of Inquiry of Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States (Feb. 2, 2021), https://inquirycommission.org/video-and-transcript-jordan-baker-hearing-tuesday-february-2-international-commission-of-inquiry/, (hereinafter “Case of Jordan Baker”).

[3] Video and Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Kayla Moore., International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States (Feb. 5, 2021), https://inquirycommission.org/video-and-transcript-kayla-moore-hearing-friday-february-5-international-commission-of-inquiry/ (hereinafter “Case of Kayla Moore”).

[4] See Rashawn Ray, How can we enhance police accountability in the United States?, Brookings Institution (Aug. 25, 2020), https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/how-can-we-enhance-police-accountability-in-the-united-states/.

[5] Id.

[6] Frank Edwards, Hedwig Lee, & Michael Esposito, Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sex, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Aug. 20, 2019), https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793.

[7] Video and Transcript: Hearing on the Case of George Floyd, International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States (Jan. 25, 2021), https://inquirycommission.org/video-and-transcript-george-floyd-hearing-monday-january-25-international-commission-of-inquiry/ (hereinafter “Case of George Floyd”).

[8] See Larry Buchanan, Quoctrung Bui, & Jugal K. Patel, Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History (July 3, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html.

[9] COINTELPRO (syllabic abbreviation derived from Counter Intelligence Program) (1956- unknown) was a series of covert and illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting progressive political organizations. FBI records show COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left.

[10] H.R.C Res. 43/1 (June 19, 2020).

[11] Video: Collette Flanagan, Mothers Against Police Brutality, International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States (Jan. 21, 2021), https://inquirycommission.org/?s=collette+flanagan (hereinafter “Testimony of Collette Flanagan”).

[12]  See Coalition Letter – Request for U.N. Independent Inquiry into Escalating Situation of Police Violence and Repression of Protests in the United States (June 8, 2020), https://www.aclu.org/letter/coalition-letter-request-un-independent-inquiry-escalating-situation-police-violence-and?redirect=letter/coalition-letter-request-un-investigation-escalating-situation-police-violence-and-repression.

[13] H.R.C Res. 43/1, supra. n. 10

[14] See List of HRC-mandated Commissions of Fact-Finding Missions & Other Bodies, UN Human Rights Council (last updated Oct. 2019), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/ListHRCMandat.aspx (list of current or past inquiries by the Human Rights Council; To our knowledge, the United States has not been a subject of an inquiry related to human rights abuses of people of African descent despite the long and well-documented history of such racial abuses in the United States).

[15] Lennox S. Hinds, Appendix I, in Illusions of Justice, Human Rights Violations in the United States (2nd ed. 2019) (the Report and Findings of International Jurists Visit with Human Rights Petitioners in the United States, August 3-20, 1979. The members of the Delegation of International Experts included: Kader Asmal, then in exile from South Africa, later to be a member of the Mandela government; Mr. Justice Harish Chandra from India, a judge of the Delhi High Court; Chief Judge Per Eklund from Sweden, from the Court of Appeal; Richard Harvey from Great Britain, then a specialist in prisons and Southern Africa affairs; Ifeanyi Ifebigh from Nigeria, a practitioner before the Supreme Court of Nigeria; Sergio Insunza Barrios, then in exile from Chile, who had been the Justice Minister under President Salvador Allende; The Honourable Sir Arthur Hugh McShine from Trinidad-Tobago, former Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal; and Babacar Niang from the Senegal Bar Association).

[16] U.N. H.R.C., 45th Sess., U.N. Doc. A/HRC/45/L/47 (Oct. 2020).

[17] Juliana Morgan-Trostle & Kexin Zheng, The State of Black Immigrants, NYU Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic and Black Alliance for Just Immigration 5 (2016), https://www.immigrationresearch.org/system/files/sobi-fullreport-jan22.pdf (last accessed March 1, 2021).

[18] University of Chicago Law School – Global Human Rights Clinic, Deadly Discretion: The Failure of Police Use of Force Policies to Meet Fundamental International Human Rights Law and Standards, (University of Chicago Law School, 2020), https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/ihrc/14/ (hereinafter “Deadly Discretion”).

[19] Julian Scott, et al., When perceptions are deadly: Policing, given the summer in Ferguson, Missouri and other similar stories, before and since, 6 RALPHE BUNCHE J. PUB. AFF. 1 (Spring 2017), https://digitalscholarship.tsu.edu/rbjpa/vol6/iss1/4/.

[20] See American Civil Liberties Union, Written Submission of the ACLU to the OHCHR on Human Rights Council Resolution 43/1 (Dec. 15, 2020), https://www.aclu.org/other/written-submission-aclu-ohchr-human-rights-council-resolution-431.

[21] See Written Input on Human Rights Council Resolution 43/1 by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO), INCLO (Dec. 15, 2020), https://files.inclo.net/content/pdf/32/201215%20-%20International%20Network%20of%20Civil%20Liberties%20Organisations%20-%20Written%20Submission%20on%20Human%20Rights%20Council%20Resolution%2043.1%2017Dec.pdf.

[22] OAS IACHR, Police Violence Against Afro-descendants in the United States (Nov. 26, 2018), http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/PoliceUseOfForceAfrosUSA.pdf.

[23] Hinds, supra.

 

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