World Bulletin/News Desk
Police in Ferguson, Missouri, committed human rights abuses while handling protests in the wake of the death of Michael Brown there last summer, Amnesty International said Friday.
“The U.S. government must do much more to address systemic racial discrimination and ensure policing practices nationwide are brought into line with international human rights standards,” the group said in a report on human rights abuses in Ferguson.
Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9. Brown's death set off mass protests that drew thousands to the area, and which have since continued at various levels.
Amnesty said law enforcement often resorted to the use of tear gas and the firing of rubber bullets at protesters, while the use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons intimidated demonstrators and could've actually lead to an escalation of violence.
“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions between protesters and police,” the report said.
The group asked U.S. authorities to ensure that investigations into Brown’s shooting are thorough, transparent and independent. “If the evidence indicates that the killing was unlawful, the police officer responsible should be criminally prosecuted.”
The London-based human rights organization also voiced concerns that members of the media have repeatedly been obstructed from carrying out their roles and responsibilities by law enforcement in Ferguson.
“From Aug. 13 through Oct. 2, at least 19 journalists and members of the media have been arrested by law enforcement with others subjected to tear gas and the use of rubber bullets,” the report said.
An Anadolu Agency’s correspondent, Bilgin Sasmaz, was wounded and detained by police Aug. 17 while covering the protests. In video footage released shortly after his detention, an officer could be seen threatening Sasmaz.
Reporters from CNN, Al Jazeera America and other outlets also reported being harassed or physically threatened by Ferguson police.
The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, following Brown’s death.
Last Mod: 24 Ekim 2014, 23:07