As calls to defund and abolish police departments echo around the country, the family of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death sparked radical protests, are asking for suggestions from the United Nations.
In a letter to the UN Working Group on the Rights of People of African Descent, Floyd’s family and civil rights attorney Ben Crump urged the UN to investigate Floyd’s death and encourage the US government to press federal criminal charges against the four officers involved.
All four officers involved in Floyd’s death — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — face criminal charges ranging from second-degree murder for Chauvin and aiding and abetting for the others.
The request pushed for reforms including de-escalation techniques, independent prosecutions and autopsies for every police killing “in an effort to stop further human rights abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings of African Americans to protect their inherent and fundamental human right to life.”
Crump called out the United States’ “long pattern and practice of depriving Black citizens of the fundamental human right to life.”
“I have sought the protection of the Federal government on innumerable cases involving the torture and extrajudicial killing of Black men and women by police including Martin Lee Anderson in Florida, Michael Brown in Missouri, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota. The United States government has consistently failed to hold police accountable and did not bring Federal criminal charges even in cases with irrefutable video evidence,” he said in a statement.
“When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention. We echo the words of Emperor Haile Selassie I in his 1963 speech to the United Nations in which he pledged to continue to fight for equality and justice, “until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned…until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eye.”
Late Sunday, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council voiced their approval of disbanding the police department.
“In Minneapolis and in cities across the US, it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis city council president, at a rally.
“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period. Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end policing as we know it and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”
Mayor Jacob Frey said he doesn’t support “abolishing” the police department.
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