Check It Out: Report by International Commission of Inquiry

Systematic Police Violence against Black People in the U.S. Amounts to Crimes against Humanity



From a reader:

On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States released a scathing, 188-page detailed report of its investigation.1 The commission is made up of human rights experts from 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They carried out extensive research and investigation of police violence against Black people in this country and the systemic racism that undergirds it. The commission examined 44 recent cases of police murder of Black people, including: George Floyd, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Breonna Taylor.2 Their report includes video and transcripts of 28 hearings held in January and February, where family members and others told their stories of the murder of their child, their husband, their father, and their friend at the hands of police.

The commission report concludes that the systematic killing and maiming of unarmed Black Americans by police amount to crimes against humanity that should be investigated and prosecuted under international law. Crimes against humanity are acts that by their scope or nature, “shock the conscience,” and in this instance, is systematic and targeting a particular grouping of people. One of the 12 commissioners—who currently serves as president of the World Organization Against Torture—told the Guardian: “This finding of crimes against humanity was not given lightly, we included it with a very clear mind. We examined all the facts and concluded that that there are situations in the U.S. that beg the urgent scrutiny of the ICC [International Criminal Court].”3


The commissioners’ findings include:

  • “Violations of the rights to life, security, freedom from torture, freedom from discrimination, mental health, access to remedies for violations, fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to be treated with humanity and respect.”
  • “Violations of the State’s duty to provide medical care to those in custody; to ensure investigations of police killings that are independent, competent, thorough and effective; and to prosecute police who break the law.”
  • “U.S. laws and police practices do not comply with the international standards on the use of force.”
  • “The disproportionate use of deadly force against people of African descent, and a pattern of unlawful and excessive force by chokeholds, kneeling or standing on the victim, by cuffing the victim face down and by applying pressure to the victim’s head and neck.”
  • “The use of force against unarmed people of African descent during traffic and investigatory stops based on racist associations between Blackness and criminality.”
  • “Race-based street stops, otherwise known as ‘stop-and-frisk,’ is used as a form of ‘order maintenance’ policing, leading to disparate rates of arrests and use of deadly force by police.”
  • “Cis- and transgender Black women, girls and femmes are routinely subjected to humiliating treatment, disrespect and mis-gendering by police, and disproportionately killed by police in the United States. Black women and girls are disproportionately subjected to traffic stops based on racial profiling.”
  • “An alarming pattern of destruction, loss and manipulation of evidence, coverups, obstruction of justice in connection with the unjustified killings of unarmed persons of African descent.”
  • “The police defense of qualified immunity amounts to condoning brutal police violence against persons of African descent, and creates a culture of impunity.”

The commissioners said they found sufficient evidence of “crimes against humanity” to warrant an investigation by the International Criminal Court. They said the crimes include “Murder, Severe Deprivation of Physical Liberty, Torture, Persecution of people of African descent, and other Inhuman Acts.”

U.S. Attempts to Stop the Investigation

The International Commission of Inquiry was established after the police torture and murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, which triggered the eruption of beautiful risings of millions of people, overwhelmingly young, in the U.S. and around the world against police violence towards Black and other oppressed people.

The families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile joined 600 rights groups to petition the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the systemic racist police violence and human rights violations against Black people in the U.S. However, in the face of powerful opposition by the U.S. and its allies, the HRC said it would not focus an investigation on the U.S. separate from the world as a whole. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, and National Lawyers Guild stepped in and launched an independent International Commission of Inquiry to examine systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the U.S.

I urge readers to look at the report and share it. As if much more is needed, it is another "nail-in-the-coffin" evidence of the utter inhumanity and immorality of this system and its lethal enforcers, who carry out the relentless oppression and repression of Black people and other people of color with impunity.

1. The executive summary of the report is available online here. The page has links to the whole report. [back]

2. Sean Bell was killed on his wedding day in 2006 after New York City police fired 50 bullets; Eric Garner died of a NYPD chokehold in 2014 as he repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe”; Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old child playing with a toy gun shot in 2014 seconds after Cleveland police arrived; Michael Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old who said “hands up, don't shoot” before being murdered in 2014 by a Ferguson, Missouri, cop—the refusal to indict the killer cop led to protests in a dozen cities; Freddie Gray died in 2015 in Baltimore after being taken on a “rough ride” in the back of a police van; Breonna Taylor was killed by cops carrying out a no-knock warrant raid on her home in March 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. [back]

3. “Police killings of Black Americans amount to crimes against humanity, international inquiry finds,” Guardian, April 27, 2021. [back]

Eric Garner died from cop's chokehold while gasping "I can't breathe" on July 17, 2014.

Freddie Gray was cruelly murdered by Baltimore cops April 15, 2015.


Now available as a PDF pamphlet:
Booklet    |    8.5x11 sheets

George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo...ONLY REVOLUTION Can STOP Police Killings! ... From Episode 49 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show



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