UN Racism Watchdog Slams US Over Police Brutality Citing Ferguson Shooting; Urges Review of 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

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By Anugrah Kumar , Christian Post Contributor
September 1, 2014|8:16 am
Ferguson, Missouri (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Lott)

Police officers point their weapons at demonstrators protesting against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.

A U.N. committee that monitors racial inequality and discrimination says the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman in Missouri last month illustrates a bigger problem of racism in the United States.

"Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life, from de facto school segregation access to health care and housing," Noureddine Amir, vice chairman of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, told reporters while issuing the panel's conclusions Friday.

The excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern and "particularly in light of the shooting of Michael Brown," Amir, an expert from Algeria, said, according to Reuters.

CERD is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.

"This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials," Amir added.

CERD spoke to a U.S. delegation in August about racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities.

"Stand Your Ground" Laws need an amendment to "remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to principles of necessity and proportionality when deadly force is used for self-defense," the panel said.

"The committee remains concerned at the practice of racial profiling of racial or ethnic minorities by law enforcement officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transportation Security Administration, border enforcement officials and local police," it said, calling for a probe.

A preliminary private autopsy report showed that 18-year-old Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.

Brown, who had allegedly stolen cigars from a convenience store, was shot dead by an officer moments later on Aug. 9.

According to a diagram the Brown family received from the private autopsy performed by former New York City Medical Examiner Michael M. Baden, Brown had six entry wounds, including two in the head.

"It raises the same questions we had before," Los Angeles Times quoted family attorney Anthony Gray as saying earlier. "The bullet marks on the body are consistent with the witness statements. … To have a shot that's at a 90-degree angle from the top of his skull to the bottom of his chin, almost vertical, that sounds like an officer standing over him."

Police identified Brown's shooter as Darren Wilson, and released pictures showing the teen strong-arming a smaller man inside a convenience store.

Wilson was responding to a 911 call about the robbery of a $48.99 box of cigars, according to police. Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown, also admitted that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars.

However, Brown's family alleged that police were seeking to divert people's attention away from the shooting.

"There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender," the family said in a statement.

The officer, who has been on paid leave since then, has had no complaints lodged against him.

Police claim the officer did not know Brown was a suspect when he stopped him and his friend. The two were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic, and when the officer encountered them he saw the cigars in Brown's hands, police say.

The officer allegedly received injuries to his face during the encounter with Brown.

Brown's friend, Johnson, earlier said that the officer pointed a gun at Brown and said, "I'll shoot." He also claimed that Wilson fired shots after Brown held his hands up.

 

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