01/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/28/2023 05:26
28 Jan 2023, 11:01am
Police are ignoring their duty to protect Black and Brown communities
State and local law enforcement must respect and protect people's right to protest police violence
'It is imperative the Memphis Police Department not see this simply as the actions of five individual police officers but acknowledges it as a systemic issue and conduct a top-down review' - Justin Mazzola
Responding to the announcement of charges brought against Memphis police officers in the death of Tyre Nichols and body-camera footage released by Memphis Police Department, Justin Mazzola, Amnesty International USA's researcher, said:
"The video shows truly appalling, heinous, violent, and troublesome acts of inhumanity, as Tyre Nichols' family and their representatives said when they saw the footage.
"No one should fear for their lives and end up being killed during a traffic stop. Just as people should not be killed for allegedly selling loose cigarettes like Eric Garner, getting into a car accident like Keenan Anderson, being a 12-year-old child playing in the park with a toy gun like Tamir Rice, allegedly using counterfeit currency in the case of George Floyd, or for simply responding to their door being broken down in the middle of the night like Breonna Taylor.
"People should not live in fear for their lives when they interact with the police - but for too long, police have ignored their duty to protect Black and Brown communities and have instead denied them a sense of security and their humanity.
"It is imperative the Memphis Police Department not see this simply as the actions of five individual police officers, but acknowledges it as a systemic issue and conduct a top-down review of their policies on issues such as the use of unmarked police cars to conduct traffic stops, training on foot pursuits, and the use of force - including the use of chemical irritants, tasers and restraints.
"State and local law enforcement must respect and protect the rights of those who wish to rightfully protest the treatment of Tyre Nichols and others who have been injured and killed at the hands of the police.
"Amnesty also urges Congress to once and for all pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to create a national standard on the use of force, which would require de-escalation by officers and limit the use of deadly force, which should be used as a last resort, not first response."