Amnesty International is calling for an investigation of the police tactics used by police in Ferguson, Missouri, where local law enforcement have clashed with protesters following the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
After sending a 12-person delegation to Ferguson to monitor police activity, meet with officials and work with activists, the human rights organization concluded that the city's policing standards must be scrutinized to ensure they meet key standards.
“Amnesty International has a long and tested history of monitoring and investigating police conduct, not just in foreign countries, but right here at home in the United States,” executive director Steven W. Hawkins said in a Sunday statement. “Our delegation traveled to Missouri to let the authorities in Ferguson know that the world is watching. We want a thorough investigation into Michael Brown’s death and the series of events that followed.”
In addition to a review of local police training and tactics, the group called on state and federal officials to complete a "prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation" into Brown's death. (Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.)
“This is a moment for people around the country -- and around the world -- to join the Ferguson community in raising concerns about race and policing, and about the impact of militarization on our fundamental right to peacefully assemble," Hawkins said.
The recent protests in Ferguson -- where police officers have donned riot gear and used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds -- have shined a spotlight on the increasing militarization of local police units.
In a Time op-ed last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) condemned Ferguson police's recent conduct, blaming "unprecedented expansion of government power" for the use of military-like tactics by law enforcement.
"There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response," Paul wrote.
On Thursday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) announced his plan to introduce legislation aimed at scaling back the militarization of police.
"Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s," Johnson said in a letter to Democratic colleagues. "Our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces. This bill will end the free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement and ensure that all equipment can be accounted for."
BEFORE YOU GO
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014