UN Torture Report Condemns US Human Rights Abuses

Originally published on December 1, 2014, at NationofChange.org

The United Nations Committee Against Torture released a report addressing a myriad of human rights violations committed by the U.S. government. While commending President Obama for qualifying enhanced interrogation techniques as torture, the U.N. Committee decries his administration’s lack of transparency, refusal to prosecute, and inability to prevent rampant abuse.

In its first review of the U.S. since 2006, the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment held hearings in Geneva throughout November. U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council Keith Harper and State Department Acting Legal Adviser Mary McLeod gave statements during the proceedings, while the parents of Michael Brown testified against police brutality.

“The United States is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting, and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world,” stated McLeod. “But in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values, including those reflected in the Convention. As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”

In the conclusion of its report, the Committee applauded President Obama’s statements qualifying enhanced interrogation as torture at a press conference on August 1. The president admitted, “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values.”

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Charges Dropped Against Man Beaten Unconscious by LAPD

Originally published on November 30, 2014, at NationofChange.org

After reviewing the video of LAPD officers viciously beating an apprehended suspect unconscious, prosecutors decided to drop all charges against the man who recently filed a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. As the defendant’s attorney announced plans to file a motion to release the footage of his arrest, prosecutors lost confidence in their ability to justify excessive police brutality.

Shortly after noon on October 16, Clinton Alford, Jr. was riding his bicycle home in South Los Angeles when a car pulled up behind him and the driver ordered him to stop. Since the man did not identify himself as a police officer, Alford continued pedaling until someone grabbed the back of his bike. Alford immediately jumped off his bike and fled.

While pursuing Alford on foot, officers used a Taser to subdue him. Without resisting, Alford fell onto the street and placed his hands behind his back. Two officers restrained Alford as a patrol car pulled up alongside them. A uniformed officer identified as Richard Garcia exited the car and began kicking Alford in the head.

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Rookie Cop Guns Down 12-Year-Old on Playground

Originally published on November 24, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A 12-year-old boy died this weekend after a Cleveland police officer shot him in the stomach on Saturday. Responding to a 911 call concerning a possible juvenile aiming a probably fake gun at people, a first-year rookie and a 10-year department veteran arrived at the playground and shot the 12-year-old. The officers later realized the boy had been playing with a toy BB gun.

While visiting his friends in the playground area outside Cuddell Recreation Center around 3:30pm on Saturday, 12-year-old Tamir Rice acquired an airsoft pistol with the orange safety indicator removed. As Tamir sat on the swings, he pulled the toy gun out of his waistband pretending to shoot people. A Cleveland resident called 911 to report “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.”

“I don’t know if it’s real or not,” the caller admitted.

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NYPD Cop Shoots and Kills Unarmed Man for No Reason

Originally published on November 23, 2014, at NationofChange.org

While routinely patrolling a Brooklyn housing project on Thursday night, an NYPD officer shot and killed an unarmed man who police admit had not been engaging in any criminal activity. The officer involved in the shooting claims he accidentally discharged his weapon, but city officials believe the officer’s inexperience and cowardice caused the innocent man’s death.

After hanging out at his girlfriend’s apartment on the seventh floor of the Louis H. Pink housing project in Brooklyn, Akai Gurley and his girlfriend Melissa Butler attempted to take the elevator downstairs around 11:15pm on Thursday. Tired of waiting for the elevator, Gurley and Butler chose to take the stairs down instead. Butler entered the dimly lit stairwell and began descending the steps as Gurley followed her.

On the floor above them, NYPD officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were conducting a routine vertical patrol of the building. As Officer Liang entered the stairwell from the eighth floor with his flashlight and gun drawn, he fired a single shot striking Gurley in the chest. Gurley managed to stagger down to the fifth floor where he collapsed.

“They didn’t identify themselves,” recalled Butler. “No nothing. They didn’t give no explanation. They just pulled a gun and shot him in the chest.”

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