No one could believe, now some 70 years after it was founded, that the United Nations’ condemnation of United States’ violations of human rights will have much of an impact. Nonetheless, the fact is the U.N. just condemned the way people are arrested, brutalized, and jailed in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
“I’m not surprised that the world’s eyes are focused on police issues in the U.S.,” said Alba Morales, who investigates the U.S. criminal justice system at Human Rights Watch.
“There is an international spotlight that’s been shone [on the issues], in large part due to the events in Ferguson and the disproportionate police response to even peaceful protesters,” she said.
Anticipating the comments to come, James Cadogan, a senior counselor to the U.S. assistant attorney general, told delegates gathered in Geneva, “The tragic deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Missouri, Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice in Ohio and Walter Scott in South Carolina have renewed a long-standing and critical national debate about the even-handed administration of justice. These events challenge us to do better and to work harder for progress — through both dialogue and action.”
All of the names he mentioned are black men or boys who were killed by police officers or died shortly after being arrested. The events have sparked widespread anger and unrest over the past year.
Cadogan added that the Department of Justice has opened more than 20 investigations in the last six years — including an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department — as well as the release of a report of the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing in March, which included more than 60 recommendations.
But advocates like Morales say the U.S. could do much more.
“Use of excessive force by police was a major part of this year’s UPR, and the fact that we still don’t have a reliable national figure to know how many people are killed by police or what the racial breakdown is of those people is a travesty,” she said. “A nation as advanced as the U.S. should be able to gather that number.”
The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.
Your Intrepid Reporter is confused, how the reporter can quote Senior Counsel to the United States Assistant Attorney General, and then turn around and say that the Justice Department — which, last I looked, is run by an appointee called the Attorney General — did not make a comment. Who the hell is the Assistant Attorney General if not an official spokesperson for the Justice department?
Well, of course, with reporting that insults your intelligence, it’s hard to say what the hell is going on. Isn’t it.
Still, it does appear to be the case that the militarist clique that runs the U.S. has apparently behaved towards its less fortunate fellow citizens of the Republic for Which It Stands in a manner that offends officials of the so-called United Nations.
For what it’s worth.