Police in Ferguson committed an array of human rights abuses during the protests that followed the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, according to a new report.
A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department said they “had one mission, and that was the preservation of life.” Yes, where do we draw the line for preservation of life and violating human rights?
Here are some of the alleged human right abuses detailed in the report:
Police used force, including tear gas and rubber bullets, against peaceful protesters.
The report — which lists the examples of police force in a section on “human rights concerns” — acknowledges that some looting and vandalism took place. However, it adds that the police response punished protesters and vandals alike (p. 6). It also was unclear if police gave lawful orders to disperse, the report adds (p. 12).
Police forced protesters to “keep moving or be arrested.”
The report criticizes the tactic on a variety of grounds, including that it was arbitrarily applied and that a “protest zone” for people to rest in was an improper solution. The report also notes that some felt the order to keep moving was designed to tire out protesters and get them to go home. Several people at the scene mentioned similar concerns to BuzzFeed News reporters as well.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon imposed a curfew during the protests.
Police intimidated protesters and the media.
The report also details ways in which police restricted the media, including arresting at least 19 journalists (p. 16).
The report expresses skepticism that Brown posed a threat to police before he was killed, and calls for a thorough investigation into his death.
Amnesty International did not receive any official response from Capt. Ron Johnson, who commanded law enforcement during the protests.
The delegates presented Johnson with a series of questions, but neither he nor a spokesperson of the Missouri Department of Public Safety — who also attended the meeting — had responded by the time the report was written.
Source: 26-page Amnesty International report