UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday condemned the killing of George Floyd, an African American man whose death in police custody on Monday was captured on video and has led to serious ongoing protests in Minneapolis.
“This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by US police officers and members of the public,” Bachelet said. “I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police — as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public.”
“The US authorities must take serious action to stop such killings, and to ensure justice is done when they do occur. Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed.”
“I welcome the fact that the Federal authorities have announced that an investigation will be prioritized,” she said. “But in too many cases in the past, such investigations have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures.”
“The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognized and dealt with,” she added.
While saying she understood the anger unleashed by Floyd’s killing, Bachelet urged people in Minneapolis and elsewhere to protest peacefully.
“Violence and destruction of property won’t solve the problem of police brutality and enshrined discrimination,” she said. “I urge protestors to express their demands for justice peacefully, and I urge the police to take utmost care not enflame the current situation even more with any further use of excessive force.” (UNHRC)