Amnesty International Would Like The United States To Demilitarize Its Cops, Please
Across the country, at protests in practically every city there is, US police are going nuts. They're dressed in riot gear. They're attacking protesters. They're attacking journalists, and they're attacking John Cusack, which makes this whole nightmare seem like a particularly surreal one, but that is somehow a thing that happened in real life.
Cops didn’t like me filming the burning car so they came at me with batons. Hitting my bike. Ahhm here’s the aud… https://t.co/44i3603nAg— John Cusack (@John Cusack)1590900231.0
That's just one video of so many videos, but if you listen to the way the cop is speaking, there's no wonder why violence has escalated. I've been in many protests that were perfectly peaceful until the cops showed up and started busting heads. They're absolutely terrifying. The way they're dressed, the way they stand, the way they yell and the way they casually hurt people as if it's nothing is probably one of the more sickening things a person can witness in this world. Some people might comfort themselves by saying, "Oh they only bother the people who are breaking the law!" but that is not the case. It's the cops who escalate things by going after anyone they can get their hands on, tear gassing people and shooting them with rubber bullets.
On Sunday, Rachel Ward, National Director of Research at Amnesty International USA issued a statement demanding that the United States end military policing and the use of excessive force against protesters. Yes. Things have gotten so bad that we now have international human rights organizations issuing official statements against the abuse of human rights here, in the United States of America.
"In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force.
"Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable.
"US police across the country are failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters.
"Police must engage in de-escalation, before the situation worsens."[...]
"Racism and white supremacy are fuelling these killings and the police response to the protests.
"President Trump must end his violent and discriminatory rhetoric and policies, and the US government - at all levels - must ensure the right to protest as guaranteed by international law."[...]
"The police must de-militarise their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organisers to reduce tensions and prevent violence, or to stop it as soon as it breaks out, to protect the right to peaceful assembly.
"All unnecessary or excessive force must cease immediately, and all instances of potentially excessive or unnecessary force against protesters must be investigated. Any officers who broke the law must be held accountable."
These are all very obvious things. We all know these things and likely, anyone who is reading Wonkette agrees with all of these things. We hope. But the fact that we've now got Amnesty International stepping in? I remember, when I was a kid and signing and mailing all those Amnesty International letters about brutal dictators and human rights violations in other countries with messed up justice systems, and damn. Now we are the country with the brutal dictator and the human rights violations and the messed up justice system. To be fair, we had the last two things when I was in elementary school signing those letters (Hey, we didn't have Twitter, ok?) as well, but the full-on flashy, brutal dictator thing is a little new.
We've never been great, but when you're International Human Rights Organization decides it's time to intervene not great, perhaps it's time to take a beat and reevaluate some things. Or it would be, if our government were even sort of not a fascist regime. Sadly, they probably consider this a badge of honor.
Anyway, this is now your open thread! Talk amongst yourselves!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse