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Coalition Calls for United Nations Inquiry into US Police Violence

Families of Victims of Police Brutality, Civil Society Groups Write to Ensure Effective Accountability and Follow-up to HRC Resolution 43/1

10 May 2021

H.E. Michelle Bachelet
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis CH-1201
Geneva, Switzerland

Re: The UN Human Rights Council’s role to ensure effective accountability and follow-up to HRC Resolution 43/1

Dear High Commissioner,

The families of victims of police violence and undersigned civil society organizations write with regard to the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/43/1) on the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against systemic racism, excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers.

We appreciate your response to our calls, in particular your affirmation to the Council that the report will reflect and amplify the voices of victims who are people of African descent, their families and communities. We also welcome that the report will examine the root causes that have enabled systemic racism and police violence, including the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, and its context of colonialism. We appreciate the broad outreach to civil society and the organization of several regional and national-level consultations over the past months and your recognition of the indispensable role of civil society in the process of preparing the report.

As you rightly stated in your update to the Council, we cannot let the urgency felt in the Council in June 2020 subside. We share your assessment that the Council “can contribute to making this moment a critical turning point in the respect and protection of the human rights of people of African descent.”

In light of your update to the Council that the report will “recommend an agenda for transformative change to dismantle systemic racism and police brutality against Africans and people of African descent, and to advance accountability and redress for victims”, we wish to make the following recommendations and suggestions regarding the Council’s role to ensure effective accountability and follow-up. While we appreciate that the call for inputs reflected many of our recommendations, we note that it did not include a specific question on the Council’s role in this regard.

The families of victims of police violence and many of our organizations have called on the Council to mandate an independent inquiry into the killings and violent law enforcement responses to protests, including the attacks against protesters and journalists in the United States. The Special Procedures strongly urged the Council to establish a commission of inquiry to “investigate systemic racism in law enforcement in the United States” and a “thematic commission of inquiry or other mechanism empowered to investigate systemic racism in law enforcement globally, especially where it is related to legacies of colonialism and transatlantic slavery.”

While we commend the Biden administration for leading a cross-regional joint statement on countering racism and signaling other policy changes to address racial inequities, we believe that a robust international accountability mechanism would further support and complement, not undermine, efforts to dismantle systemic racism in the United States, especially in the context of police violence against people of African descent.

Police in the United States kill nearly 1,000 people every year. The epidemic of police violence has been directly and disproportionately targeted at people of color. Indigenous People and people of African descent experience the highest rates of fatal police shootings, followed by Latinx people. For example, in 2019, Black and Indigenous people were approximately three times more likely than white people to be fatally shot by police. One study found that young unarmed male victims of deadly force by police are 13 times more likely to be Black than white. Stunningly, for young men of color, police use of force is now among the leading causes of death. While there is a dearth of research examining racial disparities in police killings among non-male and nonbinary populations, some data indicates that although women are less likely than men to be killed by police overall, Black women and Indigenous women are more likely to be killed by police than white women. Furthermore, while police killings are higher in high- poverty areas than low-poverty areas for all racial groups, Black people who live in more affluent areas are almost as likely to be killed by police as white people who live in the poorest areas.

Although exact statistics are difficult to find, more often than not, officers are not investigated or prosecuted for the killings of civilians. 98.3 percent of killings by police from 2013- 2020 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime. Between 2005 and 2015, only 54 officers were charged after police-involved killings, despite the thousands of such incidents that occurred over the same time period. Impunity for police killings in the United States, especially those of people of African descent, continues unabated despite the recent settlement in the George Floyd civil lawsuit and the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis City police officer who murdered him. Furthermore, federalism in the United States, long-standing legal obstacles to achieving justice for police killings, and decentralized police institutions of over 18,000 law enforcement agencies (that are not directly accountable to the federal Executive Branch) make it extremely daunting to end impunity, even for well- intentioned federal Administrations.

We recall that the original draft resolution called on the Council to establish these mechanisms; however, the Council adopted a watered-down resolution due to enormous diplomatic pressure from the United States under the Trump administration and other allied countries.

We urge you to support the calls made by victims’ families, civil society and Special Procedures by including in the report specific recommendations to the Council in this regard. We also urge you to remind Member States that the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism were grave violations of international law that require States to make reparations proportionate to the harms committed and to ensure that structures in the society that are perpetuating the injustices of the past are transformed. Furthermore, we urge you to call on Member States to adopt a national plan of action to eliminate systemic racism and racial discrimination and to double their efforts and allocation of resources to achieve racial equality including through the adoption of reparations schemes to remedy historic racial injustices.

Please accept our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the enormous work you do each day as the world’s collective human rights conscience.


The Families of the Victims of Police Brutality, by year that they lost their loved one:

The Family of Daunte Wright, killed by Brooklyn Center, MN Police
Kenisha Kinard, son Daverion Kinard, killed by Fontana, CA Police
Melody S. Cooper, son Kwamena Appah Fynn Ocran, killed by Gaithersburg, MD Police

Philonise Floyd & Quincy Mason, brother & father George Floyd killed by Minneapolis, MN Police
Addie Kitchen, son Steven DeMarco Taylor killed by San Leandro, CA Police
Adrienne Moore, son Derick Lamar Powe, killed by Daphne, AL Police
Amy Fizer, daughter Hannah Renee Fizer killed by Pettis County, MO Police
Cathy Denise Legato, son Anthony Legato killed by Pine County, MN Sheriff
Jeannie Williams, son John Henry Ross II killed by Harrisonburg City Police, Rockingham County VA Sheriffs, and VA State Police
Paula Watson Livingstone, son Timothy Darryl Sides Jr. killed by Caldwell County, NC Sheriff
Deborah Sanchez, daughter Jorden Marie Simms died in Graham County, AZ Police custody
Desiree Lauren, son Sterling Humbert killed by Carrollton, TX Police
Donna Marie Martin, brother Andre Cartel Gladen killed by Portland Oregon, Police
Irma Woodard-Duncklee, son Michael Lee Duncklee killed by Tucson, AZ Police
Joanne Rojas, son Josiah Pinner killed by Hillsborough County, FL Sheriff
Kim Vaughn, former husband Mohammad Isaifan killed by Akron, OH Police
Lisa Finch, daughter Adelina Finch killed by Wichita, KS Police
Roxane Johnson, son Jamaal K. Byrd died in Washington, DC Police custody
Tammie Atchison Featherstone, nephew Jimmy Atchison killed by Atlanta, GA Police
Toni Biegert, son Joseph R. Biegert killed by Green Bay, WI Police
Trena & Quiana Miller, son TreShun Miller killed by Arlington, TX Police

Azucena Albrethsen, son Jacob E. Albrethsen killed by Orem Police
Barbara Okamoto, grandson Christopher A. Okamoto killed by Bakersfield, CA Police
Bernice Roundtree, son Charles Roundtree Jr. killed by San Antonio Police
Catherine Young, son D’Quan Young killed by Washington DC Police
Denise Price, son Jeffrey Price Jr. killed in collision with Washington, DC Police
Iris E. Salazar, daughter Leslie Salazar killed by Austin, TX Police
Karla Gonsalez, son Agustin A. Gonsalez killed by Hayward, CA Police
Lisa Vargas, son Anthony Daniel Vargas killed by Los Angeles County, CA Sheriff’s Deputies
Sabrina Passalaqua Courtroul, son Tommy Henley killed by Westminster, CO Police
Tessa Andrews-Biele, son Keaton James Larson killed by Stillwater, MN Police
Tiffany Simpson, son Logan Simpson killed by Bixby, OK Police
Tynesha Renee Tilson, son Shali Vladimir Francis Tilson killed by Rockdale, GA Sheriff

Aaron Heather Nordin, brother Jason Fanning killed by St. Joseph Police
Angelique Negroni-Kearse, husband Andrew Kearse killed by Schenectady Police
Ann Cortez, son Santino Trevino II killed by Los Angeles, CA Police
Annice Evans, son Angel Ramos killed by Vallejo, CA Police
Candance Gipp, brother G. Ryan Gipp Jr. killed by Standing Rock Police Department
Christine Ann Amaro & Marissa Barrera, son & brother Michael Anthony Barrera killed by Woodland, CA Police
Constance Joann McGuire, Tavaris Khalil McGuire killed by Kokomo Police
Cynthia Brown, nephew Kareen Ali Nadir Jones killed by Columbus, OH Police
Denise Fanning, son Jason Fanning killed by St. Joseph, MO Police
Dionne Burney, son Ke’Sharn Burney killed by Harrison, OH Police Task Force
Donna Chisesi, son Jonathan David Victor killed by Baldwin County, AL Sheriff’s Office
Gina Torres, son Isaiah Hammett killed by St. Louis City SWAT/ St. Louis, MO Police
James & Kelly Ghaisar, son Bijan Ghaisar killed by Park Police in Northern Virginia
Kathy Scott-Lykes, son Jarvis Lykes killed by Georgia State Troopers
Katrina Johnson, cousin Charleena Lyles killed by Seattle, WA Police
Kimberly Handy-Jones, son Cordale Q. Handy, killed by St. Paul, MN Police
Krystal Wagner, son Shane Allen Jensen killed by Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Lethia Kizer, son Darrion Barnhill, killed by Henderson County, TN Police
Lisa Finch, son Andrew Finch killed by Wichita, KS Police
Marion Jones-Tamba, son Tyler J. Lee killed by Dekalb County Police
Mary ‘Theresa’ Wynne, son Dominique Tyrell White killed by Topeka, KS Police
Natasha Manning, son Arties Manning III killed by New Orleans, LA Police
Pochya Mifflin, son Cedric Jamal Mifflin killed by Phenix City, AL Police
Rosie Chavez, nephew Jacob Dominguez killed by San Jose Police
Shae Powell, son James Daniel Jill killed by Arapahoe County Sheriff Department
Tiffany Tabares, son Dillan Tabares killed by Huntington Beach, CA Police
Valerie Rivera, son Eric Rivera killed by Los Angeles, CA Police Department
Vanessa Moore, son Hayden Stutz killed by Canton, OH Police

Adrienne Hood, son Henry Green killed by Columbus, OH Police
Alice Corley, son Lionel Vincent Gibson Jr. killed by Long Beach, CA Police
Ayanna Johnson, son Darius Wimberly killed by Bent Harbor, MI Police
Cruz Weick, son Sergio Daniel Weick killed by Vista, CA Sheriff’s Department
Dalphine Jabril Robinson, son Jabril B. Robinson killed by Clayton County, GA Police
Emily Gonzales, son Jordan Love killed by Corpus Christi, TX Police
Felicia Thomas, son Nicholas Thomas killed by Smyrna, GA Police
Heather Boland, cousin Bodhi Phelps killed by Gresham, OR Police
Irene Kalonji, son Christopher Kalonji killed by Clackamas, OR Sheriffs & Officers
Jacqueline Minifield-Brown, son D’Londre Minifield killed by Winchester, VA Police
Kia Villarreal, husband Francisco Villarreal killed by Bakersfield, CA Police
Kim Thomas, son Earl Shaleek Pickney killed by Harrisburg, PA Police
Kristina Murphy, husband Christopher Murphy killed by Woodland, CA Highway Patrol
Laura Marquez, son in law Albert B. Thompson killed by Ceres, CA Police
Lorenza Olivares, son Elias Portillo killed by Dallas, TX Police
Monteria Robinson, son Jamarion Robinson killed by Atlanta, GA Police
Pattie Gonzalez, Lulu & Marissa Valenzuela-Ronquillo, and Marie Confinco, husband and nephew Fermin Vincent Valenzuela killed by Anaheim, CA Police
Rhanda Dormeus, daughter Korryn Gaines killed by Baltimore, MD Police
Sandy Sanchez, son Anthony Nunez killed by San Jose, CA Police
Vicki Timpa, son Tony Timpa killed by Dallas, TX Police

Annemarie Grant, brother Thomas Purdy killed by Washoe County Sheriffs & Reno Police
Beverly Smith, son Alonzo Smith, killed by Special Police Officers in Washington, D.C.
Diane Guilford Humphreys, son Deven Guilford killed by Eaton County, MI Sheriff Department
Dominic Archibald, son Nathaniel Pickett II killed by San Bernardino County, CA Sheriff
Dorothy Osteen, son Bertrand Davis killed by Dallas, TX Police
Greg & Tammy Dyksma, son Nicholas Dyksma killed by Harris County, GA Deputy
Holly Galbraith Hester, son Delaney Hester beaten by Keller, TX Police
Holly Quigley-Papke, son Patrick Wetter killed by Stockton, CA Police
Judy Alderman Edens, son Jason Alderman killed by Bakersfield Police
Kimberly Davis, son Kimoni Davis killed by Hanging Rock, OH Police
LaToya Howell, son Justus Howell killed by Zion, IL Police
Lynn Eagle Feather, son Paul Castaway killed by Denver, CO Police Department
Pamela Fields, cousin Derrick Hunt killed by Long Beach, CA Police
Sarah Fitch, son Samuel Toshiro Smith killed by Seattle, WA Police
Sharon Irwin, grandson Tony Terrell Robinson, killed by Madison, WI Police
Sheila Banks, godson Corey Jones killed by Palm Beach Gardens, FL Police
Officer Stephanie Babb, brother Captain Brian Avon Babb killed by Eugene, OR Police
Tania Hudson, son Deaunte Bell killed by Columbus, OH Police
Tina Taylor, son Christian Taylor killed by Arlington, TX Police

Cheryl and Deborah Jones, son and nephew Marquise Jones killed by San Antonio, TX Police
Deanna Joseph, son Andrew Joseph III killed by Hillsborough County Sheriff Tampa, FL
Denise Rankin, son DaRon Gaylor Jr. killed by Flint, MI Police
Dorothy Holmes, son Ronald Johnson III killed by Chicago, IL Police
Gina Thayne, nephew Dillon Taylor killed by Salt Lake City Police
Isabelle Padilla, son Joseph Valverde killed by Denver, CO Police
Janet Baker, son Jordan Baker killed by Houston, TX Police
Jindia Blount, brother Juan May killed by Arlington, TX Police
Kathy Roberts Gaynier, son Andrew Gaynier killed by Dallas, TX Police
Laurie Valdez, partner Antonio Guzman Lopez killed by San Jose State, CA Police
Letty DeLarosa, son James DeLarosa killed by Bakersfield, CA Police
Lisa Mays-Parramore, son Kelvin Mays killed by Garland, TX Police
Maria Hamilton, son Dontre D. Hamilton, killed by Milwaukee, WI Police
Mary Wilsey, son Keith Vidal killed by Southport, NC Sheriff Department
Michael Brown Sr. & Lezley McSpadden, son Michael Brown Jr. killed by Ferguson, MO Police
Pamela Brooks, son Amir De’Mani Brooks killed by Prince George’s County Police
Pamela Fields, nephew Donte Parker killed by San Bernardino County Sheriff
Patricia L. & Richard Perez, grandson Richard Pedro Perez III, killed by Richman, CA Police
Shirley & Sean Harrison, son & brother Jason Harrison killed by Dallas, TX Police Department
Syreeta Myers, son VonDerrit Myers Jr. killed by St. Louis, MO Police
Tressa Sherrod, son John H. Crawford III killed by Beavercreek, OH Police
Vanessa White, son Victor White III killed by Iberia Parish, LA Sheriff Department
Vickie McNeill Williams, son Tinoris Williams killed by Palm Beach County, FL Sheriff Department

Chantell Brooks, son Michael Westley killed by Chicago, IL Police
Collette Flanagan, son Clinton Allen killed by Dallas, TX Police
Jenette Munoz, brother Salvador Munoz killed by Dallas, TX Police
Kristine Rose, son Jessie Rose killed by Utica, NY Police
Mary Wills, son Taylor Thompson killed by Escambia County, FL Sheriff
Milca Perez & Gerardo Pineda Sr., son Gerardo Pineda Jr. killed by Dallas, TX Police
Montye A. Benjamin, son Jayvis L. Benjamin killed by Avondale Estate Police, Decatur, GA
Murlene Spinks, son Anthony Skeaton killed in Placer County Jail
Pamela Fields, son Donte Jordan killed by Long Beach, CA Police
Royce Eckley, son Marcus Anthony Merritt Sr. killed by Louisiana State Police
Susana Lopez, son DeAngelo Lopez killed by Compton, CA Sheriff Department
Tawanda Jones, brother Tyrone West killed by Baltimore, MD Police
Toni Taylor, son Cary Ball Jr. killed by St. Louis, MO Police
Tyann Lavonne Salgardo, son Derek Brown killed by Tennessee State Troopers
Val Greenoak, son Jesse Hamilton killed by Santa Rosa Police Department
Valarie Carey, sister Miriam Carey killed by U.S. Secret Service & Capital Police in Washington D.C.
Virginia Bradford, son Fred Bradford killed by Dallas, TX Police

Amalia Villafane, son Sebastian Gregory shot 6 times by Miami-Dade County, FL Police
Ashley Harper, brother James Harper killed by Dallas, TX Police
Cynthia Mitchell, son Mario Romero killed by Vallejo, CA Police
Genevieve A. Huizar, son Manuel Diaz killed by Anaheim, CA Police
Jeralynn Brown-Blueford, son Alan Blueford killed by Oakland, CA Police
Krissy Johnson, father Inzer Allen Johnson killed by Rainbow City, AL Police
Lydia and Richard Adams, son Seth Issac Adams killed by Palm Beach, FL Sheriff Department
Martinez Sutton, sister Rekia Boyd killed by off-duty Chicago, IL Detective
Yolanda McNair, daughter Adaisha Miller killed by off-duty Detroit, MI Police

Anita Harris, grandson Dawntrae Ta’Shawn Williams killed by Gwinnett City, GA Police
Anita Willis, grandson Kerry Baxter killed by Oakland, CA Police
Bridzette Lane, son Ralphael Briscoe killed by Washington DC Police
Jean Thaxton, son Michael Lee Nida II killed by Downey, CA Police

Alicia Alvarez, son Johnathan Cuevas killed by Los Angeles, CA Sheriff’s Department, 2010
Dionne Smith, son James Rivera Jr. killed by Stockton, CA Police, 2010
Theresa Smith, son Caesar Cruz killed by Anaheim, CA Police, 2009
Wanda Johnson, son Oscar Grant killed by BART Police in Oakland, CA, 2009
Darlene Cain, son Dale Graham killed by Baltimore, MD Police, 2008
Lola Jones, son Derrick Jones killed by Dallas, TX Police, 2008
Alicia Kirkman, son Angelo Miller killed by Cleveland, OH Police, 2007
Antoinette Washington, son Brandon Washington killed by Dallas, TX Police, 2007
Corie Angle Cline, brother Joe Whitehouse killed by Anaheim, CA Police, 2007
Sandra Lane, nephew Bobby Walker killed by Dallas, TX Police, 2007
Theresa James, partner Jay Martin Murphy Sr. killed by Albuquerque, NM Police, 2007
Verbena Hawkins, son Trinton Hawkins killed by Dallas, TX Police, 2007
Greta Willis, son Kevin L. Cooper killed by Baltimore City police, 2006
Kat Espinosa, son Asa Benjamin Sullivan killed by San Francisco, CA Police, 2006
Patricia Scott, son Raemawn Scott killed by Powder Spring, GA Police, 2003
Deborah Forge, son Keenen L. Forge killed by Dallas, TX Police, 2002

Marion Gray-Hopkins, son Gary Hopkins Jr. killed by Prince George County, MD Police, 1999
Dorothy Copp Elliot, mother Archie ‘Artie’ Elliot III, killed by District Heights and Prince George’s County, MD Police. 1993
Vicki & Sara Mokuria, father Tesfaie Mokuria killed by Dallas, TX Police, 1992

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