[JURIST] Amnesty International [advocacy website] said [AI report] Thursday that all 50 US states fall below international standards on police use of lethal force. The report indicates that many states have no regulation on police use of lethal force or ones that fall below international standards. UN principles [text] on the use of lethal force limit force to “unavoidable instance in order to protect life after less extreme means have failed,” but the majority of states do not require police to use less-violent means before lethal force nor do they require them to identify their intent to use lethal force. The report also indicated that 13 US states fall below the US’s own constitutional standards established in Tennessee v. Garner [Oyez Project backgrounder] which states that police may not use deadly force to prevent a suspect from escaping “unless the officer believes that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” An investigation [Gaurdian report] revealed that 522 people have been killed by police this year and from those statistic black people were twice as likely as white people to be unarmed during the encounter.
Racial tension has recently mounted in the US following several police killings of unarmed black men. in January Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. After a grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who last year shot and killed Micheal Brown [USA Today Timeline], an African American teenager, there was a large uproar from the Ferguson community that led to mass protests and violence in some instances. The case had reached international news with AI reporting [JURIST report] human rights abuses by Ferguson Police in late October. In early October a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the police tactics used on protesters was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction. The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] also published a report [JURIST report] arguing that increased militarization of police forces is putting citizens at risk rather than protecting them.