A commission of human rights experts asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague on Tuesday to investigate the pattern of systemic police violence against Black people in the US. This comes shortly after the commission released a 188-page report detailing the crimes against humanity committed by police and prosecutors in the US.
Commissioners investigated 43 cases of police murder, including the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tamir Rice, as well as Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed by law enforcement. Their stories were chosen out of thousands because the victims either posed no threat to the police at the time of their murder or were actively running away from police when they were killed or injured. Professor Lennox Hinds mentioned in a press conference on Tuesday that all of the victims studied were unarmed.
The report identified 11 themes common among many of the cases that signified a systemic pattern of racism, such as the use of pretextual stops that lead to excessive force, excessive use of lethal restraints, targeting of Black immigrants and complicity of legal actors in racist police killings through qualified immunity. They said that these murders, where police are able to kill with impunity, serve to further traumatize and intimidate Black communities.
Commissioners called on the US government to support legislation aimed at divesting resources from police and investing in communities that have been terrorized by law enforcement. They requested an end to qualified immunity and suggested legislation that would reduce the militarization of police forces.
They also asked the executive branch to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction and cooperate with the investigation for crimes against humanity. However, this would require ratification of the ICC’s Rome statute by the closely divided US Senate, which is unlikely.