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New U.N. Report On Torture Singles Out CPD For Excessive Force Against People of Color

By Jon Graef in News on Nov 30, 2014 9:00PM

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A new report from the United Nations Committee Against Torture about the United States specifically singles out for condemnation the Chicago Police Department for its treatment of people of color.

The report, which was created measure the cooperation of nations with the Convention Against Torture, says the following:

The Committee is particularly concerned at the reported current police violence in Chicago, especially against African-American and Latino young people who are allegedly being consistently profiled, harassed and subjected to excessive force by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers. It also expresses its deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals.

In this regard, the Committee notes the alleged difficulties to hold police officers and their employers accountable for abuses. While noting the information provided by the delegation that over the past five years 20 investigations were opened into allegations of systematic police department violations, and over 330 police officers were criminally prosecuted, the Committee regrets the lack of statistical data available on allegations of police brutality and the lack of information on the result of the investigations undertaken in respect of those allegations.

Of additional note is the report also singles out the use of tasers, particularly in the case of Dominique "Damo" Franklin Jr., who died after Chicago Police tasered him.

The Committee is concerned about numerous, consistent reports that police have used electrical discharge weapons against unarmed individuals who resist arrest or fail to comply immediately with commands, suspects fleeing minor crime scenes or even minors. Moreover, the Committee is appalled at the number of reported deaths after the use of electrical discharge weapons , including the recent cases of Israel “Reefa” Hern├índez Llach in Miami Beach, Florida, and Dominique Franklin Jr., ...

The committee recommended that "electrical discharge weapons"—such as tasers—"are used exclusively in extreme and limited situations - where there is a real and immediate threat to life or risk of serious injury...".

So how did the Chicago Police Department receive this, um, shout out? You can thank local grassroots organization We Charge Genocide, who traveled to Geneva to file a shadow report to the committee called Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color.

We Charge Genocide released the report in October.

More context from FireDogLake's Kevin Gosztola:

This is largely a result of a Chicago-based grassroots organization, We Charge Genocide, which produced a thorough “shadow report” and traveled to Geneva to present their findings to the UN committee. And the organization was pleased with their success, that the group’s experiences formed the “bedrock” of the committee’s concerns and recommendations.

“We went to Geneva as a delegation of We Charge Genocide with the intention of getting Chicago visibly named as a site for systematic, horrific & punitive police violence against Black and Brown youth on a daily basis, and it is safe to say that we achieved our goal,” the organization declared in a statement provided to Firedoglake.

The organization was “overwhelmed with gratitude” that police violence was “specifically named as a deep concern.”

On Thursday, December 11, We Charge Genocide hosts a presentation and panel about their report at Roosevelt University, where they will also discuss future organizing.

Read the full report here.