Newsweek - June 23, 2020
Police across the U.S. violated the human rights of peaceful protesters, journalists and bystanders more than 100 times during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, according to analysis by Amnesty International.
The organization has documented 125 separate instances of police violence against people in 40 states as well as Washington, D.C. between May 26 and June 5—a period in which hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country to protest police brutality and racism following Floyd's death after a white Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
On Tuesday, Amnesty International launched an interactive map marking incidents of unlawful use of force, which included beatings, misuse of tear gas and pepper spray and the firing of less-lethal projectiles such as rubber bullets. The abuses were committed by officers from state and local police departments, federal agencies and the National Guard, according to Amnesty International.
In order to evaluate the instances of police violence, Amnesty International's Crisis Evidence Lab collected almost 500 videos and photographs from social media and its investigators verified, geolocated and analyzed the content.
In some cases, researchers also interviewed victims and confirmed inappropriate conduct with police departments.
For instance, during a joint patrol of a neighborhood in Minneapolis on May 30, Minneapolis police and Minnesota National Guardsmen unlawfully shot 37/40mm impact projectiles at people standing on their front porches, the Amnesty International analysis found.
...Another instance highlighted was Philadelphia state and city police's use of tear gas and pepper spray to remove dozens of peaceful protesters from the Vine Street Expressway on June 1.
Lizzie Horne, one of the protesters hit by the tear gas, told Amnesty International: "Out of the blue, they started breezing pepper spray into the crowd. There was one officer on the median who was spraying as well. Then they started with tear gas."
Horne said a protester who had a tear gas canister hit his head had a seizure and as other protesters were trying to move him out of the firing line, police started firing more tear gas.
"They started gassing in a kettle formation—we were against a big fence that people had to jump over, up a steep hill. The fence was maybe six feet tall. People started putting their hands up—but the cops wouldn't let up. It was can after can after can. We were encapsulated in gas. We were drooling and coughing uncontrollably," she said. ...
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