IACHR condemns the deaths of Tyre Nichols and Keenan Anderson due to police violence in the United States of America

February 9, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killings of Tyre Nichols and Keenan Anderson, which occurred in January 2023, as a result of police violence in the United States of America. The IACHR has also noted with concern that other persons of African descent were brutally killed in 2022 due to police violence in the United States of America.

On January 10, 2023, 5 Memphis, Tennessee police officers beat 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died three days later in a hospital under in police-custody. Moreover, police officers brutally assaulted, using taser shocks, 31-year-old Keenan Anderson in Los Angeles on January 3, 2023, who died hours later in police custody.

Additionally, the use of excessive force from police officers in the United States of America brutally killed at least 5 people of African descent in 2022. It was noted with concern that in February, 2022, Amir Locke died during a search procedure by Minneapolis police; in April, 2022, Patrick Lyoya died due to excessive use of police force in Michigan; in June, 2022, Jayland Walker, died after he was shot by Ohio police; in August, 2022, Donovan Lewis, died after he was shot and killed by a police officer while unarmed at his home in Ohio; and in October, 2022, Porter Burks, who suffered from schizophrenia, was shot to death by Detroit police officers.

The IACHR also notes with concern the impact of security and criminal justice policies in the United States of America, that disproportionately affect the enjoyment of human rights, especially the rights to life and humane treatment, by people of African descent. These security and criminal justice policies deepen the inequalities in urban areas with a higher demographic composition of this racial group.

The IACHR believes that the policies and practices of police and security forces should be closely scrutinized to eliminate explicit and implicit racial bias. In order to ensure better policies and practices in the police force, the IACHR recommends that the State take the following actions: the effective implementation of independent surveillance and control of police action; continuous training of police officers in human rights content; conflict mediation and violence reduction training; introduce mechanisms for social and community participation in the evaluation and determination of surveillance and patrol priorities; as well as the adoption of affirmative measures for the effective access to justice of people of African descent, as recommended in the IACHR's 2019 report Police Violence against Afro-descendants in the United States.

Moreover, the Inter-American Commission also reiterates its call to the State to prevent and eradicate acts of institutional violence linked to patterns of racial discrimination against people of African descent; and to amongst other measures, reform the protocols and guidelines of local, state, and federal bodies that ensure the investigation and punishment of the use of racial profiling and other explicit or implicit discriminatory practices, while guaranteeing timely and comprehensive reparations for victims, including measures of satisfaction, guarantees of non-repetition, and compensation.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 019/23

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