Lethal Force

September 21, 2015

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There is a widespread and persistent problem of unnecessary or excessive force by police in the United States. The recent deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Ezell Ford and many others have set off a long-overdue conversation on race, policing and justice as well as protests around the country.

The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials set out strict human rights safeguards for the use of force. These standards provide that law enforcements should only use force as a last resort and that the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and injury. Amnesty International is concerned that state laws on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers do not comply with international standards and is calling on all states to review and revise their use of lethal force statutes in line with those standards.

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