All 50 states fail to meet int’l standards on lethal force by police – Amnesty

Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
​All 50 US states and the District of Columbia fail to meet international standards for the use of lethal force by law enforcement, according to an Amnesty International report. It also found that 13 states have laws that don't comply with US standards.

The international standards, found in the United Nations' Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, call for lethal force to be used only as a last resort, to protect officers from death or serious injury. However, not a single state in the entire US has a law that supports such a notion.

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"Police have a fundamental obligation to protect human life," said Steven Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, as quoted by USA Today. "Deadly force must be reserved as a method of absolute last resort. The fact that absolutely no state laws conform to this standard is deeply disturbing and raises serious human rights concerns."

Meanwhile, 13 states have laws that don't comply with domestic constitutional standards, and all states lack specific accountability mechanisms for officer-involved killings – including mandatory reporting that a firearm has been used, as well as prompt and impartial investigations into killings.

In addition, the 41-page report revealed that nine states currently have no laws that even deal with the issue of lethal force by officers.

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Hawkins has called on states to change and create laws dealing with lethal force.

The Amnesty report also suggests that President Obama and the US Justice Department (DOJ) should create a national commission to review law enforcement policies, and that the DOJ should publish nationwide figures on police shootings.

The report comes amid growing concern surrounding police overreach, after the highly publicized deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray.

The deaths sparked protests and riots around the country, along with a nationwide debate about law enforcement and race relations.