The 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause states that every individual should enjoy equal protection under the law. What this says is that police officers do not have the right to interpret the level of protection an individual deserves based on his/her supposed worthiness. An unarmed individual, by right of his vulnerability, is entitled to the defense of police officers, not their aggression. A firearm automatically puts an individual in a superior position where they have the ability to mete out death. A police officer, who has been entrusted to use that ability with wisdom, has the duty not to use it unless he is met with equal, unequivocal force. Equal, unequivocal force is not the suspicion that an individual is reaching for a gun. It is the knowledge that an individual not only has a gun, but also has already fired it in intent to kill or harm. When an officer shoots an unarmed individual of any race, it is a human rights violation because that officer and has been given authority to exercise governmental power. When this power is abused, it is a violation of civil and human rights.
The United States is oddly hypocritical in their approach to other countries who they say violate civil rights. On one hand, the USA has a long and open history of enslaving humans, denying citizens (including women) the right to vote, and condoning murder by private citizens and government officials of minority citizens based of the personal prejudice that an individual with darker skin is not human. Minorities are killed by white police officers on a daily basis and white private citizens are allowed by flimsy laws such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground to kill Blacks if they see them walking through the neighborhood. Yet the United States has the temerity to lecture other countries on human rights. This is because the United States does not believe Blacks are human, therefore, the United States does not believe it is in violation of human rights.
The UN has a duty to investigate the shooting in Ferguson because the premise of the UN is to police world governments to ensure they are not abusing citizens. The United States, for once, needs to be held accountable for both its actions, but its lack of prosecution of the individuals it invest with power when they kill indiscriminately.
In the wake of the Ferguson shooting, hundreds of protestors took to the streets in anger and fear and grief to express their anger over the killing of a young, intelligent Black man. The police felt justified shooting him because he was Black, and they felt justified in responding with force against the protestors. Members of the international community find this ludicrous. Amnesty International issued a statement reflecting their disgust over denying citizens the right to peaceful protests.
Citizens of the United States have the responsibility to make a public outcry whenever police officers act unjustly. Citizens should protest, pack courtrooms, write to Congress, and allow their opinion to be known that they will not tolerate the shooting of unarmed individuals and the lack of accountability police officers face when they make these disturbing decisions. Voters should not allow officials back into office who do not respond appropriately to these situations.
In doing this assignment, I have learned about myself that I am an individual for values justice and equality under the law. I believe that the government should protect the people and I realize I am angry when this does not happen. It is my responsibility as a citizen of the world to voice my opinions on human rights violations.
Amnesty.org,. 'USA: Urgently Investigate Policing Methods After Use Of Lethal Force In Missouri | Amnesty International'. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Ohchr.org,. 'Welcome To The Human Rights Council'. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.