Press release: Monday, the 30th of January 2023, 00.01 am GMT

The International Commissioners, from the International Commission of Inquiry on the Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States, which reported on the extrajudicial police killings of people of African descent, have condemned the appalling murder of Tyre Nichols by the former members of the Memphis Police Department.

The International Commission of Inquiry completed its mandate in June 2021 after its Report was submitted to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR), with recommendations submitted to the US Congress, the Executive Branch of the United States, state and local governments, the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights and Member States of the African Union.

Mr. Tyre Nichols, a 29 year old father of a 4 year old son, was subject to a traffic stop by five police officers who were of African-American ethnic origin. The ethnicity of the victim was the same as his assailants. He died three days after the beating he received. The video footage is reminiscent of the appalling beating given to Rodney King, but sadly Mr Nichols did not survive. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Tyre Nichols.

At no point did he offer any resistance, he cried for this mother and died within walking distance of his home. The five officers have been sacked and charged with 2nd Degree murder. It is arguable they should be charged with 1st degree murder as they had time to reflect on their actions and chose to continue to use lethal force. Several other officers and paramedics failed in their duty of care to a fellow human being with a fundamental right to life. There is one white officer who has not been charged who probably should be.

The Commission of Inquiry found that the systematic murder, torture and inhuman treatment of people of African descent in the United States of America constitutes an international crime against humanity warranting an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

The undersigned Commissioners have been joined in this condemnation by an array of international advocates for social justice that include the former Chief Justice of Kenya, Dr. Willy Mutunga, Prof. P.
L.O. Lumumba, Irungu Houghton of Amnesty International Kenya, the Reverend Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, Lee Jasper, the former adviser to the Mayor of London, U.K. members of Parliament, Bell Ribeiro-Addy M.P., and Claudia Webbe, M.P., and organisations, such as Pan African Lawyers Union, Blaksox, Operation Black Vote, and the Society of Black Lawyers U.K.

Milton Grimes, Attorney for the late Rodney King, commented,

“The beating of Rodney King should have been a wake up call to address the military style racist police culture of violence in the US, but sadly nothing has changed. The US is not a war zone but the violence impacted on African Americans speaks of a culture of impunity, and an oppressive use of force. The aggressive nature of policing in the US is a national disgrace falling well below international standards.”

Judge D Peter Herbert O.B.E., a former Commissioner commented,

“It is an absolute disgrace that the lives of African Americans continue to be taken by unlawful and malicious police violence. The tragedy is no less serious because the perpetrators were also African American officers. The systematic use of force by law enforcement officers undermines the rule of law and democracy in the United States.”

Yetunde Asika, International Counsel to Attorneys for the Tyre Nichols Family and Co. Chair Bandung Africa, commented,

“We will not stand idly by and allow this kind of senseless violence to continue. We will continue to fight for justice for Tyre Nichols and all those who have suffered at the hands of police brutality both on the Continent and in the diaspora. We hope that the speed and swift action taken in firing and charging the 5 officers sets a precedent for future cases of police brutality.”

Lee Jasper, former Adviser on Policing to the Mayor of London and chair of UK Alliance of Police Accountability said,

“The barbaric murder of Tyre Nicholas, following on from the endless roll call of the names of previous victims of tragic police brutality indicates the enduring nature of US policing culture that is systematic and institutionally racist and is so powerful as to resist over 100 years of consistent, determined attempts to reform the institution. Both America and the UK need Civil Rights Bill 2.0. The police are beyond reform.“

The words of Malcolm X are as true now as they ever were,

“The police…..put their club upside your head then turn around and accuse you of attacking them.
Every case of police brutality against a Negro follows the same pattern….. What kind of democracy is
that? What kind of freedom is that? What kind of social or political system is it when a black man has no voice in Court ….. brothers and sisters we have to put a stop to this, and it will never be stopped until we stop it ourselves….”

The United States must restrict the use of firearms and the extrajudicial killings of people of colour which are all too often carried out with impunity. We applaud the fact that, on this rare occasion, the officers were dismissed, and they are facing second-degree murder charges.

Law-enforcement officers have a duty to serve and protect the African-American community and cannot continue to be the perpetrators of unlawful violence on a section of society that all too often is treated as second-class citizens.

We call upon the office of the President of the United States to create an Independent National Federal Law Enforcement Oversight Commission, with power to monitor and regulate the performance of all 18,000 police departments in the United States, implementing a zero-tolerance policy for instances of police brutality and use of excessive and deadly force.

Judge (Rtd) D Peter Herbert O.B.E., Co. Chair, Bandung Africa, Chair SBL

Yetunde Asika, Int’l Counsel to Attorneys for the Tyre Nichols Family, Co. Chair Bandung Africa

Professor Lennox Hinds, Convenor of Commission
Benjamin Crump Esquire, Attorney for the Tyre Nichols Family
Jasmine Rand, Int’l Counsel to the legal team for the Tyre Nichols Family and George Floyd Milton Grimes, Attorney for the late Rodney King,
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, U.K. Member of Parliament Claudia Webbe, U.K. Member of Parliament Dr Myrna Kalsi, Co.Chair Bandung Africa,
Dr Kariuki wa Githuku, Professor of African History, Cuny University, New York. Lee Jasper, Former Adviser on Policing to the Mayor of London,
Viv Ahmun, Director Blaksox,
Irungu Houghton, Amnesty International, Kenya Donald Deya, CEO, Pan African Lawyers Union

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Barbados Professor Niloufer Bhagwat, India
Mr Xolani Maxwell Boqwana, South Africa Professor Mireille Fanon Mendes, France, Dr Arturo Fournier Facio, Costa Rica, Judge Peter Herbert O.B.E., U.K.,
Ms Hina Jilani, Pakistan,
Emeritus Professor Rashida Manjoo, South Africa, Professor Osamu Niikura, Japan,
Sir Clare K Roberts, Q.C., Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Bert Samuels, Jamaica,
Mr Hannibal Uwaifo, Nigeria

For further information please contact:
Judge Peter Herbert O.B.E. (Retired) +254 (0) 742 101 877
Yetunde Asika +234 (0) 806 130 7474
Viv Ahmun +44 (0)7985 395 166

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