Youth activists held a silent protest Nov. 13 during a meeting of the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, reports the Straits Times.
Members of Chicago’s We Charge Genocide raised their fists in unison and displayed photos of victims of police brutality while the U.S. government’s delegation responded to charges of police brutality before the committee. One victim, Dominique “Damo” Franklin—a 23-year-old who died while in a coma after Chicago police used a stun gun on him—was memorialized on their shirts, which read, “The Chicago Police Dept. killed Dominique Franklin.” Shortly after, other members of nongovernmental organizations followed suit.
This silent protest was the second show of unity by We Charge Genocide after the group’s members were faced with what they believed to be disingenuous responses by U.S. government officials concerning police brutality.
On Nov. 12, members of WGC testified against police brutality and charged the Chicago police with systemic discrimination, according to Vice News. The group’s report, “Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color,” found that while black people make up 32.3 percent of the city’s population, they accounted for roughly 75 percent of police shooting victims from 2009 to 2013.
“In Chicago the police are a source of violence and are completely unaccountable. Only 19 out of 10,000 complaints filed against highest-offending officers were met with meaningful penalties,” said WGC member Asha Rosa.
Members of the group walked out of the meeting after U.S. officials dismissed the group’s claim “that there is no real mechanism for pointing to the police as a source of violence or for accountability.”
In a statement, the group discussed their decision to walk out: “We were insulted by their suggestion that 330 police in the past five years being prosecuted could even begin to rectify the violence Black and Brown communities experience at the hands of the police and the state, considering that there were 300+ taserings by the police in Chicago alone in one year. … [w]e were not accepting any apologies or any excuses."
We Charge Genocide was not the only delegation to testify against police abuse in the United States. Members of Ferguson to Geneva—which included attorney Daryl Parks and the parents of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in August in Ferguson, Mo.—testified before the committee on Tuesday. Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., said this regarding the death of his son: “What you decide here may save lives. No father wants to see his child dead in the streets. … I would like to see the United States make a commitment to address racial discrimination in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.”
“What Officer Darren Wilson did to my son should be considered torture,” Brown Sr. said to the media in a call on Wednesday.
Leslie McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, said during the same call: “I hope this trip brings the eyes of everyone to let them know what really goes on in small-town Ferguson. We really need the help, we don’t have any trust in the local authorities and that’s the big reason why we are here in the U.N.”
It is believed that the grand jury decision on whether to indict Wilson will be announced on Monday, Nov. 17.
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