Activists hold signs addressing the Tyre Nichols case at a Memphis City Council meeting, Feb 7, 2023, in Memphis, Tennssee. (PHOTO / AP)
UNITED NATIONS – United Nations experts have expressed grave concern over the deaths of two Black men in January in the United States at the hands of police, saying the use of force may have violated international norms.
Keenan Anderson died on Jan 3 at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department and Tyre Nichols died on Jan 7 after he was beaten by police in Memphis, Tennessee, according to the UN experts.
"The brutal deaths of Keenan Anderson and Tyre Nichols are more reminders of the urgency to act," Yvonne Mokgoro, chairperson of the UN International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement, said in a statement released last Friday.
Mokgoro said the Expert Mechanism will be conducting an official mission to the United States in April "to ensure that police brutality is addressed with determination and that victims and their families obtain justice"
The experts stressed that in both cases, the force used appears to have violated international norms protecting the right to life and prohibiting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
READ MORE: Death brings calls for US police reform
It is also not in line with standards set out under the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, they noted.
Responding to the death of Tyre Nichols, the experts emphasized that in addition to effectively investigating, prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and providing redress to victims and their families, US authorities should show determination in questioning and reforming an institutionalized police culture that permits criminal assault under the guise of law enforcement and public safety.
READ MORE: Memphis disbands police unit in fatal beating as protests mount
"We have called on authorities to ensure prompt accountability and reparation," said Tracie Keesee, member of the Expert Mechanism.
Mokgoro said the Expert Mechanism will be conducting an official mission to the United States in April "to ensure that police brutality is addressed with determination and that victims and their families obtain justice".
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The UN International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement was established in July 2021 to make recommendations, inter alia, on the concrete steps needed to ensure access to justice, accountability and redress for excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officials against Africans and people of African descent.