Amnesty International: "A Human-Rights Crisis" in Ferguson

Categories: Michael Brown

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Jessica Lussenhop
Amnesty International out in Florissant last night.

Ten Amnesty International staffers were out observing last night's march in Ferguson, including executive director Steven Hawkins, who's in town from New York City. When Daily RFT caught up with him in the media staging area, he did not mince words about what he was seeing.

"This is a human-rights crisis in America," he said, calling the fact that marchers were not being allowed to congregate a "violation of international human rights" law.

Hawkins said he asked Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson if Amnesty International observers could patrol alongside police and was denied. His organization is preparing to make recommendations on how the situation can be better handled and to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to broaden his federal investigation to include the tactics being used by local law enforcement on demonstrators in Ferguson.

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Jessica Lussenhop
Amnesty International executive director Steven Hawkins.

Read all of our Ferguson coverage here, starting on Sunday, August 10.

Last night began with peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson, then devolved into another chaotic scene where police used tear gas and drew automatic weapons. There were 31 arrests, and two people were shot. Read our live blog of last night's events here.

Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon announced that there would be no curfew in Ferguson. However, when we followed up with Hawkins this morning, he said he observed a "de facto" curfew.

"Clearly the police wanted to clear the streets before midnight. The tactical chains started to assemble and get in place and begin to press the crowd off of the street," he said.

Johnson told reporters that while there was no set curfew, escalating violence coincidentally caused police to push media and protesters off the streets around midnight.

Hawkins also didn't think much of the fact that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster successfully defeated a temporary restraining order filed by the American Civil Rights Union earlier that day. The ACLU argued that the "keep moving" mandate was a violation of free speech, while Koster said in a press release that "this restriction is as narrowly tailored as the gunfire and violence along West Florissant Avenue will allow."

"People have a right to assemble. There would have to be some reason why you're telling people to keep moving," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said what he's seeing in Ferguson rivals situations he has monitored in Bosnia and other countries.

"The British soldiers knew how to react better, twenty years ago in Ireland," he said.

He is calling on AG Holder to expand his investigation and also to address, from a federal standpoint, how law enforcement should conduct itself.

"In terms of the appropriate use of force and policing in protest situations, there needs to be some clear federal guidelines."

Email the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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35 comments
joinilluminati123
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Michael J Keller
Michael J Keller

I wonder.... After their neighborhood is jacked the Hell up - and in the end, it will have served no purpose at all, except to embarrass the shit out of themselves, and to make an already-unsavory community just that much more undesirable, what the Hell will be their next move? Advertising their 5 star amenities on Trip Advisor? Don't hold your breast. .. er... your breath waiting for that day.

Mike McClanahan
Mike McClanahan

Dude it's really messed up - They block off all the streets, then tell everyone that they have to keep walking around or they are unlawfully assembled. Essentially standing still in a street, sidewalk, parking lot or yard is illegal. So it is literally police, on top of a swat van, with a megaphone, slowly following protesters ordering them to keep marching every 2-3 minutes. Its kind of sick and pitiful - I"m sorry but the only analogies i can come up with are cattle driver, nazi forced march, or slave driver. And that's just the truth, literally what is happening. So then when people do not continue the forced march (not to mention how hard it is to have a protest/demonstration with someone drawling over a deafening megaphone at you continuously) well that is when they deploy smoke, gas etc. He yells "if you throw bottles, you will be arrested, while nobody is doing anything. Everyone is standing there and the cop continuously tells them to stop throwing stuff. It's a show for the media, since a single station can never show the whole area. They just assume it is actually happening. I saw it on live stream and live. I run like 6 livestreams at once, with commentary. I know when people are and are not throwing shit. So because people aren't marching, and are thinking about throwing things, the police are 'forced' to use force, deploy smoke, teargas - and then for the media's safety they are all herded back to their little press cage, or the Target parking lot so nobody can film the cops beating people's asses. Yeah this is an awesome protest.

sociomindful
sociomindful

Every human has rights.  That's why it's clearly and presently aligned with mission.  Thank you for being a movement I can be proud to call mine, Amnesty.  In solidarity....

Mary Watson
Mary Watson

WTF....I don't see bombs going off, I don't see hundreds of people rounded up and murdered on a hillside with ethnic cleansing.....I do hear about a big fat thug being shot by a cop....Amnesty are behaving like a bunch of c##nts

Pearse Boondock
Pearse Boondock

There were no terrorists in Ireland just the other side (irish nationalists) fighting against occupation....

Tara Broadway
Tara Broadway

I like how the media people are acting like this is a sporting event and they are on the sidelines.. :-/

David Hays
David Hays

Amazing how a 2 block area in a tiny little muni can get so much press.. considering what is going on in Iraq and Gaza and Russia and Libya.

shorrell
shorrell

I spend a good deal of my time in some of the worst conditions in countries all over the world. There is a more productive use of A.I.'s time & resources.

Jeff Duerst
Jeff Duerst

Mike would never by aluminum foil because then he would be supporting a evil cooperation. He melds his own aluminum hats. Because haven't you heard there's them darn micro chips in everything.... Lol

Chad Hanebrink
Chad Hanebrink

Really, you're going to compare looting the dollar general to the war in Bosnia and Ireland?

David Mclaughlin
David Mclaughlin

Hey Mike it's all one big conspiracy, the illuminati, new world order, the international jew and Walt Disney.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

mike... do you buy your own tinfoil hats or make them yourself?

Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

We don't live in a police state the officers don't want anyone up there media or anyone else stirring up shit also I am m ilitarty the police arent a military organization so stop referring them as one the cops are allowed to move people along if you have no business there why are you there

Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

Stephen Martin the black community an anything I say that walks around that those choice words would mean i'm a racist when in fact I am not the majority of the looting actually all looting an stealing was done by the blacks yes they're good people an bad people in every race but at this moment the ones that are commuting crimes are black so i'm sorry if I Pont the finger thats obvious to everyone

Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

They threw thos objects at officers so its not ridiculous

Sarah Welsch
Sarah Welsch

That is the mist ridiculous thing I've heard all day.

Mathew A. Koeneker
Mathew A. Koeneker

Molotov cocktail. Accelerant, beer bottle, liquid dish soap, wick like napalm.

Sarah Welsch
Sarah Welsch

That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard.

Mike McClanahan
Mike McClanahan

There are planted people infiltrating the protests and stirring up trouble intentionally (shooting, looting, etc.). These people are planted there by authorities to justify the heavy-handed approach of military law enforcement. We saw this a few years ago with the Occupy movement when "hipster" lookalikes were sent into the protests to do damage (crapping on police cars, getting on the news and saying ridiculous things, etc.) and give the police a reason to discontinue first amendment rights. We're living in a police state post 9/11, folks. The PEACEFUL protestors in #Ferguson #Missouri are basically being forced to stay in one area by way of facing a heavily militarized force that's presence threatens the use of force should they dare leave their "designated area". A blatant and grotesque abuse of power and assault on the 1st Amendment. Now.....realize this, WE are all fighting the same battle, on different fronts, its us against them, citizens against a bloated government. As soon as #Republicans, #Democrats, people of all colors get that through their heads, panic in #Washington DC will ensue and power will shift back to where it belongs....with the people.

Stephen Martin
Stephen Martin

That this page supports? Explain that, if you would. Bonus points if you can avoid using the phrase "those people."

Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

only thing terrorist is the m alatococktails that were thrown by the people that this page supports

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