U.S. authorities must act to stop police from killing unarmed African Americans, UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet demanded on Thursday after the latest deadly incident in Minneapolis.
Protests broke out in the Midwestern city over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died after a white police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck despite pleas that he could not breathe.
“This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by U.S. police officers and members of the public,” UN High Commissioner Bachelet said.
Urging “serious action,” the former Chilean president said police procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and officers should be charged and convicted for excessive use of force.
“The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognised and dealt with,” Bachelet added.
The UN high commissioner welcomed the launch of an investigation into Floyd’s death, but noted that similar probes in the past had resulted in questionable justifications for killings.
Bachelet said she understood the public anger unleashed by Floyd’s death, but asked protestors to refrain from violence and destruction.