USA: Lack of accountability in Freddie Gray case highlights need for criminal justice reform
Following the announcement that charges will be dropped against the three remaining officers to face trial in the death of Freddie Gray, Amnesty International USA called for the strengthening of laws governing lethal force by police in Maryland and across the country.
“In Maryland and every state in the nation, statutes regarding when law enforcement officers can use lethal force fall woefully short of international standards,” said Rachel Ward, managing director of the research unit of Amnesty International USA. “These standards state, simply, that lethal force should only be used as a last resort when faced with the imminent threat of death or serious injury. As it stands, lethal force laws are so broad that accountability will continue to be elusive.”
“Until widespread reform of lethal force laws happen, families will not be able to have faith that anyone will be held accountable for their loved ones’ deaths.”
Last year, Amnesty International issued a report that found that all 50 states failed to meet international standards regarding lethal force by police. Maryland is one of nine states that has not enacted a use of lethal force statute. The report called for reforms at the state and federal level to bring police practices into compliance with international standards, and to officially collect and publish national statistics on the use of force by police.
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