Michael Brown's Parents Tell U.N. His Death Amounts to Torture

Susan Jones | November 11, 2014 | 7:46am EST
Font Size

In this image from video the parents of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., speak at a news conference with civil rights leaders at the National Press Club Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in Washington. Brown's parents were joined by Eric Garner's mother in calling for full federal investigations into the death of their sons, two unarmed black men who died in police encounters. (AP Photo/AP Video)

(CNSNews.com) - The parents of Michael Brown are in Geneva, Switzerland Tuesday to tell the United Nations Committee Against Torture about the police "murder" of their son and the "excessive use of force" by Ferguson police against "peaceful protesters" following the August 9 shooting.

"Both issues represent violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," said the 13-page statement submitted to the U.N. Committee Against Torture by the Brown family and the family's various support groups.

The U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment is a U.S.-ratified treaty that calls for criminal prosecutions for “complicity or participation in torture.”

The statement portrays police officer Darren Wilson as the aggressor who shot the innocent Michael Brown as Brown tried to run away. It sets the scene, as follows:

Midday on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18 year-old black male, was walking down a small street in the middle of an apartment complex with a friend when they were approached by a white police officer. According to his friend, the closest witness to the afternoon’s events, the officer approached them in his SUV police vehicle, told them to “get the [expletive] off (sic) the sidewalk,” which then escalated into a confrontation.

After a struggle, the officer began to shoot the teen. Brown ran away, as he was hit by the officer’s bullets. The officer chased the teen on foot, and according to multiple witnesses, even after Michael Brown raised his hands to surrender and begged the officer not to shoot, the officer continued to fire. No witness reported any orders being given to Brown as these shots were fired.

"The intentional, arbitrary killing of Michael Brown, shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, amounts to torture under Article 1 of the Convention," the Brown family's statement says.

Police say Michael Brown blocked the officer in his cruiser and reached for his gun before the officer shot him.

The Brown family's statement also complains about the "disrespectful" treatment of their son's body -- "grotesquely mutilated by the six bullets and left bleeding in the street in plain view" for four hours. This "traumatized countless neighbors who witnessed either the shooting, its aftermath, or both," and amounted to police intimidation, the statement said.

There is only an oblique reference to video footage allegedly showing Brown committing a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store shortly before Officer Wilson stopped him. The statement complains that police released "unrelated video footage maligning the victim."

The Browns' statement includes "suggested recommendations" for Missouri and the United States to address the "torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Michael Brown and other unarmed black and brown persons killed by law enforcement, as well as the torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of protesters."

Those recommendations include:

-- The immediate arrest Officer Darren Wilson. (A grand jury is now deliberating whether to bring charges against him, and an announcement is expected any day.)

-- Political accountability for the killing of Michael Brown and the excessive force on protesters. This includes the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson; placing the Ferguson Police Department under federal receivership to hold it accountable for systematically targeting and harassing residents of color in a predatory and degrading manner; calling upon Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to accept responsibility on behalf of the State of Missouri for the intimidation and excessive force used against protesters following Michael Brown’s murder, and provide for reparations for damages suffered; and offering amnesty to those protesters arrested while protesting the killing of Michael Brown.

-- An end to "racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment" across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson, Missouri" Among other things, the Browns want Missouri police forces to be more racially integrated and "reflective of the communities they police."

The statement also includes six national recommendations, including strict federal regulations on the use of police force; passage of the End Racial Profiling Act; front-facing cameras in all police departments with "records of racial disparities"; and a Justice Department investigation into police brutality in "black and brown communities" nationwide, among others.

The Brown's full report to the U.N. Committee Against Torture is found here.

The Browns are not the first aggrieved American party to seek redress from the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

Also appearing before the committee on Tuesday, the U.S.-based National Center for Lesbian Rights will argue that conversion therapy -- attempting to change someone's sexual orientation -- amounts to torture and/or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

And as CNSNews.com reported in May 2014, the U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights, a non-governmental organization that advocates for legalized abortion, urged the committee to tell the Catholic Church that “the freedom of speech and of religion” do not give the church the right to advocate against abortion.

mrc merch