SCHR Responds to This Week's Tragic Events

8th July, 2016

We are deeply disturbed by the killings of 37 year old Alton Sterling and 32 year old Philando Castile, both Black men fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, LA, and St. Paul, MN, in the span of 48 hours. Both deaths were captured on camera. 

The killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, 12 year old Tamir Rice, 25 year old Ezell Ford, 18 year old Michael Brown, 50 year old Walter Scott, 25 year old Freddie Gray, 27 year old Anthony Hill, and countless other unjustified police shootings are a sobering reminder that Black people are the targets of a system obsessed with race. According to The Guardian’s database, 566 people were killed by police in 2016.  Mapping Police Violence reports that in 2015, the rate of unarmed Black men killed by police was five times that of unarmed white men. 

In an age of failed police-worn body cameras and abandoned efforts to track police-driven homicides on our federal government’s part, our communities have turned to recording interactions with police on their own. These recordings are the primary reason why Sterling and Castile are now household names.  But as we have seen around the country, those who aim to hold police accountable through filming are subsequently targets of the very police they are recording.   

The Southern Center for Human Rights rejects the prevailing belief that Black and Brown bodies are inherently more dangerous and, therefore, disposable.  We further challenge any police practice that seeks to punish those who film police conduct. We will continue working to ensure that police departments are accountable to the public and honor their commitment to protect and serve.  As we mourn Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we mourn the targeted violence against police officers and protesters at a peaceful rally in Dallas, Texas.

We encourage our neighbors and allies in and outside of Atlanta to demand an end to police brutality and targeted killings in all forms.