PBI-USA issues statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter
On June 5, Peace Brigades International-USA issued this statement:
“PBI-USA is committed to the protection of human rights defenders and communities whose lives and work are threatened by violence internationally, and voicing concerns domestically, in the United States. We must act together to protect human life and the communities that are suffering the most and shine light on human rights abuses. We will not be silent while systematic racism and the killing of Black people by the US police continues.
PBI has witnessed police violence and repression used to silence defenders across the world for the past 40 years, a trend which has increased over recent years putting democracies at risk.
PBI-USA strongly condemns the police brutality that led to the murder of George Floyd on May 25th by the Minneapolis police. This is not an isolated incident, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Steven Taylor, and too many other lives have been lost because of violence committed against Black and other minorities by the US police. This is a pattern we have witnessed repeating in different contexts across the world, putting the lives of human rights defenders at risk, particularly those from marginalized communities. We also condemn the attacks against journalists and the freedom of expression.
We are committed to standing in solidarity with the communities affected by police brutality.”
PBI-USA has also tweeted: “PBI-USA is committed to standing in solidarity with the communities affected by police brutality. We must act together to protect human life. Find out how you can support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.”
PBI-Canada further encourages you to watch this CBC News interview with author-activist Desmond Cole speaking about police violence, white supremacy, anti-Black racism and the colonial dispossession of Indigenous peoples in Canada. He highlights the need to disarm and defund the police and give the billions of dollars that are spent on them to communities for services, childcare, and food programs.
In the interview Cole refers to Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who died on May 27 in Toronto. Members of her family have stated that police pushed the 29-year-old from the 24-storey balcony of the family’s apartment after a 911 call.
The police shooting death of 26-year-old D’Andre Campbell on April 6 in Brampton (north of Toronto) is also being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit. He was killed in his home and his family says he was already down on the floor when the police shot him.
This CBC News investigation found that Black people made up 36.5 per cent of fatalities involving Toronto police, despite accounting for just 8.3 per cent of the city’s population, in the period from 2000-17.
Additionally, the Ontario Human Rights Commission found that a Black person in Toronto is nearly 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police than a white person. While Black residents make up 8.8 per cent of the city’s population, they accounted for 60 per cent of deadly encounters with Toronto Police, and 70 per cent of fatal police shootings between 2013 and 2017.
We also draw your attention to the fatal arrest of Abdirahman Abdi on July 24, 2016 in Ottawa. One of the police officers involved in his beating death is now being tried on charges of manslaughter, assault and assault with a weapon.
In the province of Ontario, the Special Investigations Unit investigates incidents involving the police that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault. In 2014-15, 94.9 per cent of the police officers investigated by SIU investigators, most of whom are white and former police officers themselves, were cleared.
For further context, you can also watch this CTV News interview with Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present, explaining the call for the abolition of the police, by clicking here.
And just as PBI-USA has offered links for organizations in the United States, PBI-Canada also offers these sources of commentary we follow on Twitter:
For more on this, please see: PBI expressions of concern about police violence, the militarization of policing, and extra-judicial killings by the police (that references Kenya, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Canada).