International day against Police Brutality

The International Day Against Police Brutality takes place annually on March 15th . Police brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct which involves undue violence by police members and is considered a violation of Civilian Rights. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries and territories, even those that prosecute it. Although illegal, it can be performed under the color of law.

For instance Many have been viciously beaten by police in Bangladesh. Various protesters were beaten with bats and sticks while protesting to insult of Islam. Recently, a young man named Shamim Reja was killed by police in Sonargaon police station. The victim’s father claimed that his son was brutally tortured in the police station as the police wanted 6 lakh taka (BDT 600,000). Police investigated this and found the officer in charge Arup Torofar and SI Paltu Ghush and ASP Uttam Prashad guilty as charged.

The Police in Brazil also have a history of violence against the lower classes, which dates back to the nineteenth century, when it served primarily as an instrument of control over the mass of slaves. Later with the abolition of slavery, in a largely rural country, the police forces came under strong influence of local large landowners known as ‘colonels’ and the practice was subsequently carried on by many.

Other examples of Police brutality include, 21 year-old Jens Arne Orskov Mathiason who died while in police custody and on the way to prison. The incident raised concerns over the behaviour of the officers involved, the thoroughness of the subsequent investigation and the willingness of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ to hold the officers accountable for their alleged failings. As a result, Amnesty International has called for the establishment of new mechanisms to investigate human rights violations and to enforce compliance with obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2016, another man died in police custody after being arrested by seven officers from the Copenhagen Police.

In August 2009, police in Copenhagen were heavily criticised for their response to an attempt to dislodge Iraqi refugees who were living in a city church.Amateur video allegedly showed the police using violence against the refugees and their supporters. Between 12,000 and 20,000 people subsequently protested against these actions.

In 2012, the Danish Court of Appeal held that the Danish Police had violated Article 3 (against abusive treatment and torture) and Articles 5, 10 and 11 (dealing with the right to liberty, the right to information about the accusation and the freedom of peaceful assembly) of the European Convention of Human Rights, when, in 2009, they had made mass arrests during protests at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. In April 2016, video emerged of officers hitting people with batons and violently detaining a man, despite onlookers saying he couldn’t breathe.

There has been a notable lack of commitment to addressing the violation of civilians’ rights in Austria, with Amnesty International reporting that in 1998/1999 very few people who committed a violation of human rights were brought to justice. This was worsened by the fact that many people who made a complaint against police were brought up on counter-charges such as resisting arrest, defamation and assault. In 2014-2015, there were 250 accusations of police misconduct made against officers in Vienna, and not a single person was charged – however 1,329 people were charged with ‘civil disorder’ in a similar time period. The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)’s 2014 report included a number of complaints of police using excessive force with detainees and also psychiatric patients. The culture of excusing police officers for their misconduct has continued well into the present day, and any complaints of mistreatment are often met with inadequate investigations and judicial proceedings

The International Day against Police Brutality first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Montreal based Collective Opposed to Police Brutality and the Black Flag group in Switzerland. Acceptance of March 15 as a focal day of solidarity against police brutality varies from one place to another. In the United States, the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, a group mounted by the RCP, has succeeded in building support for October 22 (also known as O22) as National Anti Police Brutality Day since 1995.

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