Stop Police Brutality And Misconduct
Worldwide there have been recurrent cases of police brutality. This has led to agitation and several movements across the globe to end this crime against humanity. Police Brutality is a human rights abuse and has accounted for loss of several lives of innocent citizens. This human rights violation includes unlawful use of fire arms against unarmed citizens, physical abuse and/or use of unlawful force in arresting citizens sometimes without trail to serve jail term.
One of the most popular cases of police brutality that erupted concerns and raised speculations worldwide is the killing of George Floyd on 25 May, 2020. George Floyd, an African American was killed by a white police officer after a store clerk alleged he had passed a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, USA. Images of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for approximately 8 minutes and 46 seconds leading to his death was beamed around the world re-igniting worldwide protests under the auspices of the Black lives Matter (#BLM) global movement.
More often than not, the perpetrators are protected from the law and enjoy a soft landing. It is amazing to know that these officers are justified for their actions with excuses of self defense or protection. But Police Misconduct and any form of police brutality is a crime. It must be treated as such without any adjustment or exceptions to enforcement of applicable laws. No life is more prized than another. All men and women are created equal. This injustice cannot be condoned.
Currently Nigeria is on the spotlight as more and more cases of police indiscipline are surfacing. This has fueled a national outcry by the citizens who have suffered unlawfully at the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (#endSARS). Created in late 1992, SARS as a unit of the Nigerian Police Force, was charged with combating serious crimes for example armed robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping and crimes involving firearms. The reality though is that SARS has posed constant threats to well meaning Nigerians who work hard to make a living and livelihood for themselves and their families.
Most of the victims who have suffered physical assaults, unlawful arrest and detention are those who are deemed to have dressed with a certain flashy urban style, with extravagant hairdo and especially those with luxury cars – with a question on their means of income. Youths especially have displayed great contempt for this squad who have gone over and beyond their job descriptions and have become a major source of concern as well as threat to innocent Nigerian citizens.
On 12 October 2020, young Nigerians took to the streets of the nation protesting for an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad with the hashtag #endSARS. This peaceful protest unravelled the level of respect the average Nigerian has for the country and the government. 20 October, 2020 will go down in modern Nigerian history as the day peaceful protesters were gunned down at a protest field by the Nigerian Army.
Peaceful protesters before the massacre
With videos circulating the social media space, Nigerians were stunned with the actions of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Army who opened fired on peaceful protesters. Particularly in Lekki area of Lagos State, Witnesses attested to the injury and killing of over 70 peaceful demonstrators. The protest went from peaceful atmosphere with food, music and dancing to a battle field of panic and massacre.
The endemic problem of police brutality and misconduct cannot be erased from the front burner of any national discourse. Imagine living in fear and dismay of being shot by a supposed protector. How do people hope to thrive in a world of endless uncertainties, where lives are faced with death options daily from the state security system. This gross infringement on human rights is a crime and must be stopped.
Around the world, international bodies are burdened with an aching responsibility to end all crimes against human right. Movements like Black Lives Matter, End SARS, Me Too Campaign and the others are youth driven, mostly leaderless and propelled by social media.
At projectASHA, we firmly stand against all forms of human right abuses and strictly advocate for equal and inclusive human rights for people of all race, creed or gender. In our little way, we harness the power of social media in amplifying our voice to end Police brutality globally. We call on world leaders, social media platforms and influencers and persons of influence to support our mission in this life saving motion.