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Amnesty International Comes Down Hard On Ferguson Police

The international human rights organization has issued a scathing critique of the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of protests.

Amnesty International Comes Down Hard On Ferguson Police
Getty Images / Scott Olson
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An international human rights organization has issued a scathing critique of the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of the events and subsequent protests surrounding the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown near St. Louis back in August.

Amnesty International released a report early Friday morning calling into question several tactics used by the Ferguson police force.

For starters, it questions whether Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, opened fire as "a last resort" regardless of whether there was a physical confrontation between the two.

It also calls for Missouri to adopt narrower statutes governing the use of police force. Amnesty International says current provisions fall short of international standards.

The human rights watchdog also lashed out at police for going too far in certain instances to quell protestors, including:
-Restricting the right to peaceful assembly.
-Instituting a mandatory curfew.
-Wearing riot gear and launching tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
-And restricting the media from covering the events.

According to TIME, this is also "the first time [Amnesty International] has documented abuses inside the U.S."

The report highlights aspects of what the group saw as flaws in the Ferguson Police Department and pulled into focus the much larger issue of racial discrimination on a national platform. But it remains to be seen if anything will come of it. Still, the findings come at a time when protests in Ferguson have a renewed spirit.

Demonstrators took to the streets on a number of occasions thus far in the month-long event dubbed "Ferguson October," after the killing of another black teenager, Vonderrit D. Myers, at the hands of an off-duty St. Louis police officer.

Those protests stretched beyond north St. Louis on "Moral Monday" with organized marches through the city's southern neighborhoods, downtown St. Louis at City Hall and on the campus of Saint Louis University. (Video via KMOV)

Dozens have been arrested amid the demonstrations. Activist and Columbia University professor Cornell West was among them. He spoke to MSNBC at the Ferguson Police Department and hopes more people will join in. (Video via CNN)

CORNELL WEST VIA MSNBC: "That's what I pray. That it is the start of a new movement. That we can shatter the sleep walking and have some people come awake: morally, spiritually, politically. Concerned about poor people, concerned about poor people on the chocolate side of town."

Amnesty International's 26-page report includes extensive recommendations to Ferguson Police, the Department of Justice and Congress regarding use of lethal force and the policing of protests. To read the full report, click the link in the text of this story.

This video includes images from Getty Images.