Each Wednesday, All the Pretty Birds recaps the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news. This week we’ve included coverage of the U.N.’s call to investigate police in Brazil after a drug raid in Rio where at least 25 were killed, along with updates about the police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. and the human rights violations and apartheid crimes carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians.
A police raid aimed at alleged drug traffickers that left at least 25 people dead in a shootout in a Rio de Janeiro slum has drawn criticism from the United Nations human rights office, which is calling for an independent investigation, citing a history of “disproportionate and unnecessary” use of force by police in Brazil. The U.N. was joined by Amnesty International in condemning the raid.
Last year, Brazil’s Supreme Court banned police operations in favelas during the pandemic, except in exceptional circumstances. However, human rights groups say the ruling hasn’t stopped authorities from using indiscriminate lethal force against some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.
Human Rights Watch says that in 2019, 6,357 were killed at the hands of police nationwide, nearly 80% of them Black. HRW says in the first half of 2020 police killings rose 6%. Police have reportedly killed more than 450 people in Rio de Janeiro state in the first three months of this year alone.
The death toll in Gaza has reached 213 as Israel continues to attack by air, land and sea using U.S.-made warplanes and U.S.-made bombs. Health officials in Gaza say the dead include 61 children and 36 women. Over 1,400 Palestinians have been injured. Another 58,000 are internally displaced and facing shortages of food, medicine and supplies. The World Health Organization reports Israeli attacks have damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics in Gaza.
Congressmember Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress, delivered a powerful speech on the House floor to denounce the violence and attempted erasure of the Palestinian people.
Millions of Palestinians join a general strike. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel downed tools for the day, as did workers across the occupied West Bank and in Gaza, protesting violence against Arab Israelis, the unfolding Israeli military campaign targeting Hamas militants in Gaza and the looming eviction of several families from their homes in East Jerusalem.
A North Carolina prosecutor said that the fatal shooting of a Black man in Elizabeth City, N.C., by local sheriff’s deputies was justified, because the man, Andrew Brown Jr., used his car as a “deadly weapon” as he tried to evade arrest. The deputies will not face criminal charges, he said.
R. Andrew Womble is the district attorney for North Carolina’s First Judicial District. In coming to his decision, Womble relied on an investigative report into the shooting conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. That report is not considered a public record and will not be publicly released, the SBI said.
The attorneys for Brown’s family have called for Womble to recuse himself from the case, citing “well-defined” conflicts between the prosecutor and the sheriff’s office.
Attorney Chance Lynch said he saw Brown ambushed while sitting in his vehicle. At all times his hands were visible, and he did not pose a threat to law enforcement, the attorney said.
A North Carolina judge issued a written order ruling that video from four body cameras associated with the shooting will not be released publicly at this time.
A top medical organization in Japan has thrown its weight behind calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics, saying hospitals are already overwhelmed as the country battles a spike in coronavirus infections less than three months from the start of the Summer Games.
The association, which represents about 6,000 primary care doctors, made the appeal amid a jump in infections that has resulted in a shortage of hospital beds in some parts of the Japanese capital.
The House passed legislation aimed at strengthening federal efforts to address hate crimes directed at Asian-Americans, clearing the measure for President Biden’s signature.
The bill, approved in a 364-62 vote, is the first legislative action that Congress has taken to bolster law enforcement’s response to attacks on people of Asian descent amid an uptick in discrimination and violence against Asian-American communities during the pandemic.
The measure, led by Ms. Meng and Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, would establish a position at the Justice Department to expedite the agency’s review of hate crimes and expand the channels to report them. It would also encourage the creation of state-run hate crime hotlines, provide grants to law enforcement agencies that train their officers to identify hate crimes and introduce a series of public education campaigns around bias against people of Asian descent.
(Leading Image via Reuters/ Ian Cheibub)