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Rights group slams US police for militarized tactics

12 July 2016 11:30

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A prominent US civil rights group has criticized tactics used by US police against people who were protesting at recent killings of African Americans.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana said Monday that Baton Rouge police “used violent, militarized tactics on groups of people who have gathered peacefully in protest of Alton Sterling’s killing.”

Last Tuesday, 37-year-old Sterling was fatally shot by police in the southeastern city of Baton Rouge while another African American, 32-year-old Philando Castile, was shot dead Wednesday by a police officer near St. Paul.

Hundreds of angry American demonstrators have taken to the streets in cities across the US to protest the killings of the two, many of whom have been arrested by police.

On Sunday, Amnesty International put into question the high number of arrests made during Saturday’s protests and whether it was a “proportionate response to peaceful protests.”

Although State Police Major Doug Cain said the initial protest was “very organized and peaceful,” law enforcement officers threatened protesters with heavy crackdown unless they ended their protests.

The use of excessive force by law enforcement has become the focus of national debate, particularly over high-profile killings of African Americans by mainly white officers during the last several years.

Police in the United States killed over 1,150 people in 2015, of which at least 321 were African Americans, according to data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence project.

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