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Amnesty report slams human rights abuses by Ferguson police

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The global human rights organization Amnesty International condemns the harsh police response to mostly peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which erupted after a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August.

Amnesty International issued a report Friday urging an investigation into violations of human rights and other abuses by law enforcement officers during weeks of racially charged protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9.

The human rights group said the use of rubber bullets, stun grenades, tear gas and heavy military equipment to quell protests violated international standards.

Heavily-armed police clashed with demonstrators in Ferguson for weeks after Brown was gunned down in the street of a predominately black neighborhood.

The Amnesty report said the ammunition that was shot to disperse the crowds in Ferguson “can result in serious injury and even death.”

Among other measures, the organization urged a number of local and nationwide law enforcement reforms, including restrictions on racial profiling and creation of a national database to keep track of fatal police shootings.

The report also criticizes a Missouri law that allows police to use lethal force against someone even if they pose no imminent threat of harm.

“Lethal force is only to be used to protect life when there is an immediate threat,” said Rachel Ward, director of research at Amnesty International. “The Missouri statute goes far beyond that. It is of grave concern.”

Amnesty observers were deployed to Ferguson from Aug. 14-22 to monitor the situation.

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