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Michael Brown's parents travel to Geneva to meet with U.N. committee

Michael Brown's parents travel to Geneva to meet with U.N. committee

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Michael Brown's relatives pause for 4.5 minutes of silence

From left, Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown Sr. (parents of Michael Brown Jr.) and Brown Sr.'s wife, Calvina Brown, pause for a 4.5 minutes of silence during a protest march through Clayton on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Photo by Joel Currier, jcurrier@post-dispatch.com

The parents of Michael Brown traveled to Switzerland on Monday to speak before the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. and several local activists will meet with the committee in Geneva and present a report alleging that the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer and police tactics used toward protesters in the aftermath of Brown’s death constitute violations of the U.N.’s anti-torture convention.

The report was written by several human rights attorneys, including St. Louis University law professor Justin Hansford. The authors criticized local law enforcement agencies, particularly the Ferguson Police Department, and offered recommendations “to address the torture and/or cruel inhuman and degrading treatment” of those who are killed by law enforcement and of protesters.

The UN committee monitors an agreement by 156 nations not to engage in torture or inhumane treatment, and consists of 10 human rights experts from around the world. A few dozen groups from the U.S. will present to the committee on Wednesday and Thursday, and it will publish its conclusions Nov. 28.

Brown’s parents are being sponsored by the U.S. Human Rights Network, a nonprofit coalition.

In addition to calling for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson and the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, the report to be submitted advocates for the Ferguson Police Department to be placed under federal receivership.

It also calls for Gov. Jay Nixon to apologize to protesters for the “intimidation and excessive force used against them” and offer amnesty to protesters who were arrested. The authors also argue that accountability for police use of deadly force must be improved and that legislation is needed to end racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.

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Walker Moskop is a data specialist and reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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