Kenyan rights advocates slam police brutality, racism against black communities in U.S.
The death of a 46-year-old African American man, George Floyd, in police custody exposed systemic racism, discrimination and abuse targeting communities of color in the United States, Kenyan campaigners said on Wednesday.
Wanjeri Nderu, a Nairobi-based human rights defender said that Floyd's death after a white police officer pinned him to the ground and sat on his neck for eight minutes, was a confirmation that racial justice and equality remained a pipedream in the world's largest economy.
"The death of Floyd brought to light systemic racism in the U.S. and the extent of police brutality targeting the black people," Nderu told Xinhua during an interview in Nairobi on Thursday.
She is a member of a civil rights advocacy network that staged a peaceful protest outside the U.S Embassy in Nairobi on Tuesday to condemn Floyd's killing alongside institutional racism that remains a stain on Washington's image.
The campaigners issued a joint statement calling for an end to police brutality against young black men, adding that failure to act will only reinforce the widely held view that the U.S government condones the toxic ideology of white supremacy.
"Floyd was murdered by a police officer empowered by the government you serve, who acted with the knowledge that the system will protect his actions and condemn Floyd," said the campaigners.
Nderu said that Kenyan rights crusaders felt compelled to join their global counterparts to call out American law enforcement agencies for their blatant disregard for the lives of black male despite passage of legislation to entrench racial equality.
She said that Washington has lost moral probity that will take longer to regain as the number of innocent black men who die in police custody skyrocket while justice for the victims' families remained elusive.
"There is a feeling that killing of black people has been normalized in the U.S.," said Nderu.
She condemned Washington's reaction to the protests that followed Floyd's killing saying that demonstrators had a right to demand swift justice for the deceased family.
"There was no need to provoke the protesters through the use of force and instead the U.S. government should have demonstrated by word and deed of the commitment to bring to justice all the police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd," said Nderu.
She said that a vicious crackdown on protesters only exposed Washington's hypocrisy and double standards since it is quick to promote similar ones elsewhere even when they are a threat to sovereignty and civil order.
Happy Olal, convener of Social Justice Centers Working Group in Kenya said that Floyd's death was a wakeup call for the world to stand up against institutional racism in the U.S.
"As you know, blacks are victims of police killings and brutalities in the U.S. The challenge is systemic and requires global solidarity to eradicate," said Olal.
He said that constant interaction with the Black Lives Matter movement has increased his awareness of the corrosive nature of racism against American communities of color.
"There are so many cases of young black men being killed by police. The case of George Floyd was only televised and these abuses happen on a daily basis in black neighborhoods," said Olal. (Xinhua)