SAN DIEGO, CA - February 6, 2023 — Today, in advance of the State of the Union speech tomorrow, Alliance San Diego sent a letter to President Biden urging him to do more to protect our human rights so all of us can participate with dignity in an inclusive democracy. Alliance was compelled to write this letter because of tragic and ongoing violations of human rights by law enforcement in the United States.
In the letter, Alliance draws attention to the excessive force by federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who disproportionately harm Black and Brown people in our communities. According to the Mapping Police Violence project, local and state law enforcement officers in this country kill more than 1,000 people a year, including in San Diego, and last year was the deadliest in ten years.
These figures don’t include the more than 50 women, children, and men who die every year as a result of encounters with border agents — people like Anastasio Hernandez Rojas whose family seeks justice in a landmark case. Never has a border agent been convicted for someone’s death and only a handful of local and state law enforcement officers have ever been convicted for a killing. This is because the standard for use of force is so low.
Alliance San Diego calls on Biden to use the power of his presidency to change the low use of force standard, which is out of step with international standards and leads to tragedy day over day. The current standard of force in the United States is ‘reasonable’. Under this standard, an officer’s use of force, including lethal force, is justified if it is deemed reasonable. This is one of the lowest standards in the world and focuses on the officer, not the life at risk.
The international human rights standard for force is ‘necessary and proportionate’ which prioritizes the protection of life. This standard is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international agreements that interpret it, which the United States has signed and ratified, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Declaration of Human Rights. Changing the standard honors the dignity of life.
In the coming year, Alliance San Diego will work alongside the community to advance our mission of creating an inclusive democracy. We will elevate the point of an inclusive democracy — human dignity — and fight for the human rights that enable all of us to participate with dignity. We are ready partners for a president willing to do the same.
About Alliance San Diego
Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community organization that is building collective power to create a more inclusive democracy, one where all people can participate with dignity in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice. We pursue this mission by developing leaders, engaging the community, advocating for policies, communicating strategically, and protecting human rights.