Police brutality in the United States

October 22, 2017

In Blog News

It will be a source of embarrassment to the United States Department of State to discover that while it is spending billions of tax-dollars in promoting democracy, human rights and the Justice Law and Order Sector in developing countries, justice, law and order are crumbling in, of all enlightened places, New York State.

Here is how USAID justifies its foreign aid for democratization:

“Democratic governance and human rights are critical components of sustainable development and lasting peace. Countries that have ineffective government institutions, rampant corruption and weak rule of law have a 30-to-45 percent higher risk of civil war and higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.

To help change this narrative, we are integrating democracy programming throughout our core development work, focusing on strengthening and promoting human rights, accountable and transparent governance, and an independent and politically active civil society across all our work.”

US$2.34 billion is what the Department of State’s Democracy, Human Rights & Governance programme plans to spend lecturing the developing world on human rights in 2017. The lion’s share will go to the Rule of Law and Human Rights, and Good Governance sectors.

In Uganda alone $3,095,307 has been spent on the Rule of Law and Human Rights Sector since 2014. It is mainly channeled through an international NGO called Freedom House. Their mission statement reads,

“We recognize that freedom is possible only in democratic political environments where governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of minorities and women, are guaranteed.[…]

We also empower frontline human rights defenders and civic activists to uphold fundamental rights and to advance democratic change.”

Since 2015, the United States Government has given Freedom House funds for work in Uganda amounting to $3,087,000.

Yet while America ‘exports’ human rights and the rule of law, it is running short of those commodities for domestic consumption. The Black Lives Matter campaign has exposed endemic human rights abuse in the United States. What was not so clear until now is that police brutality can be deployed by the powerful against anyone who challenges them. In Nassau County, New York, when Dr. Norman Finkelstein, an American political scientist, human rights activist and world-renowned author dared to stand up for the rights of a friend of his, which were being abused by corrupt lawyers, he found himself facing what so many endure in dictatorships across the globe: police brutality. The background to the story can be found here.

Parallels between American and Ugandan Police Brutality

The similarities between the methods used in Dr. Finkelstein’s abduction in New York and those used in the abduction of journalist and activist Kalundi Serumaga in Kampala in 2009 are striking; the snatching of the individual at night, driving them around for an hour to disorientate and terrorize them, verbal devaluation and physical abuse ranging from forcing the abductee to maintain a stress position to physically assaulting them. The police even pressed their thumbs in to Kalundi’s eye sockets the way Guantanamo Bay survivors describe. All this is followed by the prosecutor preferring spurious charges and sanctioning the trial of the abductee.

Please support Dr. Finkelstein’s effort to have the people involved called to book by the appropriate authorities by signing the petition:

You might want to write a request to the District Attorney, Nassau County asking her to drop the charges.

Madeline Singas,
District Attorney,
District Attorney’s Office,
262 Old Country Road,
New York,
NY 11501.

Letter to District Attorney Madeline Singas:

Or via her website: