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Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014
   2015-06-26 10:39:56    Xinhua      Web Editor: Yangyang

 

I. On Civil Rights

In the U.S., problems concerning respecting and protecting civil rights are severe. The nation is haunted by spreading guns, frequent occurrence of violent crimes, the excessive use of force by police that infringed on citizens' personal rights, as well as wide criticism of illegal eavesdropping that violated citizens' right of privacy.

Civil rights are threatened by rampant violent crimes. According to the "Crime in the United States" released by the FBI, there were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 2013, of which 14,196 are murders, 79,770 are rapes, 345,031 robberies and 724,149 aggravated assaults (http://www.fbi.gov.) There were an estimated 367.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013. The Market Watch announced 10 most dangerous cities in America (www.marketwatch.com, November 20, 2014)). The lowest ranking of the ten was Birmingham in Alabama, where 1,345 crimes were reported for every 100,000 residents, while in Detroit, 2,072 violent crimes were reported for 100,000 residents, the highest in the nation in 2013. In 2014, Los Angeles's overall total of violent crimes was up 7.6 percent by early October, compared with the same time in 2013 (The Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2014). There was about 1,500 violent crimes registered a month in 2014. Meanwhile, gang violence in the U.S. was at an all time high. There were currently an estimated 1.7 million gang members spread throughout the country (www.insidermonkey.com, November 1, 2014).

The rampant use of guns was not contained. Though the FBI had launched federal background checks to block groups like fugitives and felons, from buying firearms, local law enforcement authorities did not report arrest warrants to the database used to screen gun buyers (The USA Today, April 23, 2014). Consequently, tens of thousands of fugitives including those facing serious charges can pass the background checks and bought firearms. Statistics showed that the use of firearms was behind about 69 percent of the murders in the U.S., while for robberies, the figure was 40 percent, and for aggravated assaults, 21.6 percent (edition.cnn.com, September 24, 2014). A total of 2,215 people were shot in Chicago in the first 10 months of 2014 (www.insidermonkey.com, November 1, 2014,). There were 30 shooting cases reported in three days in a week in the city (projects.aljazeera.com, November 19, 2014).

Law enforcement authorities were run with a loose rein, with some even turning a blind eye to fugitives. Police officers were ignoring sex crimes on a regular basis. A report released in November by the inspector general of New Orleans found that of 1,290 sex crime calls for service assigned to five New Orleans police detectives from 2011 to 2013, 840 were designated as miscellaneous, and nothing at all was done (The New York Times, November 13, 2014). Of the 450 calls that led to the creation of an initial investigative report, no further documentation was found for 271 of them. Police and prosecutors were allowing tens of thousands of wanted felons to escape justice merely by crossing a state border (The USA Today, March 12, 2014). A confidential FBI database chronicled 186,873 of these cases, including more than 3,300 accused of sex crimes. A total of 78,878 felony suspects won't be extradited from any place but neighboring states (The USA Today, March 12, 2014). Police indicated they would not spend the time or money to retrieve the fugitive from another state.

There was excessive use of violence by police. The Wall Street Journal reported on December 3, 2014, that many of the law enforcement agencies did not submit the statistics about killings by police when enforcing laws to the FBI. The report found at least 1,800 police killings took place in 105 police departments between 2007 and 2012. The Associated Press reported on December 7, 2014 that at least 400 deaths happened every year as a result of the law enforcement activities by the U.S. police officers, most of who were not prosecuted. And some police officers had repeated killings on record, though they were investigated for every case. There were 55 police officers who were sued at least 10 times with one being sued for 28 times. Los Angeles Times reported on September 14 that since 2004 a committee reviewed 809 complaints of excessive force or misconduct at the Southwest border, but no police officers had been punished.


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