GENEVA - The UN Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used only in life-threatening situations.
The panel's first review of the US record on preventing torture since 2006 came in the wake of racially-tinged unrest in cities across the United States this week sparked by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
The committee decried "excruciating pain and prolonged suffering" endured by prisoners during "botched executions" as well as frequent rapes of inmates, shackling of pregnant women in some prisons, and extensive use of solitary confinement.
The review cited deep concern about "numerous reports" of police brutality and excessive use of force against people from minority groups, immigrants and homosexuals as well as racial profiling and militarization of policing work.
It referred to the "frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals."
The US delegation told the 10 independent experts on the panel that 20 investigations had been opened since 2009 into systematic police abuses and that more than 330 police officers had been prosecuted for brutality.
The UN panel said there was insufficient information available on the result of those investigations.