On September 21, 2015, St. Thomas University School of Law hosted a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR Chair, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, launched a three-state investigation into the situation of racial discrimination and the issue of police violence against persons of African descent with a Community Forum at the University.
The commission heard from alleged victims of police abuse in Miami-Dade during the first leg of the fact-finding mission into racial discrimination and police violence in the U.S. at the two-hour community meeting coordinated by the Community Justice Project. There was testimony from the mother of Travis McNeil, killed during a traffic stop in 2011; Demetrius Vaughn, a dream Defenders activist arrested by at least four officers; and Rosetta Bryson, a co-founder of South Florida “Black Lives Matter” movement describing the injustice people of color receive from some officers.
The IACHR protects and promotes human rights in the thirty-five state-members of the Organization of American States (OAS), and Commissioner Antoine invites community members to testify regarding human rights abuses occurring in South Florida in terms of policing, housing, health, education, wage theft, and more. Ms. Antoine said the delegation came to Miami-Dade County because of the widely publicized reports about incidents of police abuse involving African Americans. The commission’s report is expected to be published early next year.