Carter Center calls on nation to finally address police brutality

June 4, 2020 Atlanta - Atlanta Police Department A. Thigpen (right) listens as a protestor shouts out during the seventh straight day of protest against police brutality and racism outside CNN Center near Centennial Olympic Park on Thursday, June 4, 2020. For the seventh straight day, metro Atlanta residents are gathering for a series of protests denouncing racism and police brutality and demanding change. Sparked by the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, demonstrations have filled the streets of downtown Atlanta since Friday. Wednesday’s protests ended largely peacefully after the city’s curfew hit. A 9 p.m. curfew is in effect in Atlanta again Thursday. (Hyosub Shin /



Calling for an end to the use of excessive force by police against African Americans, the Carter Center issued a stinging rebuke Tuesday calling for local, state and national leaders to fully address police brutality.

“Throughout our nation’s history, excessive use of force against African Americans by police and others has continued with impunity,” the statement read.

The Atlanta-based Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former president Jimmy Carter. Tuesday’s statement came from the Carter Center and was not formally attributed to the former president.

Earlier this month, Carter addressed the then-recent killing of George Floyd, saying that he was pained by “tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks.”

August 20, 2015 - Atlanta - Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis at the Carter Center Thursday. The 90-year-old announced he had cancer after doctors removed small masses from his liver earlier this month. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Christopher Quinn

Credit: Christopher Quinn

Since Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, several large and small American cities including Atlanta have seen protests, some of which have turned violent.

Last Friday, when Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back and killed by an Atlanta police officer, the city suddenly became the country’s new ground zero.

“In our own city and state, recent killings and the failure of the state to prosecute perpetrators of anti-black violence have shocked the nation and caused special grief to Georgians already reeling from the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and the painful recognition that racially motivated attacks are commonplace in the United States,” the Carter Center wrote. “While Black Americans have lived this reality for hundreds of years, many other Americans are only just confronting this painful violence due to video evidence that brutally lays bare the injustices that have long been present.”

The deaths of Arbery, who was killed in the Brunswick area by neighborhood vigilantes, and Floyd and Brooks, who were killed by police, were all recorded.

Ahmaud Arbery supporters participate in an impromptu peaceful march in Brunswick, Thursday, June 4, 2020. A judge found probable cause against 3 suspects in the Ahmaud Abrery case. The case will now be bound over to the Georgia Superior Court. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

The Carter Center said the deaths were examples of how human rights and democratic rights, which the center advocates for abroad, are being violated in America, arguing that “true equality has not been achieved in our country.”

“The death of yet another African American man, Rayshard Brooks, at the hands of police in Atlanta last week once again emphasizes that America must come to grips with its long history of systemic racism and ensure full respect for and protection of the human rights of all, as established in our Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the statement read. “We must all actively participate in weaving a new social contract based on equality for all. Now is the time for deep and sometimes painful, but necessary reflection - followed by concerted action.”