Civil rights group says UN should address US 'police bias'

Civil rights groups are complaining to the United Nations about “police bias and violence” in the U.S., as tensions between law enforcement and minority communities rise.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling for major criminal justice reforms as the U.N. reviews the United States's record on human rights issues in the wake of the recent police killings of unarmed black men in Baltimore, New York, Ferguson, Mo., and other places around the country.

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“Biased law enforcement against communities of color is a nationwide issue,” said June Zeitlin, director of human rights policy at the Leadership Conference.

The civil rights advocates say racial profiling, police misconduct, and sentencing reform must be addressed in the U.S.

“Eradicating these issues is critical to ensuring equality, justice and fairness in the United States in the 21st Century,” said Sakira Cook, policy counsel at the Leadership Conference.

"Though the U.S. government has implemented measures in recent years to alleviate the racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, much more must be done to sufficiently address the growing disparities,” Cook said.

Both Cook and Zeitlin testified Monday before the U.N. about what they see as policing bias around the country.

Black men are six times more likely to be locked up than white men, Cook said.

“As the United States seeks to implement its human rights obligations, it must take into account the discrimination and racial disparities that persist at every stage of the U.S. criminal justice system, from policing to trial to sentencing to reentry,” Cook said.

The last year the U.N. reviewed the United States’s human rights record was 2010.