Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), spoke out last Friday about the growing civil unrest in America.
Specifically, Colville addressed the Kyle Rittenhouse incident and the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The UN spokesman indicated that violence in America is a “long-running problem” that needs to be tackled via tougher gun laws (emphasis below added).
“We would see this as yet another unfortunate example of insufficient and lacks [sic] gun control measures in the United States, which is something we have spoken about several times before,” he said. “It should be inconceivable that you have a 17-year-old running around with an automatic rifle.”
Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old he was referring to, shot three individuals during last week’s riots in Kenosha and killed two of them. Lawyers for the teen, who has since been charged with murder, argue that he was acting in self-defense when he successfully repelled the attackers with an AR-15 — a semiautomatic rifle.
All of the men Rittenhouse shot that night were convicted criminals. Joseph “JoJo” Rosenbaum, 36, was a convicted pedophile, Anthony Huber, 26, was a convicted domestic abuser, and Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, is a convicted felon who faced charges for burglary, criminal trespass, theft, and disorderly conduct.
Rosenbaum and Huber did not survive their wounds. Grosskreutz, who appeared to have pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Rittenhouse during the melee, had a good chunk of his bicep blasted off before he retreated from the teen.
Grosskreutz is expected to survive. It’s not clear yet if he has been charged for assaulting Rittenhouse or for unlawfully possessing a firearm as a prohibited person.
A judge and jury will ultimately decide the fate of Mr. Rittenhouse. However, from the video evidence available online and the reports from local media, it appears to be a justifiable use of force under Wisconsin law.
Yet, Colville does not view the case as a teen allegedly protecting himself from a violent and unruly mob of convicted felons, rather he sees it as a criminal act that underscores a lack of progress on gun violence prevention because “guns are so readily available and especially assault rifles.”
When weighing in on the Blake case, Colville contended that the police used excessive force when officers shot at the 29-year-old seven times, hitting him four times in the back.
“It does not appear that the law enforcement officers abided by the international standard of intentional use of lethal force with a firearm,” he explained, adding that it is a “painful reminder of how African Americans continue to be exposed to differentiated and heightened risk, when engaging with law enforcement bodies in the United States.”
Prior to shooting Mr. Blake, officers had attempted to subdue him physically and even tried to taser him twice. Neither less-lethal option prevented Mr. Blake from continuing to engage the officers.
Finally, Mr. Blake was shot when he was opening the door to his vehicle. Police would later discover a knife on the driver-side front floorboard. An investigation is ongoing to determine if he had the knife in his hand just prior to the shooting.
Despite calls to “Defund The Police” and the notion that law enforcement writ large is a threat to black people as Colville suggests, it was an African American female who called 911 because she needed protection from Mr. Blake.
Blake had a warrant out for his arrest on charges related to felony sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse prior to the shooting on Aug. 23. It was that woman who had filed the charges. She was, according to reports, being victimized by Mr. Blake again that fateful day.
The United States is the biggest donor to the United Nations. In 2020, the U.S. provided 22 percent of the organization’s annual budget. China is the second-biggest contributor (12 percent) followed by Japan (8.5 percent).