An Application of International Laws and Norms at Home: Redressing Human Rights Violations by Police at Black Lives Matter Protests

Date & Time February 23, 2021 1:30pm - 3:00pm
IGL General

Join Alumna Lauren Katz Smith (EPIIC02), Clinical Law Professor at Drexel University, for a discussion about the complaint she and her students submitted to the United Nations documenting human rights abuses perpetrated by the Philadelphia Police Department during the Black Lives Matter protests. The submission describes how on May 31 the PPD unleashed a variety of less-lethal weapons, including tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray, in a residential neighborhood in West Philadelphia near 52nd Street, putting protesters’ and residents’ lives at risk. It also describes the police officers’ unlawful use of these weapons during a protest on Highway 676 on June 1 that threatened the safety and wellbeing of protesters and bystanders alike. At the same time, the complaint documents how the PPD emboldened white groups, who identified as vigilantes, to take over streets and parks, and harass and attack protesters for Black lives.

Katz Smith, who interviewed victims of the 52nd Street incident, noted that part of the goal for the complaint was to allow victims the chance to imagine what justice might look like and to propose reparations and policy change. “The complaint seeks to elevate the voices and ideas of the most marginalized members of our community and to advocate for a radical reimagining of public safety in Philadelphia,” said Katz Smith.

Lauren Katz Smith is a Clinical Law Professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University. Her research and direct legal service work primarily focuses on housing law, community development and revitalization, and criminal justice reform. She teaches courses at the law school in community lawyering and poverty law. Professor Katz Smith’s experience in private practice includes her work as an associate at Blank Rome LLP, where she litigated a variety of matters and provided FDA regulatory compliance counseling. During her tenure at Blank Rome, she served as a child advocate with the Support Center for Child Advocates, providing legal services to victims of child abuse and neglect. Previously, Professor Katz Smith litigated constitutional claims as a legal fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as a law clerk for the U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey, Hon. Joseph Rodriguez . She graduated from Tufts University in 2003 with a B.A. in International Relations and was part of the 2001 EPIIC cohort focused on Global Inequity.

Co-sponsored by the Tufts Chapter of Amnesty International

Zoom information.