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NRT: More police crime

Written By: - Date published: 2:57 pm, October 17th, 2013 - 25 comments
Categories: crime, police - Tags: ,

no-right-turn-256No Right Turn reports on a case that is symptomatic of just how out of control the police in NZ are getting. The response of Wellington’s Tactical Policing Unit was both completely disturbing in its use of violence to try to create the type of incident that they were expecting. The police lying, not only to the public, but also to themselves about the actions is even worse. If there are no prosecutions and stiff sentences for the officers involved, then it is time to start actively initiate a program of private prosecutions of individual police.

Back in 2009 Police were called to an “out of control” party in Wellington. When they got there, they found that, contrary to reports, there was no fighting in the street outside. The hosts told them there was no problem, and that they did not need assistance. The police did not believe them. So they broke into the house, smashing windows in the process, and beat those inside to get them to disperse – in the process breaking someone’s neck. In the aftermath, when people complained to them and the IPCA, they leaked information about them in an effort to discredit them. And now the Independent Police Conduct Authority has ruled that all of that was unlawful:

An Independent Police Conduct Authority report has found that Police acted contrary to law in entering a private residence on Homebush Road, Khandallah, Wellington in the early hours of 5 September 2009.

The Authority today released the results of its independent investigation into the actions of members of the Tactical Policing Unit who shut down the private party using unnecessary, excessive force in the process.

[…]

Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said today although the Tactical Policing Unit was responding to a call from a partygoer concerned about the behaviour of gatecrashers, the decision to close the party down was contrary to law.

“The force used to remove partygoers from the house in an effort to shut down the party was also excessive and contrary to law.

“The action of a Tactical Policing Unit officer in striking one of the partygoers with a baton, using excessive force, was also contrary to law. Medical records show that this young man sustained a displaced fracture of the C7 spinous process, or a broken neck, as a result of the officer’s action,” Sir David said.

Miraculously, the police, who just last year had published a self-serving whitewash clearing all their officers of any wrongdoing, have now accepted the IPCA’s findings. Which raises an obvious question: will the officers involved face charges? Because looking at their description of events, there are prima facie cases for trespass, criminal damage, burglaryaggravated burglary (“burglary with a weapon”), assault, injuring with intent and wounding with intent. Not to mention misuse of official information.

The police must obey the law. If they don’t, they are nothing more than a gang with a fancy uniform (and that’s exactly how they have behaved in this incident). Sadly, the police don’t give us much cause for confidence here: the IPCA specifically finds they unjustly apply a different standard to investigating their own officers than to ordinary members of the public. But if the police won’t uphold the law, then the people will have to – through private prosecutions.

The IPCA is also recommending changes around how the police deal with parties. Good. The current situation – where the police apparently regard parties as riots in progress, demand that they be “registered” (implying that you need their permission to exercise your freedom of assembly in your own home), and shut them down on a whim – is a cause of public disorder, not a cure for it. The police need to change their approach. The question is whether they’ll learn their lesson, or continue with the same pig-headed approach which has caused these problems.

 

Updated: NRT has another post about the police response. 

A gap that needs to be filled

Earlier today the Independent Police Conduct Authority released a damning report about an incident in which police had unlawfully trespassed, broken into a house, and beaten people (breaking someone’s neck in the process) to unlawfully shut down a party. the police’s response? A giant “fuck you”:

Despite breaking the law by entering the house, Nicholls said none of the 11 officers involved had been, or would be, disciplined.

“Our belief is the police acted in good faith in terms of entering the property.”

So, despite several apparent crimes being committed – including aggravated burglary – the police won’t even discipline, let alone prosecute their own.

The Police refusing to hold their own to account is a constant problem. We need a solution. We need an NGO dedicated to mounting private prosecutions, to hold the police to account when they won’t do it themselves.

But its not just the police. We also need an NGO to enforce electoral law, because the Police have repeatedly shown that they are unwilling to do so. It should not have been left to Graham McCready to bring a case against John Banks. And cases should have been brought against both Labour and National in 2005 for overspending.

The fact that we now need a body like this is an indictment on our justice system. But its where we’re at. Who’s up for it?

Indeed. 

25 comments on “NRT: More police crime”

  1. McFlock 1

    I wonder if McCready wants to take on the cops? 🙂

    • lprent 1.1

      I’d be willing to donate towards the cause.

      Clearly the police are incompetent to deal with their own when they refuse to deal with officers capable of this kind of crap. The IPCA has no power to lay charges. The government’s legal offices can’t as far as I’m aware.

      It means that no-one is held accountable for either the police assault or the the subsequent attempt to cover up the seriousness of the assault and it’s consequences. Justice is not seen to be done. In fact it is trampled underfoot by those who are meant to uphold it.

      Who is left apart from the public prosecution of police?

      • Ennui 1.1.1

        It would make extremely good Labour policy to announce policies to strengthen public respect for the police, after all if we cant trust them who can we trust?

        The trick is to raise the bar with regard to the public’s expectations of the police, after all they are our heroes so there would be no problem with a revamped IPCA that can demonstrate, (independently of course) that the cops meet our high expectations. Of course when they don’t the newly announced teeth for the IPCA would get rid of “bad eggs”. Of course the Lor’in’orda bigots would object but would be easily silenced by “the law is the law and our Police heroes abide by it, cos they are the good guys”.

  2. richard 2

    This is disturbing:

    Despite breaking the law by entering the house, Nicholls said none of the 11 officers involved had been, or would be, disciplined.

    Either the police at the scene are blind and didn’t see one of their colleagues cracking someone on the back of the head with a baton or at least one of them did and lied along with the perpetrator.

    And then this:

    The authority had also investigated a complaint that unauthorised material was sent to a media outlet after the incident.

    The release had been made to discredit a complainant, but the administrator who leaked the information had left the police, Judge Carruthers said.

    So will this person be prosecuted?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9294502/Police-used-excessive-force-report

    Edit: the post update happened while I was writing this.

  3. Red Rosa 3

    Deeply disturbing. NRT has earlier pointed to this ChCh story

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9223382/Compo-for-horrific-police-beating

  4. tc 4

    Seems rickard/shipton could be the tip of an ugly iceberg everyone keeps sailing around. remember how high up rickard was.

    • greywarbler 4.1

      And what a bad look that was for the name Rickard. When I saw the Rickard name still involved with the police a short while ago, it brought very unpleasant memories. Eva Rickard was a Maori worker for return of land and gained great respect. Then that name was besmirched by muscle-boy, sports-jock, coupled with pack and power, bad behaviour.

  5. Treetop 5

    Just look at this link

    http://disidento.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/secret-inquiry/

    The letter dated 7 August 2013 from the Privacy Commissioner who agrees with the police is the reason an independent tribunal is required to get to the bottom of the ROT.

    http://obrien.wordpress.com/legal/privacy-commissioner/2/

    What next for O’Brien?

    Police do not up hold the law by breaking it.

  6. Peter 6

    There’s one other thing we need the NGO for too – environmental prosecutions, when central and local government won’t act against polluters.

  7. Anne 7

    Just left this in “The fish rots from the head” but is relevant (sort of) here as well:

    Another example of the police turning a blind eye to political skulduggery

  8. QoT 8

    Because acting in good faith and not intending to break the law are excuses that work so well when you’re not a cop. 🙄

  9. Tracey 9

    the police say they dont know who actually hit hi,. of course the commissioner called them all in and said

    if you dont tell me by 4pm which one of you did it, you are all suspended.

  10. Adele 10

    Kiaora koutou katoa

    I think today’s policing is reflective of rushed training and poor recruiting methods. The Police should strengthen their psychological profiling as it appears that they have well exceeded their quota of sociopaths.

    There has always been an element of brutality in the Police.

    Like moths to a flame, paedophiles to a school – sociopaths are attracted to occupations that allow them free reign on perpetrators – not victims. The law gives them the excuse, and when it doesn’t – simply pretend that it does, and say “whoops, a wee mistake,” never-mind.

    This disturbing element in the Police has always existed. Well, since colonisation. Before colonisation, Māori society was well regulated. The threat of being dismembered was incredibly motivational towards peace, love and harmony. Seriously, and actually, banishment from whānau and hapū was the greatest punishment tangata whenua could suffer – it was worse than being dead.

    Back to the Police.

    Bashing on kids is not a good look. Those in the Police who are not sociopaths should right the night otherwise you are guilty by omission. Eleven policemen participated in the raid and not one of them actually knew the law – so says the Big Commander. They acted in good faith.

    Faith above the law. Poor training, rushed recruiting and perhaps also befuddled leadership.

    • Treetop 10.1

      “Bashing on kids is not a good look.”

      Entering a property unlawfully and then swinging a batton in a narrow hallway, from the start errors were made which puts the reputation of all of the officers at the scene in the spotlight.

      It is my understanding that only four officers were interviewed.

      I would like to know why the four were chosen to be interviewed and why all of the officers at the scene were not interviewed?

      The situation is that four years down the track the man who had his neck fractured is still waiting for justice to be delivered and PNHQ are carrying on as if the aggravated assault did not occur or cause an injury.

      I also would like to know what involvement Marshall has had in this as the incident occurred under Broad?

      What really pisses me off is that the police (PNHQ) are deluded in thinking that the decision from the IPCA does not point the finger at them and that the police have failed to do their duty.

  11. Murray Olsen 11

    If someone comes up with an idea that’ll go somewhere, I’ll contribute.

  12. Sable 12

    There’s nothing independent about the police complaints authority and that is the crux of the problem. The good cops can not complain and the public have no voice so the bad apples stay in the barrel.

    The real question is why have we not got an independent authority like so many other countries? My view is if the police were reformed then the dirty political elements would have no one to do their bidding. The police might even be inclined to say “no” to actions like the Kim Dotcom affair.

    The problems with our police who used to do such a good job are symptomatic of a general failing of our political system and the pretty blatant corruption seeping into government.

    • tc 12.1

      Because they do such a great job it’s not needed (sarc) and anyway the police are doing just fine by the NACT standards.

      Same reason crusher doesn’t see the need for a media watchdog as they’re such bastions of good behaviour and intellect.

    • Murray Olsen 12.2

      Any cops who even look like they might do some whistle blowing at some stage are harassed out of the force. They take the same approach to this as the gangs.

    • Public voice isn’t unattainable, and cops, as members of the public, can participate in this.

      To have real authority the right to act cannot be assumed.

      IMO identifying the criminals would be good first step.

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