Archive for the ‘police’ Category

Filthy, scumbag cops sham taser approval

August 28, 2008

NZ Police Commissioner Howard Broad

NZ Police Commissioner Howard Broad

NZ Police Association head Greg O'Connor

NZ Police Association head Greg O'Connor

NZ Police Commissioner Howard Broad should be sacked! After his taser trial report came out at the start of the year – just after the $8m bungled police hounding of Tuhoe activists in the terrorist Operation Eight – Broad did not want to ask for more lethal weapons, so he sat on the report.

Seeing an opportunity, Broad waited until the start of the scheduled 2008 election campaign to release the report, knowing that no political party wants to look soft on law and order in an election. And Broad tops it off with his sham ‘consultation’ with MPs, that lasts about 12 hours and just involves Broad listening to one parliamentary debate, without even waiting for MPs to give him written submissions.

Broad even says “I was not asking for the minister’s approval, I wasn’t asking for a serious piece of advice, …” How shameful is that?

And who said an unelected, unaccountable police commissioner should decide what weapons he and his chums get to use on the public? ‘By convention…’ please!!!! This deranged ‘convention’ must be changed immediately. The new Policing Bill before parliament should include specific limitation on police, so they can only use weapons specified by full parliamentary approval in law. No more back-door sham consults by a police, who want the power of kings.

Which brings us to Greg O’Connor, the ranting, frothing Police Association head, who says:

Putting the decision to Parliament was a further erosion of the convention of the commissioner’s operational independence of Parliament.

“What if Parliament had said no? What would he have done then?”

Mr O’Connor said it set a dangerous precedent if Parliament changed its mind on the Taser in the future, or if other controversial decisions would now be expected to be put to MPs.

What more can you say – ‘Rant’ O’Connor wants police to be above the law, able to choose their own weapons without oversight or approval by elected representatives of the people he wishes to inflict those weapons on. A monster.

Ironically, NZ First’s Ron Mark put it best when he said:

he was “baffled” by the commissioner’s eight months of hesitancy over what was a “no-brainer”

A no-brainer indeed! Any MP who lets cops have tasers shows no brains, any MP who lets cops decide what weapons they get has no brains, and anyone who tries to portray police as at risk (they’re not – they are well down the ACC list of hazardous professions) has no brains. It is the NZ public who are at risk from increasingly well-armed and thuggish police. Not surprising, given their union head and commissioner, is it?

Update: The Mental Health Foundation has called on the police to not introduce tasers without first properly consulting them, as mental health sufferers are far more likely to suffer from police tasering. Will Howard Broad run another 12 hour ‘consultation’?

Update 2: Oh my stars! It just gets worse. The NZ police ‘study’ they used to justify introducing tasers includes the gem that 39% of cops can’t think of any downside to tasers. Hint to mindless cops – 300 deaths in the USA from taser use!

The report said 39 per cent of officers surveyed could identify no risks or disadvantages to having a Taser available to police officers. Some thought that the Taser posed no more risk than other tactical options.

The potential risks identified were that subjects may gain control of the Taser and use it to incapacitate officers, misuse of the device, and that some officers may become over reliant on Tasers, electing to use them when firearms should be used.

And the dangers the rest of these cops identified were all about dangers to them – nothing about dangers to the public or ‘suspects’ – the people these electro-shock weapons are aimed at. Frightening. Not one cop identified any risk to the people they use 50,000 volt guns on.

Update 3: Stunning!!! Police commissioner Howard Broad doesn’t want to get tasered, even though he is happy to inflict this on every police officer who trains to use the taser, and he is happy for tasers to electro-shock any member of the public; old, young, mentally ill, unfit, heart conditions… Can anyone spell dangerous hypocrite? If Howard Broad won’t front to get tasered live on 6pm TV news, then MPs should immediately ban tasers. Only fair.

Labour & police approving tasers

August 27, 2008

The shameful saga of Labour approving NZ Police use of electro-shock weapons – tasers – has continued, with police minister Annette King telling parliament that police commissioner Howard Broad will decide soon, after he has heard what MPs think.

King makes clear though, that what MPs say will not decide Broad, but that Broad has some kind of power over parliament to decide what weapons the police can use. Truly disgraceful!

It is time for clear laws to be put in place that limit the weapons police can use to be only those approved by parliament, after public consultation. I for one do not want the least intelligent, most thuggish sector of society – the police – to have 50,000 volt electro-shock guns.

And no, I am not reassured by Annette King’s mindless blather about police being audited by having short video clips recorded every time a taser is fired (camera built into taser). Police have shown themselves willing to ‘lose’ or ‘edit’ footage in the past to justify their actions. And even if unedited video is available of tasering incidents, we have only just seen several cops get off scot-free after being caught on unedited CCTV video beating and pepper spraying repeatedly a mentally ill prisoner locked in a cell in the Bay of Plenty. And the judge blocked public release of the video as it would show the truth. Hardly reason to have confidence in the police getting tasers.

I’m with the UN – tasers are torture!! Ban everyone from having them – especially the cops!

Update:   Rant O’Connor of the police union association has come out all in favour of tasers, as has NZ First’s Ron Marks. Perhaps if every MP supporting taser introduction was tasered 6 times first…

Tell me again how safe Tasers are…

July 24, 2008
Taser being used

Taser being used

Good to see the Mounties are showing NZ how safe we will be if the police get the tasers they so desperately want.

Canadian teen killed by police tasers
9:10AM Thursday July 24, 2008

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Winnipeg police say a teenager has died after being shot with a taser gun while he was brandishing a knife at officers.

I’m sure some will say the kid had a knife, yadda, yadda. That is why police are given stab-proof vests, riot shields, pepper spray, long batons and generally have the ability to surround offenders with large numbers. Police could even investigate using deer net guns (shoots big net over suspect, which tangles them).

But tasers, safe? Yeh, right!

Truckies – arrest ’em now!

July 3, 2008

Remarkable to see how everyone in ‘authority’ is bending over backwards to accomodate the protest of truckies against the government’s raising Road User Charges (RUC) by 7.5%.

Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) – charged with panning  planning Auckland’s transport – has decided they will shut down CBD bus services “until roads clear”, and Police are ‘working with truckies’. Stunning!

I recall student demo’s in the 1990s that intended to drive cars slow over Auckland Harbour Bridge as demonstration of student frsutration at ever rising tertiary education fees. Police arrested then-Auckland University Student’s Association President Brendon Lane under powers they have to hold anyone who is demonstrably intending to carry out an ‘offence’. So why haven’t they arrested the truckies leaders? And warned truckies that anyone infringing road laws will be promptly arrested?

After all, if a union has a strike (like Unite union foodcourt workers did last weekend at Auckland airport), cops turn out in large numbers to mooch around and ‘move along’ peaceful protestors. Aaaah, but I forgot – truckies are a vital cog in the capitalist wheel aren’t they? Can’t arrest our outrageous tax dodgers… (truckies are being subsidised as the RUC they pay is under the cost of maintenance and road construction costs attributed to them).

Stand back for the cover up!

May 27, 2008

Hard on the heels of news that a man arrested for domestic violence died in Rotorua police cells, is … the police cover up. It starts with the refusal of police to state the cause of death. Note the only reason for police not disclosing cause of death is normally the need to keep evidence secret, so evidence mentioned by suspects will show they knew details of the crime scene that were not publically known, and hence, their guilt.

When the crime scene is a police cell, the only possible suspects are the police and the victim, so there are no grounds for police to refuse to disclose cause of death. Except to give the officers on duty time to ‘get their stories straight’.

This is followed by the “Independent Police Complaints Authority” investigation – done by a former senior police officer. Yep, that’ll be independent!

Time to have a genuine police investigation unit, with no police allowed on it. You do not require ‘familiarity’ with police methods, etc (the usual nonsensical dribblings given by police for having ex-cops on the IPCA), as anyone with a reasonable education can follow what methods police have used. After all, that is the very basis of the jury system…

And these are the same cops who want to use rifles instead of pistols, the same cops who blaze away at dogs in streets with people on them, the same cops who pepper spray and tazer (in the trial) restrained or innocent people. Aaaah, just makes you appreciate how ‘safe’ we are in NZ, eh?

Bursting the ‘national security’ balloon

May 1, 2008

Stunning and brilliant! That is how I would describe the brave actions of the 3 Anzac Ploughshares activists who cut and collapsed one of the two domes hiding a spy satellite dish at the Government Communications Security Beureau (GCSB) at Waihopai.

These activists embody their Ploughshares principles of putting their words into actions, beating swords into ploughshares. Hence the use of sickles – it is a reference to the biblical passage:

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2:4


Capsicum Kills

February 5, 2008

News just in (4pm news, National Radio, 5 Feb 08) reports another death in South Auckland – this time at Police hands.

 A 40-year old Polynesian man in Mangere was being spoken to by Police for an alleged assault, when capsicum spray was used to subdue him (along with a baton blow to his arm).

The man is reported to have dropped to the ground and died a short while later. Naturally, Police have launched internal and PCA investigations, but does anyone trust these? Heck, the PCA investigation into Police oppression of Free Tibet protestors took 8 years! And let them change their police operations instructions to ‘legalise’ their illegal actions…

NZ needs a genuinely independent police complaints body – one which has no police involved in investigations or the writing of reports. Let the Civil Liberties Union pick a panel to run it.

Petty Politics – PC Plod PM protection pilloried

December 30, 2007

Hehe – 2007 truly has been the ‘annus horribilis’ for the NZ Police force. To cap off:

  • rape accusations (and some convictions)
  • cops chasing cars crunching children
  • interminably slow or no prosecution of dodgy politicians (think Taito Philip Field, Trevor Mallard & Tau Henare, most parties for election funding rorts, etc)
  • tasering and/or gunning down ( or trying to) various folks, dogs, themselves; then demanding the right to decide that they should permanently get tasers

it seems the police’s Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS) couldn’t even spot a few random taggers, or burglars, or Exclusive Brethren, … when they play whoopy at the PM’s house, or Parliament.

In their defence, police assigned to protect the PM (by speeding to rugby matches?) could hardly be expected to watch her residence or place of work, could they? Nah, too much to expect.

Bellingham killer cop walks free

December 21, 2007

The police officer who shot dead Stephen Bellingham in Christchurch has been cleared of any criminal charges by an internal police investigation.

Bellingham allegedly attacked the officer with a claw hammer, though there are conflicting eye witness accounts as to whether Bellingham actually had a hammer at the point he advanced on the cop.

It is not the first time this cop has faced allegations of violence.

 The ‘Independent’ Police Complaints Authority (aka the police congratulatory authority – it is made up of a few retired judges, but their investigations of police are normally done by … police) investigation is ongoing.

The key problem here is these reviews rarely look at police actions leading up to the shootings other than to establish the locations of the people involved. There needs to be systemic understanding of the alternatives police have available to them (use of numbers, riot gear, pepper spray, police dogs, etc). This is not to downplay the difficulties police frequently face – just to highlight the growing police compliance culture; ‘obey or die’ (or get tasered, or …).

We need a royal commission of enquiry into police use of alternative methods of resolving violent incidents, especially focussed on how police get themselves in situations where they needlessly confront offenders in a manner that endangers themselves, justifying use of lethal force.

That way we will avoid more ‘cop kills civilian’ incidents like the Bellingham and Steven Wallace shootings (2 cops left 1 cop at the scene of a drunk window-smashing Wallace in Waitara to get guns, returned and shot and killed Wallace after he advanced on them) – see related “Taser fun for everyone” post.

Taser fun for everyone

December 20, 2007

Stunning – PC Plod has done it again! Just weeks after Canadian police repeatedly taser a Polish migrant to his death at Vancouver airport, US police taser a man just out of his spa pool.

Police forced their way into Donnell Williams’ home in Wichita as he was just getting out of his tub, with a towel around his waist. They say they told him to show them his hands and he didn’t. Williams says he wasn’t wearing his hearing aid and couldn’t hear. “I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear,” he said. Apparently, the officers didn’t hear him because when he didn’t comply, they Tasered him. The police were responding to a call about a shooting, a call that turned out to be a false alarm.


Oh, and the Wichita man was telling police he couldn’t hear them … because he did not have his hearing aid in. And police could hardly claim he was concealing a weapon. Despite this, the cops decided to taser the (presumably wet) man.

It seems police truly view tasers as a compliance weapon – you will comply with all police commands immediately or be tasered (maybe to death). And NZ police want to introduce tasers here!!!

Of course, NZ police union boss Greg O’ Connor claims the police should decide whether to use tasers [National Radio interview] (the public should Greg – we are the ones they will be inflicted on), and that cops having tasers will mean cops will kill less people by shooting them with guns …

Of course, it does not seem to have occured to Mr O’ Connor that police could change their training manual to teach police how to defuse situations without using guns OR tasers. The one advantage police have is their ability to quickly outnumber an offender with fit, strong officers. That, and riot shields, stab-proof vests, long batons, pepper spray …

Sadly, when cops have the option of weapons, they all too frequently go for them as a first response, not a last ditch method. Witness the 2000 killing of drunk golf-club wielding Waitara man Steven Wallace; 2 male cops left their female colleague alone with Wallace for 10 minutes while they went to get Glock pistols at the local cop-shop, before returning and shooting Wallace dead. While police claim Wallace advanced on them, this may have been triggered by the cops first shooting over Wallaces’ head (the police summary linked to above paints the police actions in a better light than the details of the police inquiry report). It also ignores the fact that police outnumbered a drunk man by 3 to 1. Riot shields would have stopped Wallace seriously harming the cops while they subdued him.

So having tasers available would not have stopped police killing Wallace – the 2 officers went past riot gear to get guns; they would also probably have ignored tasers.

Verdict – giving tasers to police will increase the numbers of members of the public killed by police, not decrease them.