Monday, December 21, 2020

More racism from police

A decade ago, the police were abusing their power to coerce DNA samples from young Māori. Today, they're abusing their power to coerce photographs:

Police in Wairarapa have admitted to illegally taking photos of youths after RNZ alerted them to multiple reports of officers stopping and photographing young Māori on the street.

Whānau describe their sons walking alone in broad daylight, when police have approached and insisted they take their picture.

Its the usual story: people minding their own business being "asked" for a photograph by uniformed cops, with an explicit threat that if they didn't agrees they'd be arrested. In such circumstances, police claims that these photographs are given by consent are meaningless, especially as they are targeting young people who legally cannot consent to being questioned without a parent, caregiver, lawyer, or other adult present. As for the police's "justification" the law they cite - s214 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, which sets out the strong presumption against arresting children and young people - seems to be of dubious applicability. Instead, it just looks like outright racism: treating all young Māori as criminal suspects, regardless of whether there is any evidence or not. And that is simply not something we should tolerate from the police.