Thursday, October 09, 2014

More rotten police

There's an Independent Police Conduct Authority report out today about a case in Timaru, and its deeply disturbing. Police went to a house in Timaru in response to a report of domestic violence. Despite being told to leave, they entered the house, but did not find anyone in danger. They then invaded the privacy of people in the bathroom, and when they were told to leave again, tasered and pepper sprayed one of them. They then charged him with assault and perjured themselves in court in an attempt to gain a conviction, with the full knowledge of prosecutors and their superior officers. The prosecution was unsuccessful, and the judge was very clear that the police had exceeded their lawful authority.

The IPCA hides all this behind the anodyne headline of "Timaru officers failed to follow good policing practice during potential domestic incident". I'd call it something different: trespass, assault with a weapon, aggravated burglary, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

There are apparently employment and criminal investigations underway into the staff involved, but we know how that will turn out: the police will whitewash the whole thing (as they've already done once already), everyone will keep their jobs, and nothing will be done. And that's simply not good enough. There should be no place in our police force for officers who disregard the law and abuse their powers to assault people. And there should definitely be no place for officers who lie under oath on the witness stand. Those officers, and the officers who enabled and conspired with them, need to be treated like the uniformed criminals they are and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.