Thursday, March 12, 2020

The police's depraved indifference

Today's report from the Independent Police Conduct authority: Hamilton police chased a man into the Waikato River, then sat there in a boat and literally watched him drown:

Three police officers didn't do all they should have to rescue a man who subsequently drowned in the Waikato River, the Independent Police Conduct Authority says.


The Acting Inspector managing the search told the boat crew not to bring the man on board without first making a plan for doing so.

The officers on the boat took this to mean their role was limited to assisting with the search for him and did not plan for rescuing him from the water if needed.

And as a result, when they found him, in some difficulty, they just watched him drown. The IPCA found a moral obligation to help, but no legal one. I suspect the police would find very differently if the killers weren't wearing a uniform. If you or I did this, we'd be prosecuted for manslaughter or criminal nuisance. Isn't it time these officers were held to the same standard?

There are obvious parallels with police chases here as well. In both cases, the police set up a dangerous situation, which results in death or injury. And in both cases, they then blame the victim, and walk away. There is a fundamental mindset problem here, of deprioritising the lives of offenders and the general public. And that is simply not acceptable in a police force which is meant to protect everyone.