Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The police should not be above the law

The IPCA has found yet another case of unjustified taser use by police. But was the officer prosecuted? Of course not:

A police officer was not justified in using a taser on a prisoner in custody at Hamilton District Court, an independent inquiry has found.


[Waikato district commander Superintendent Bruce] Bird agreed that the officer's use of the taser was contrary to policy and not justified.

"Our staff face an array of challenges when dealing with aggressive members of the public and policing prisoners in court cells can be very challenging.

"It is important that when under pressure, our officers make the right decisions regarding how best to respond.

"We have discussed this incident thoroughly with the officer involved and learnt from the mistake that was made," Bird said.

If you or I used a lethal weapon in this way, we would be charged with assault with a weapon and prosecuted. But no matter how many times the IPCA finds the police acted unlawfully, there are never charges. Its almost as if police are abusing their prosecutorial discretion to protect their own or something. But by doing so, they undermine respect for the police, and for the law itself.

Either the law applies to all, or it is meaningless. This officer should be prosecuted. The police should not be above the law.