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Arrested Students Tell Stories Of Police Brutality

by Cathy Aronson

One of the students arrested during Thursday’s protest, an Auckland University commerce student Brian Biggs, took the opportunity to tell his story via a megaphone to the crowd of students protesting outside the central police station yesterday.

Brian said he spent six hours in hospital with head injuries after four police officers forcibly removed him from the footpath “with their fingers in eyes and nose technique” and dragged him into the police station to arrest him with obstruction.

He said he was bleeding from his head and had to go to hospital after he became dizzy, disorientated and his vision was blurry. Brian was still wearing his hospital bracelet on Friday to prove his hospital admission.

“It was an unnecessary use of force. I was not doing anything to hurt anybody else so why do the police think they have the right to hurt me,” said Brian.

Auckland City police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said the police repeatedly asked the students to move from the footpath to ensure public safety. She said the students were blocking a footpath on Cook St during a busy time of the day on a road near to the motorway entrance.

Ms Hegarty said the nose hold is a new sort of hold, a grip around the nose, which could be used at the police’s discretion and was within the bounds of police procedure.

Another Auckland University student, Anthony West, was arrested for disorderly behavior, obstruction and resisting arrest. Anthony still wore finger mark bruises on his arm from what he describes as ‘brutal force’ from the police.

He said he was protesting about the police arrests of students who were protesting about WINZ student loan delays.

Anthony said the delay in his loan means he faces eviction from his flat as all three of his flat mates are students waiting on loans and have not paid rent for months.

“The flat is falling to pieces. I guess we’ll have to find a new flat but landlords might be weary about taking on students now,” he said.

Earlier in the day the students marched from the University Quad to the Auckland University of Technology Quad before parading through Queen Street.

At the AUT Quad, Bachelor of Maori Studies student Parehuia Tangira told the crowd how five young students from Manukau Institute of Technology had been subject to police brutality and claims some of them were strip-searched.

Parehuia claims one of the students, who had only just turned 15, was grabbed by the police in a nose hold and was later strip-searched in front of a group of people.

“This young shy girl from the country had the guts to walk down Queen St to ask WINZ for a measly $160. She actually thought it might work and she had no idea she would end up being handled and humiliated by the police. To strip-search a young girl infront of other people is disgusting but also an insult to her culture.”

Ms Hegarty said she was unaware of the strip-search but any complaints could be made to the police complaints authority.

Parehuia said she was looking after the girls from south Auckland who were not familiar with Auckland City.

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