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Cops must apologise for outrageous strip search

21 July 2001

Cops must apologise for outrageous arrest / strip search

Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today said Hamilton police should apologise to two young women who were strip searched and charged with willfull damage for drawing a chalk picture on a footpath, as referred to on page one of today’s New Zealand Herald

The two women were arrested and charged with willfull damage after they drew a small chalk picture of a happy face on the pavement at this year’s J-Day celebrations. They were then strip searched. The charges have now been dropped, along with an attempt by police to bill them $50 for waterblasting costs to remove the chalk.

Nandor said the police actions were completely over the top and police owed the two women apologies and the community an explanation.

“This is a ridiculous waste of time and an abuse of police power. There is no justification for what has happened here,” said Mr Tanczos.

“These two women have been arrested on the flimsiest and most pathetic of excuses and have had their privacy invaded.

“How can a chalk drawing possibly be construed as willfull damage –especially since they offered to wash it off and were not allowed to - and how can that warrant a strip search?” he said.

“Either the arrests were politically motivated or it is standard practise to waste police time on such rubbish. Either reason is seriously worrying”.

Mr Tanczos said it was police actions like these that eroded peoples respect for police and the job they were doing. He called on the president of the Police Association Greg O’Connor to condemn the arrests on behalf of the majority of police officers who do not engage in this kind of activity.

“How much has it cost to arrest, charge, strip-search and prosecute these women? Yet we are constantly told that police resources are stretched. Some explanation is called for here” he said.

ENDS

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