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Maori Party Raises Question about Police Weaponry

Maori Party Raises Question about Police Weaponry

Dr Pita Sharples, Member of Parliament for Tamaki Makaurau
Tuesday 5 February 2008

The tragic death of a Pasifika man in Mangere during a confrontation with police, has brought to the surface ongoing concerns about the nature of the police arsenal relied on in crisis incidents.

“The media reports suggest that the deceased man was hit with a police baton and that pepper spray was applied, shortly before he suffered a heart attack” said Dr Sharples, Member of Parliament for Tamaki Makaurau.

“We offer our sincere sympathies to the family of the deceased, in their time of such grief” said Dr Sharples.

“In the interests of public safety, we will be very interested in following the Police homicide inquiry and the Independent Police Conduct Authority investigations which will report on whether all due procedures were adhered to”.

“In particular, we will be keen to learn whether the protocols for the use of pepper spray were followed” said Dr Sharples.

“The tragic consequences of a cavalier approach to the use of incapacitating weapons such as pepper spray, have long concerned us” said Dr Sharples. “We will be giving this latest case, our close attention”.


The physical effects of pepper spray are immediate and debilitating : blood vessels dilate rapidly, bronchial (lung) passages constrict; mucous membranes secrete freely;eyes burn, stream and close tightly, and cardiac arrest is a risk with elderly persons (Howard League for Penal Reform).


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