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Independent Investigation Of Police Actions Sought

GPJA Seeks Independent Investigation Of Police Behaviour

Open Letter To PCA

21 March 2005

Police Complaints Authority PO Box 5025
Wellington

Fax (04) 499 2053

Dear Sir or Madam,

Request for PCA Independent Investigation

Following the letter we faxed to the Police Complaints Authority yesterday - Sunday 20th March – we are amazed that we have to follow-up so quickly with a further complaint concerning appalling police behaviour this morning at the Auckland District Court which resulted in the arrest of 5 supporters of Global Peace and Justice Auckland.

The people concerned had entered the foyer of the court as members of the public to support a person appearing in court. They were confronted in the court lobby by a phalanx of police who barred access to the court and who produced a court manager to say they were not to enter the court as they may be carrying “political material”.

They were not carrying any such material but one women had a copy of the previous days Sunday Herald newspaper which carried a photo of police violently manhandling a member of the Saturday protest.

This was put away and the group requested entry to the court.

While this matter was being discussed with the court manager the police then warned the group to leave and claimed they were trespassing in the court.

This was an utterly bizarre claim as the foyer is a public place with each and every member of the group acting in a perfectly reasonable manner.

However despite questions and discussions continuing with at least 2 of the group and the court manager all were arrested in short order.

The 4 women and one man arrested are justice and peace campaigners as well as members of the public. They acted within the law and were utterly reasonable in their behaviour and language at all times.

The action of the police was unreasonable, boorish, vindictive and clearly to us unlawful. It is behaviour one might expect in a militaristic police state but not New Zealand.

Following so closely on the provocative, violent behaviour of police last Saturday it reinforces our belief that policing of protest activity in Auckland urgently requires an independent investigation as we requested in our letter sent yesterday.

We urge the PCA to undertake this investigation quickly because of its importance for the community and for other protest activity which will of course continue in Auckland on a variety of issues into the future.

We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours sincerely,

John Minto For the GPJA Committee

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