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Cops Are People Too


Cops Are People Too.

Opinion by Russell Watkins Leader of Libertarianz.

The not guilty verdict of Police Constable Abbott was to be expected, as any rational New Zealander knows we all have the right to defend ourselves, and that includes the police. In this instance, a police officer was confronted by a maniac swinging a baseball bat, screaming that he was going to kill the officer in question and was not - in the opinion of the endangered police officer - going to be reasoned with. The officer fired at a direct threat, and rendered the threat harmless; an unfortunate job well done. Not only did the officer do his job i.e., to protect life and property, but - more importantly - saved his own life from another individual who wished him harm, for this he was not given well deserved public appreciation and sympathy, but was instead dragged through the 'justice' system as if he were the criminal. The criminal is the man who is dead, the man who created this whole sorry mess is dead; the blame for this killing lies with the man who is dead - the spilt blood he lay in was of his own doing!

Now the case is over there is an opportunity to reflect on the judicial processes that took place. The two most noticeable aspects that came out of this case were the solidarity the police showed in standing up for Abbott's right to defend his life, and also the police protest that one of their own should not face the courts. Now I want to make clear that I do not think Constable Abbott should have faced anything more than a debriefing, secondly, as I've already said, he has as much right to defend himself as anyone else. But the question should be asked, why do police seem to see themselves as being more entitled to defend themselves than the average citizen? And with the Police Commissioners moves to exempt police from facing civil action, what moral and therefore just grounds makes him King-maker to say that police deserve a special exemption privilege that the rest of us do not enjoy?

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Firstly: Take for example the case of Northland farmer McIntyre, he faces intruders at night that are stealing his property, he reasonably assumes his safety is in danger, and puts a well deserved hole in the arse of a criminal, the police take four hours to get to the scene even though they know a wounded crook is bleeding all over Mr McIntryes' drive way. Now this is a classic case of a man rightfully defending his property, and personal safety, yet a week later the police charge him - among other things - with recklessly discharging a firearm. Now, no doubt the police will pursue this prosecution with the fullest force of the law, and may even be successful in getting this man sent to jail. It's unlikely he'll do any time, but they'll try to get him locked up all the same.

Secondly: The Commissioners' attempts to lobby for civil action exemptions for police is also questionable double standards. There is one standard of citizen ship we are told, each of us are supposed to have specific rights, and also must be equal before the law, and that we are also subject to the same laws, it is way to rich and as history shows us particularly dangerous to begin down a path where the states police force has exemption that the rest of us don't. Even though the Abbott debacle should not have occurred, if it had have been the police trying to prosecute one of the rest of us we can be sure they would have thought the process just.

The police need to do some soul searching, they must start protecting us again not persecuting us when we defend ourselves. They must actively support private citizens who protect themselves, their families, other peaceful citizens and property.

They must understand that to get the public back on their side they need to show that they are subject to the same laws and that they have same right as us, and vice versa. A good start, and the time has come, would be for the inception of an independent investigation body to 'police the police', (perhaps as part of the justice department), that way we may start to see some more clarity, less suspicion of corruption, and a police force that may get back some well deserved but dwindling public support.

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