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US Embassy “extremely happy” with policing of protest - tape

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Media Release:

The Watch House Tape – American Embassy “extremely happy” with policing of protest

Global Peace and Justice Auckland has obtained a recording of a senior police officer reporting by phone to a superior after last Saturday’s TPP protest -

“In terms of the feedback on the ground from those involved at the American Embassy and the guy who was in charge of the negotiations (inaudible) and so on they were all extremely happy with the police at the time and so there is no issue with comeback”

The recording was made early Saturday evening in the public waiting area at the Auckland police watch house after the protest against the TPP negotiations that afternoon. The senior sergeant was in an adjoining room speaking loudly on the phone.

The recording was started after the officer was overheard boasting that an officer had hit John Minto in the eye during the protest. (We have witnesses who heard this although it’s not on the attached recording)

However the tape raises serious questions about the police role at the TPP -

• Why do police see themselves as particularly accountable to the US embassy?

• Why are the police dealing directly with the US Embassy rather than via Foreign Affairs for example?

It’s clear the police priority is doing well in the eyes of the US embassy while feeding misinformation to the New Zealand public as the following shows:

In the recording the officer acknowledges Saturday’s melee was sparked when an officer “broke ranks” and ran into the crowd.

“In fact he ran in and grabbed a young woman around the neck in a choke hold” said GPJA spokesperson Mike Treen. “I was standing beside her and the two of them fell over but he continued to hold her around the neck when he was on the ground to the consternation of everyone – a recipe for chaos.”

However what the police told the media was that two officers were "separated, attacked and kicked numerous times". This rubbish was dutifully reported as gospel truth by media outlets such as TVNZ who were not at the protest while the Herald on-line headlined their report with “Police attacked at TPP protest”.

The police cynically manipulated a serious breach of discipline on their side to accuse the protest group of violence.

It’s deeply worrying the media took their words at face value and so badly misreported this event to the public.


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