Third Shooting By Police Shows Armed Patrols Dangerous
For the third time since the Police trial of Armed Response Teams began, officers have shot and killed a member of the public. The controversial trial has seen squad cars of officers armed with automatic rifles put on patrol in communities around the country. Criminal justice advocates People Against Prisons Aotearoa say this shooting is part of a concerning pattern.
“The police are killing people who didn’t have to die,” says People Against Prisons Aotearoa spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “This is the third person the police have killed since they began trialling patrols of heavily-armed police commandos. The Armed Response Team trial has given police permission to shoot first and ask questions later.”
“Police have killed a New Zealander every two months since the Armed Response Team trial started. This is a drastic escalation in killings by police, which threatens to become the new normal,” says Rākete.
The group, which is part of the Arms Down coalition lobbying the government to ban Armed Response Teams, says the recent shooting is proof ARTs are a dangerous mistake.
“Armed police patrols have set off a wave of killings by police. The Minister of Police, Stuart Nash, has a responsibility to regulate armament policy. We cannot allow the police to continue shooting people who need help.”
The Arms Down coalition has begun collecting anonymous stories from the public describing their feelings about armed police. The stories are being collected at the coalitions website, armsdown.nz, and shared to the coalition’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.