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Police Admit Top Cop Lied To Pandemic Response Committee

The New Zealand Police have admitted in an Official Information Act request that the outgoing Police Commissioner, Mike Bush, lied to the Pandemic Response Committee in his response to a question about racial discrimination by police.

In the April 2nd meeting of the Pandemic Response Committee, Commissioner Bush was asked if there was any racial disparity in how police exercise discretion. Bush stated to the committee that these disparities had been eliminated, but Police admitted in an OIA response that they have no data showing this to be the case. Presenting misleading evidence to a select committee is contempt of Parliament, punishable by fines or imprisonment. Community advocates say that police lies about racism undermine the organisation’s case to carry firearms.

“The Police Commissioner lied to the Pandemic Response Committee and to the country,” says People Against Prisons Aotearoa spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “He said discrimination by police had been eliminated when he knew that he had no grounds to believe this. The police are pushing for Armed Response Teams carrying assault rifles to patrol Maori communities. If the highest ranking cop is willing to lie about police racism being over, why should we trust police claims that Armed Response Teams will not fatally discriminate against Maori?”

The controversial armed police patrol trial, which ended in April, were marked by three separate killings by police in just a six month period. People Against Prisons Aotearoa say the police’s careless approach to racial discrimination is a sign that Maori concerns are being ignored.

“Polling conducted by ActionStation shows that almost 90% of Maori and Pacific people disapprove of armed police patrols. Despite this, the cops are pushing on with their armament agenda, ignoring both facts and the wishes of Maori to do so,” says Rākete. “People Against Prisons Aotearoa is proud to be part of the Arms Down coalition to end armed police patrols, which has already directed hundreds of community members to call and email the police and their local MPs to voice their opposition.”

The Armed Response Teams trial is currently being evaluated by a Police-run think tank. Results are expected in late June. The police are accepting public feedback at haveyoursay@police.govt.nz

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