Police Homicide Confirms Fears Of Armed Police Patrols
The charging of three officers of the Central Police District with homicide confirms community fears of police violence. The announcement of the charges comes as the United States of America is crippled by nationwide protests against the murder of African Americans by the police. Criminal justice organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa say the homicide charges show things aren’t so different here.
“George Floyd’s murder is a symptom of America’s failed criminal justice system,” says People Against Prisons Aotearoa spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “That these police officers allowed someone to die in custody is a symptom of the New Zealand Police’s own failure to preserve human life.”
The circumstances in which the death occurred have not yet been made public. The group says that needs to change.
“New Zealanders need to know how and why this man died in that police station. If the police have used violence against him, and he has died as a result of that violence, it is an indictment of Police Commissioner Andrew Coster’s efforts to put Armed Response Teams on patrol in our communities,” says Rākete. “The problem of racist police violence has worsened in recent years, with police almost 8x more likely to beat, pepper-spray, taser, or shoot Māori people. In this context of racist violence and deaths in custody, it is unconscionable to move forward with the Armed Response Teams.”
The group is coordinating the Arms Down campaign, which went viral in New Zealand following the killing of George Floyd. They say the public is encouraged to visit their website, armsdown.nz, where a tool allows them to forward their feedback on police armament to the police themselves.