34 Comments Posted

  1. In the first few weeks of the trial the tasers were unholstered 11 times, and used once. Mostly, the tactic of “laser painting” resulted in immediate compliance. Some of the situations were:

    1. A man with a knife threatening people in Courtney Place, Wellington

    2. A man threatening to kill his mother with a knife, in Orewa

    3. A man fleeing the scene of the crime, in Waitakere

    4. Fighting in Avondale where a firearm was reported.

    5. Laser painting was used on occupants of a car after they refused to exit the vehicle. The vehicle was stopped after reports of a carjacking involving firearms. Carjacking folks. You ever been through that experience?

    6. The tactic of laser painting was used on a man who was armed with a wheel brace and threatening the other man at the scene. He was immediately compliant and was arrested.

    Let’s deal with reality. There are dangers where police may use any weapon illegally (hell – a 6 foot 7 inch cop beat an aboriginal to death by punching his liver in two [Australia – enquiry in progress ]. They don’t need a taser to inflict damage. Those people need to be brought to justice, end of story.

    However, the vast majority of cops are good people that put their life on the line every day, and do their best for victims and people threatened by violence.

    I see a self-righteous disconnect with reality here. The purposes of a trial is to evaluate how the tasers were used, and then discuss what other devices/options may have worked as well in those situations. Before we even discuss this, you guys are protesting and going on about how police brutality is the reason Hone stands before you today with brain damage.

  2. Go Greens!

    All criminals are nice people, and they never hurt people.

    Police should expect to get killed whilst on duty, and their family have to accept it is a hazard of the job.

    Whilst you are defending scum that pull knives on people, the few times tasers have been used so far in NZ have been more than justified. And if they hadn’t, maybe a good cop would not be at home talking to his 5 year old daughter today (hey – if Hone can use that line…)

    Whilst you imagine all the things that might go wrong with the Police having tasers, you pay little heed to all the things that DO go wrong when violent, amoral thugs use violence on undeserving people before they would even consider talking.

    I’m all for reasoned discussion on monitoring the use of tasers, but most of you here sound just a little unreasoned.

    Have I read this wrong? Is the Tasers thing a 100% no, no, no, never?

    If you are so worried about this being a cover for keeping non-white dissidents under control, then campaign to ban the use of tasters at public demonstrations.

  3. I agree Tom! (GO GET THEM KEITH!) Let’s all write letters/emails!

    The thing that worries me the most is that “to arm the police is to arm the criminals”.

    In effect, because of the actions of the Police in responding to a non lethal threat with Tazer, “we as a society” have just taken the next step towards lethal violence… (and each step taken will reduce our collective safety.)

    Now “the crims” will have less hesitation in taking the NEXT step to protect themselves / retaliate …

    and before long someone may die from heart failure with the shock from a a Tazer … and then …

    (America here we come … open holsters at five paces!!)

    I lived in various parts of North America for a while … it was scarey and thought provoking for a young Kiwi to see guns that were designed to shoot people casually worn on the hip in open holsters.

  4. I suspect nobody is still reading this thread, but it seemed like the logical place to put this comment, which is that:

    …I’m really pleased Keith Locke has put out a press release about the use of the Taser so far. A few days in to the trial, I couldn’t believe it when I saw this (article a bit old now):

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3788893a11,00.html

    Didn’t the police promote this weapon as an alternative to using guns?? And isn’t it pretty plain that these situations described were not the usual armed-offenders-squad gun-pulling situations??

    Sure, great deterrent effect – pointing it at someone will probably get them to stop doing whatever illegal thing they’re doing, just as effectively as pulling a gun would. But that’s not the only consideration here.

    Another consideration is the effect of the police’s choice of tactics on the citizenry. If we are scared as hell of ever stepping out of line because the police have wide power to zap us, then our quality of life is reduced. Moreover, important protest action that is in a grey legal area will be reduced if we’re scared of pretty serious physical pain as well as possible arrest. Lastly, we might be scared to undertake quite legal actions that might fall foul of a copper’s wrongful interpretation of the law – we all know our cops get it wrong, often, and we are much reduced in ability to stick up for our rights if we’re going to get shot by a flustered power-wielding cop (yes, there are plenty of bad eggs, as in every profession).

    Police seem to have taken all of, umm, 1 week to implement a subtle change of tactics – from negotiation, with the implied threat of a big stick if the criminal REALLY goes nuts, to blatant threat of force. From “please can I convince you to do what I ask” to “do what I say or I’ll hurt you bad, full stop”.

    I really don’t like that this might be the norm, for protestors not staying behind the line, for prisoners not unclenching their buttcheeks, etc. There is a massive difference between handling someone (with some risk of hurt) in order to get them to comply with the law, and threatening them with dignity-stripping, easily dealt out physical pain to scare them into complying. And I’m very scared the police will cite the magical deterrent effect when asking if the Taser’s use may be extended to non-compliant protester/prisoner situations, sometime in the future (they’ve already extended pepper spray use this way).

    I’m highly mistrustful of the police, their competence, and their mindsets. Whether or not this lack of trust is justified, plenty of people share it, and that is a problem in itself quite separate from any shocking stuff they may or may not do.

    Would be interested in any replies. Hmmm

    And big ups to Keith Locke as usual, he often says what I’m thinking (a true ‘representative’)

  5. “I think it’s fair to say that most of the opposition to trialling tasers comes from people who are generally anti-police. It would be more honest if they were more open about this. ”

    Probably true, also probably true that most support for tasers comes from people who are generally pro-police. It would be good if theywere more open about this.

    If the pro-taser argument is that tasers are better than a bullet, it would make sense to equip armed offenders units with tasers, rather than every PC plod (I think this is the situation in the UK). Personally I wouldn’t trust a cop with a taser – because one thing I learned from my personal experience of being knocked about by a cop with a PR24 baton was that the police only a had the vaguest idea of the rules they were supposed to follow.

    I’ve known two people who were pepper sprayed, one at an anti-GE protest which is a well-known incident, and one a young punk sprayed by a hyped-up young cop a Saturday night for not backing off far enough after being ordered to, even though he wasn’t being aggressive or violent in the slightest. So much for the police ability to follow their own rules.

    “It makes me angry to think that I can feel safe here in Japan but not back in any large NZ city.”

    Funny that – perhaps you are a bit paranoid or of a nervous disposition? Or give too much credence to newspaper reports? I’ve never felt particularly unsafe here (not counting places such as the back of police vans or the like).

  6. stuey:
    Thanks for that link. I remembered having read it as soon as I saw it again!

    katie:
    I’ll look forward to that “common piece of pavement”!

  7. You are of course correct F, that Keith supported the Khemer Rouge, but then changed his mind as soon as he found out what they were up to.

    But F, what about the fact that the National government of time supported the Khemer Rouge and refused to stop supporting them, even years after the enormity and horror of what they had been up to had been widely exposed?

    http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/speech8860.html

  8. Well, I’ve been busy this weekend, so missed most of this as it developed….

    I didn’t expect my minor quoted excerpt of Hone’s speech to arouse such debate, after all it is a matter of historical record that he was arrested many times during protests in his early adulthood. He indeed proves the feminist assertion that “the personal is political” 🙂

    As for Keith Locke, his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews(?), etc, I can’t answer for all of them, but those that I know personally are some of the hardest working and most principled people I have met; not all politically active, some in creative industries, but people of integrity and honour. I count it as one of the priviledges of my current stage in life that I am able to further those acquaintances, in the pursuit of social justice for all citizens of the world.

    eredwen, may we some day be “little old ladies” on some common piece of pavement together, as moderately and sensibly we pursue green goals
    😀 katie

  9. F:

    Apology accepted! For giving it you immediately raise yourself a notch in my estimation!

    Mine contribution was a late-at- night rant, and it is very unusual for me (to speak in less than measured tones!)

    Your point about not feeling safe in a New Zealand city surprises me.
    I, as a “little old lady” (who should therefore fell vulnerable?) am confident about catching the bus and walking wherever I want in any large NZ city without any real pangs of vulnerability. Why the difference between us do you think?

  10. Sorry I blew a fuse Eredwen. I was slinging off, but, I tend to believe that some people are to politics what others are to religion [zealots with a faulty formula] and when I read Katies comments my reaction was ‘how predictable’. It makes me angry to think that I can feel safe here in Japan but not back in any large NZ city.
    F

  11. F:
    Thoughts at midnight … I wasn’t going to bother to comment but I will answer your comments at some length.

    I am disappointed in your simplistic view of the World. Your thoughtless “shock horror” statements have let you make a total fool of yourself here.
    New Zealand is a small country and an intended “general” insults like yours, is not “annonymous” … almost everybody here either personally knows the person you are talking about, or knows someone who does.

    I live in Christchurch. Keith Lock’s family are intelligent and highly respected citizens here. They have a reputation for working for community, peace and social justice.
    Keith’s father Jack was in the RNZAF with my father during WW2, and my father described him as “one of nature’s gentlemen”. I believe Jack Lock was a member of the NZ Communist Party at one time. (A number of thinking people were.) Elsie Lock, Keith’s mother, a very gentle person, was well known as a Peace activist and as an author of children’s literature. I don’t know about her political beliefs, (but doubt that she’d favour the Right.) Keith has equally active and well known siblings. They all have work and achievements to recommend them. I have no interest in how they vote!

    “Socialism” is not a dirty word in Aotearoa/NZ. Some would say that we have a “socialist” government in power at tha moment, and many successful “Western” countries can be described as “socialist.”

    Communism can be thought of as “socialism by another name”. During the Great Depression in the 1930’s a lot of people saw socialism as an answer to the life threatening inequalities in the World. (Capitalism doesn’t seem to be working very well for the underclasses in the USA in current times.)
    In WW2 the Communist USSR was our Ally against the Fascists in Germany and Italy … there were a considerable number of thinking New Zealanders who saw Communism as a solution at that time. Read some reliably written history!!
    (I wonder if you are mixing the political ideas of Communism with the system of Totalitarianism … or maybe you really are uninformed enough to think that it is a “bad word” to throw at someone for effect?)

    Forget your silly labels and ridiculous ideas of what will shock people,
    (and while you are at it reflect on the thought that Greens have a lot of “communal” ideas.)

    Your time and energy would be better spent thinking about climate change and mass starvation and overpopulation and the squandering of resources, and gross inequality and defoliation and the rise in sea level and irreparable pollution (including the depleted uranium that the Americans are busily spreading irrecoverably in other people’s countries around the Middle East.) … and while you are at it spend some time thinking carefully about who really are the “Baddies” in the World at this time.

    AND I’ll tell you ONE person who is not a “baddy” and that is a gentle, intelligent, principled, egalitarian and hardworking Green MP by the name of Keith Lock!

    Finally: Reflect on the fact that every member of the Green Party takes part in the ranking of our candidates for Parliamentary Elections, and
    Keith Lock was ranked high on our Party List. (Am I to take it that you visit frogblog with the intention of insulting us about our judgement?)

    Incidentally, Greens have a lot of “communal” ideas …
    AND if you want to link people to “mass murderers of civilians” like Pol Pot … I personally believe that the GW Bush Administration combined with the Israelis would be very hard to beat (… and I understand that they have even more plans yet!) History will certainly remember America for this.

  12. The original idea of the tazer was brilliant – it was for use an alernative to a firearm, a non-lethal force tool where the alternative was lethal force. Under these circumstances its a slam dunk that the risks posed to a person being tazered are negligable compared to the risks of them being shot.

    However, somewhere along the line tazers became the alternative to talking to people, or an officer taking a little personal risk, and thats how tazers became killing tools. Shoot enough people with tazers often enough and statistically some will die.

  13. >>eredwen Says: Before reaching this second comclusion, one would need to be sure that the violence for which taser was used, was of the same or similar level from both ethnic groups.

    rather hard to do without a trial I would think. I think it’s fair to say that most of the opposition to trialling tasers comes from people who are generally anti-police. It would be more honest if they were more open about this.

  14. Mouldwarp writes:
    “A genuinely racist policy would be one where the police go round tasering innocent and harmless people purely on the basis of their ethnicity.”

    Good point, Mouldwarp, but overstated I think.

    If you’d leave out words like “genuinely, innocent, harmless, and purely” and say “A racist policy would be one where police go around tasering people, seemingly on the basis of their ethnicity.” Many people would agree with you!

    Similarly overstated:

    “On the other hand, if the devices are legitimately used to stop violent offenders, and those violent offenders come disproportionately from certain ethnic groups, then there is no racism.”

    Before reaching this second comclusion, one would need to be sure that the violence for which taser was used, was of the same or similar level from both ethnic groups.

    If you concluded: “then racism is likely to be a major factor … ” again, many peole would agree!

  15. and what are your attitudes towards drugs…?..(no ..no.. silly..!…not the drug regime your doctor has you on….but the ‘fun ones’..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    My attitude to drugs is that we have to live in the real world. If drugs help a person to cope in the real world without impacting on others, I’m all for them.

    F

  16. phil u. Says:

    September 1st, 2006 at 5:55 am
    gee..f..can we see some more of your work..?

    you obviously have strong analytical skillls…(don’t hold back in sharing them with us..eh..?..)

    F Says:

    September 1st, 2006 at 12:58 am
    “Keith Locke’s a communist. He supported Pol Pot. ”
    Kieth Lockes parents were both communists (I think?). You’ve heard about the studies on identical twins separated at birth? Left-wing/ right-wing, religosity has been shown to be inherited. As for supporting Pol Pot that is true except that he apparently reneged after viewing their promo on how to make blood and bone fertiliser. People like Kieth seem to believe they have it all sussed..”tear down the system..we can rebuild it”. Kieth would see the police as the dogs of the capitalist state (I suspect so much).

    F cuts to the bone again:
    “Hone Harawira; Titiwhia Harawhira; Meteria Turie: very similar policy platforms. ”
    Pakeha can stay in NZ as long as they honour the treaty. Just extrapolate the meaning of the Maori version to present day Aotearoa…… Read the vitriol on the Green website Minutes from Foreshore and Seabed etc

    I watched the Japanese policemen march off into downtown Yokohama last night swinging their trunchens; I must say it gave me a feeling of security which we sadly lack in Aoteatoomanyliberalswithponytailsroa.

    F

    and what are your attitudes towards drugs…?..(no ..no.. silly..!…not the drug regime your doctor has you on….but the ‘fun ones’..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  17. >> “…this is a racist policy, the history in the states is that about 50% of the victims of tasers are black, and another 20% are hispanic… the reality is that Maaori and Pacific Island people are going to bear the brunt of this weapon…”

    Using Hone Harawira’s logic we can equally conclude that, since probably more than 90% of those tasered are male, the police irrationaly discrimate not only on the basis of race but on sex as well. Why didn’t Hone tell us about this shocking statistic? Why does he seem to think that the Police’s apparent racism is an issue but not their apparent sexism?

    He is mistaken, of course; the figures he is quoting don’t show what he thinks they show.
    A genuinely racist policy would be one where the police go round tasering innocent and harmless people purely on the basis of their ethnicity. On the other hand, if the devices are legitimately used to stop violent offenders, and those violent offenders come disproportionately from certain ethnic groups, then there is no racism.

  18. i mean..hone and sue b could run a self-defense course…

    titled:…”what to do when the police bash you….(covering/protecting the ‘essentials’..”..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  19. get over yourself joel…hone is using the experiences of his life to illustrate the realities of police dealings with maori…

    ok..maybe he wouldn’t ‘be dead’..if you want to be anal you could bang on about that forever…(virgo..?..or taurus..?..)

    but surely you get/see his point..?

    it just so happens he is one of the few mps to be aware of/experienced in the realities of that world….

    i don’t see it at theatricality/self-promotion for him to inform the other mp’s (and those of us who need to be told)…of his experiences….

    and is totally valid comment….

    and your second comment..
    (esp the second half..no..!..hang on..!..all of it..!..) only confirms my exhortation for you and f to ‘see if you can make it happen’…eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  20. Hi Phil,

    I think when it comes to lack of cohesion you have more in common with F than I do.

    It is ridiculously theatrical for Hone to say, “if the Police had tasers back then I wouldn’t have survived to be here speaking to you..” It’s like he’s creating an imaginary martyr, and what’s more, it’s him! (No politicians were harmed in the making of this argument). I think it’s fairly safe to say that if someone does get killed by tasers during the trial, there won’t be continued use of tasers.

  21. joel…have you met f yet..?

    anyway..what hone harawira had to say was right on the money….

    it is brown/poor people who will be being tazered….

    if you have any doubt about this..go hang in manurewa/sth ak. for awhile..eh..?

    and see how the ‘blue-gang’ that is the police out there treat/terrorize the locals..esp the young/brown…

    it sure as hell ain’t how they behave in remmers/the viaduct…eh..?

    come friday/saturday nights the streets of sth ak will crackle taser-blue.. with a background whiff of burnt flesh….

    anyway..joel….(your silly outburst to one side..)..

    you should really try and link up with f…..eh..?

    you are soulmates/both marching to the beat of the same drummer..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  22. >>>….”if the Police had tasers back then I wouldn’t have survived to be here speaking to you, or to have made it into Parliament…”

    what utter bollocks. But if it WERE true, would that have been such a bad thing? We would have been spared Hone’s ridiculous outbursts like this.

  23. F:

    Oh dear! Not exactly a “reasoned argument”!

    I can’t speak for others, but I think you have just blown your chance of being taken seriously on frogblog in future!

  24. gee..f..can we see some more of your work..?

    you obviously have strong analytical skillls…(don’t hold back in sharing them with us..eh..?..)

    and what are your attitudes towards drugs…?..(no ..no.. silly..!…not the drug regime your doctor has you on….but the ‘fun ones’..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  25. Keith Locke’s a communist. He supported Pol Pot. Kieth is the Greens spokesman (spokesperson) on the SAS. Hone Harawira; Titiwhia Harawhira; Meteria Turie: very similar policy platforms. Vote “Green”/Alliance while they’re still around (be in quick!!!).
    F

  26. (slight cross-post)

    *Support the people of Palestine and Lebanon Demonstration*
    Saturday, September 2 at 1:00pm meeting at Glover Park (Ghuznee Street).
    Despite the UN cease-fire, the Israeli blockade of Lebanon and assault on
    Palestine continues. Come join us for a solidarity action this Saturday.
    Organised jointly by the Wellington Palestine Group, Peace Action
    Wellington and Aotearoa Jews for Justice

    Let’s see if they act on the racist impulse at the first opportunity.
    All media, and amateur cameras, welcome! 😉

  27. Keith spoke very well, but I particularly enjoyed a comment of Hone Harawira’s:

    “I’ve been arrested about 30 or so times, if the Police had tasers back then I wouldn’t have survived to be here speaking to you, or to have made it into Parliament… this is a racist policy, the history in the states is that about 50% of the victims of tasers are black, and another 20% are hispanic… the reality is that Maaori and Pacific Island people are going to bear the brunt of this weapon”

    (please excuse any minor misquoting, my memory is aging and I didn’t have a tape recorder with me!)

    I’ve heard comments from activists of many ethnicities, and the general agreeement is that this will be something used to keep non-white dissidents under control in situations similar to the deployment conditions in the USA.

    This is one of the bigger civil rights issues of this decade.

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