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Police indifference to drowning man confirms community fears - PAPA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An Independent Police Conduct Authority finding that three police officers allowed a man to drown while they watched has confirmed fears about Armed Response Teams, says criminal justice organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The teams, which were announced last October, have been put on patrol armed with assault rifles. Community workers say the indifference police showed towards a dying man demonstrates the danger these armed teams pose to Māori and Pacific people.

"The police have said these armed patrols are necessary to protect our communities," says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rākete. "How can we believe police will use deadly force in defence of life when they won’t even throw a rope to a drowning man?"

"Police statistics show that they are eight times more likely to use violence against Māori people. In this context, the police’s decision to arm themselves shows a total disregard for Māori lives. Our people do not want these armed police patrols, and we are standing up this month to tell the police that we reject American-style military policing."

People Against Prisons Aotearoa is part of the Arms Down coalition, a network of community organisations opposed to the use of Armed Response Teams. The coalition has called for a National Day Against Police Militarisation on Sunday 29th of March. Rallies have been organised in Auckland’s Manukau Square and Wellington’s Te Aro Park.

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