Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976
These two incidents are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cases of people's civil liberties are ignored, and violence is used in order to assert the authoritarian polistion of the police force. Claims of police brutality in a court room is usually ignored by magistrates, especially as the prosecutor usually makes a joke of it. In A's case, there will be a private prosecution of the police officer for wrongful arrest, the the chances of it succeeding are very Slim.
During the last few years there have been many speeches made by Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Police, exhorting the Government to allow them to arm the police because of the increasing violence associated with crime.
But the real violence is when the police arbitrarily tread on people's democratic rights (especially when they are unaware of what precisely those rights are), go to all sorts of lengths to intimidate them, and then arrest them on pathetic charges that are so wide in their definition (like disorderly behaviour) that they cover all situations.
Gangs such as Black Power suffer every day by means of these tactics. The incident outside the Caledonian happened at the Abel Tasman two weeks previous. It was the same group of policemen (referred to by Black Power as the Wellington Task Force) who turned up on that occasion, and they used the same tactics.
One of the gang members (J) was stopped last week in the Cuba Mall. He was with two others C, and L. The detective who stopped them wanted to know what he was doing and where he was working. And then he asked questions about L, about whether he knew anything of his alleged drug taking activities, and whether he would be a witness against him. J. replied that he wouldn't and that he wasn't interested in talking to the detective. The detective kept hassling him until, when it was obvious he wasn't going to co-operate, he was let go.
While this sort of incident is not serious, many gang members are becoming very annoyed. It seems that just because they have a black power insignia on their backs, and they dress a little more roughly from your ordinary clean-cut New Zealanders, that they should be prepared to be intimidated by the police.
If gang violence breaks out in Wellington it won't be because the gangs themselves are using weapons, but because of the frustration existing in gangs like Black Power over the increasing harassment by the Police - the biggest gang of all.