Violence in the New Zealand Police:
by Patrick O'Brien
On the beating and torturing of prisoners . . .
Much to-do these past few days by New Zealand’s main stream media following the release of a video that shows Fijian police beating and torturing an escaped prisoner, allegedly.
Having watched the video, current and former members of New Zealand Police will knowingly nod their heads when I say the violence in evidence on this tape is minor compared with that dished out to Kiwi prisoners who escape.
Here’s but one example from my own experience:
Shortly after midnight one Sunday morning while working a uniformed patrol car out of Wellington Central, the alarm was raised when two men escaped from Mt Crawford prison. The prison is situated on Miramar Peninsular so a road block was quickly set up to easily cordon it off and my patrol car was sent in to randomly cruise the area.
Shortly before dawn I saw two men crossing the road ahead of me and head-off down a side street towards a local golf course. I accelerated my patrol car, turned the corner, and pulled up along side them. It was the prisoners.
Directing my patrol buddy to stay and radio in our position, I jumped from the car and set off on foot in pursuit of the prisoners who, for the purpose of this account, I’ll refer to as Prisoner-I and Prisoner-II.
They led me on a short chase, jumping fences, dodging and weaving through several sections, until arriving on the golf course where they sprinted off. I caught up with and tackled Prisoner-I, handcuffed him to a tree, then continued chasing Prisoner-II who, after a short while, tried to hide from me by diving into a large clump of brush.
Well, I wasn’t going in after him, but ensured he stayed put by simply running around and around his hiding spot until back-up arrived — which, when it came, it came in numbers. Plus a police dog.
First, the dog was sent in; Prisoner-II screamed, leaping out of the brush and falling to the ground with the dog still attached to his body.
What followed was sickening . . . a gang of fully grown and uniformed men beating an unarmed prisoner with their batons as he lay defenceless on the ground. On, and on, and on it went, until they tired. And then the dog was sent in again.
Put simply — Prisoner-II was tortured.
My account can be verified: (1) prison report of the escape and court records for the charges of escaping; (2) report to District Commander from the detective in charge of the CIB Crime Car that night who recommended a Commendation for my capture of the prisoners; (3) the Wellington Hospital records for Prisoner-II who had lacerations and bruises over his entire body from the dog attacks and beatings.