INDEPENDENT NEWS

Major guests joining rally against armed police

Published: Thu 31 Oct 2019 10:07 AM
Greens co-leader Marama Davidson and Auckland City Councillor Efeso Collins are among the speakers lined up to attend this Saturday’s Rally to End Armed Police Patrols. The rally, organised by criminal justice group People Against Prisons Aotearoa, has been called to demand the police end their trials of heavily armed patrols in Counties Manukau, Waikato, and Canterbury.
“Marama and Efeso are both critics of police racism and the violent effects it has on Māori and Pacific communities. We’re happy to announce they are joining the campaign to have the armed police patrols called off,” says People Against Prisons Aotearoa spokesperson Emilie Rākete.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced the patrols on October 18, catching many by surprise because there had been no public input regarding the plan. The patrols will see SUVs carrying Armed Offender Squad officers armed with assault rifles on nearly 24 hour patrol in neighbourhoods across the country. Critics of the plan say the patrols will endanger the public.
“Statistics gathered by the police themselves show that Māori are almost eight times more likely than Pākehā to be the victims of police violence,” says Rākete. “These armed police patrols will introduce automatic weapons into a context of disproportionate racist violence by the police. To prevent American-style shootings of Māori and Pacific people, these patrols have to end.”
“The armed police patrols fundamentally change the character of law enforcement in this country. It is shameful that Stuart Nash, the highest elected official responsible for regulating policing, is washing his hands of this. Police cars patrolling Māori and Pacific neighbourhoods armed with machine guns have turned our most diverse neighbourhoods into police states. These patrols are totally unjustifiable and we are rallying this Saturday to see them ended.”
“Commissioner Bush says that threatening Māori and Pacific communities with automatic rifles is necessary for public safety, but firearm crime has not worsened since 2013. Armed police patrols might make Mike Bush popular in the police boy’s club, but the police don’t exist to make an unelected bureaucrat look good. The police exist to serve the public, and the public has not asked for police officers to roam our neighbourhoods with the threat of deadly force.”
The Rally to End Armed Police Patrols is taking place this Saturday in South Auckland’s Manukau Square at 12pm. Speakers include MP Marama Davidson, Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins, Associate Professor Khylee Quince, Dr John Buttle, Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group member Julia Whaipooti, Reverend Emily Worman, Rafiqah Sulaiman Binti Abdullah, and Associate Professor Camille Nakhid.

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