Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Denial

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  • InternationalObserver,

    The shiny new Independent Police Conduct Authority does not agree with Clint Rickards about Operation Austin. ....... That will hopefully shut the fucker up.

    Think again - just more proof that the racist Police establishment deals to the uppity brown boy yet again.

    Nah mate, it's that fricken lesbian cabale at it again! Who was running that 'inquiry'? Justice Lowell Goddard. Lowell? What sort of name is that? Sounds dykey to me! Probably a friend of Dorothy ... I mean Helen Clarke ... </channelling Willie Jaxon>

    Indeed, its report is full of praise for the operation's conduct and recommends that its "groundbreaking" practices for dealing with victims should be incorporated into the Police Best Practice Manual.

    Oh dear, there goes the budget surplus ... we're going to get "a Victim Liaison Officer for each complainant". What will Sensible Sentencing say?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    'Liaison'... 'Lesbian'...Connect the dots people!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Let me be clear up front - I don't disagree with the sentiments of the seemingly unanimous posts here re the relative merits of CR and LN's claims. I think she is extraordinarily brave and he is a walking disaster, (but I'm well aware that I don't REALLY know what happened, that I am hazarding an opinion)

    AND, I think that mostly the police do a hard job well

    BUT:

    Ruatoki:

    Complaints about misconduct associated with extreme police action
    Basis of EXTREME police action not sustained
    Complaints not yet tested in court
    Several of you believe that the police action was justified and that the complaints are fabrications.

    LNvCR:

    Police misconduct
    complaints
    complaints not upheld when tested in court
    Seemingly the same several believe that the police misconduct and LN's complaints were proven.

    This seems so contradictory to me.

    I imagine many of you will say "but Rickards admitted it." My understanding is that Rickards has admitted to group sex etc, but has specifically denied all claims made by LN.

    There is argument and counter-argument available throughout both cases based on the vagaries of evidence, methods, motives etc. I don't think the basis of this seeming inconsistency of approach by the "several" lies in the details of the cases. So what is it? That LN and CR are real people in our minds rather than anonymous police and complainants? Because we are more sympathetic to the idea that women may be abused by police than that Maori may be? Or is it the completely unsubstantiated assertion that thars terrorists in them hills?

    I wonder if, when real people appear in front of us on TV we project our own experience on to them in making our judgements about their guilt or innocence. And so, because we are more familiar with the idea of a man sexually abusing a woman than we are of the idea of a more generalised abuse of police power( ie a few cops loose the plot during a highly charged operation and start behaving like baboons) we just project "likely" on the first and "unlikely" on the second.

    Well, I'd just like to point out that this kind of judgment has far more in common with superstition than rationality (see higher superstition by someone or other Easton I think - I'll look for the citation in a bit). A reasoned approach would require a bit more consistency of judgment, even if that judgment is "can't know on both counts."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Police misconduct

    They weren't going to be able to get him on misconduct for what he did with LN. There's a statute of limitations on police misconduct of two years from when the NZ Police become aware of the allegations. Senior police were aware of rumours about this stuff years ago, but didn't pursue it properly at the time. That's why he's been pushed to the side and eternally suspended, and then bought out to retire. He probably got his super guaranteed for starters, which is pretty good for NZ cops who have put into it their whole career.

    Your comparison is based upon the test of 'proven in court'. Personally, I feel capable of making up my own mind how I feel about Clint Rickards and his actions, whether he gets off or not. The same with the other lot. Walking out of court and getting to say that you've been found innocent, doesn't mean that you didn't commit the crime, and it certainly doesn't guarantee that you're weren't/are not a scumbag.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sara, I'm staggered by your argument. Are you seriously suggesting that there will be even one incident to come out of Ruatoki that will will constitute anything remotely approaching the abuse of power committed by those men over the course of years in Rotorua?

    Are you seriously comparing the degree of abuse in the two cases?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sara:

    Sorry, but I've got to agree with RB here - WTF? Rickards may have been acquitted on a series of specific charges, but surely most of us heard too much evidence of a pretty vile pattern of long-term abuse and exploitation that was hard to dismiss as the twisted sex fantasies of one vengeful and mentally unstable woman? And I can be the only person who thinks that aside from all that Rickards exposed himself over and over again as someone who lacked the judgment you'd expect from t probationary constable fresh out of police college, let alone someone who expected to be reinstated as a District Commander and Assistant Commissioner.

    CR can blame every one and his dog for his career suicide; but all he has to do is look in the nearest mirror.

    Don't you think there's anything positive to take out of all that?

    And do you think that if anyone in Ruatoki wants to lay a complaint with the IPCA, they can do so with a certain degree of confidence? Or are you buying into the Rickards/Jackson meme that Justice Goddard is just another cog in the white supremacist machine that exists to keep the uppity nigger slapped down?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I should make it clear that I think any final wash-up is going to show that the scale and nature of the police action on October 15 was excessive given the evidence to hand (which was still not trivial), and perhaps find some examples of unacceptable conduct towards individuals.

    But the IPCA report indicates that as many 60 women were spoken to by Operation Austin. They were subject to something that lay far outside the boundaries of acceptable police conduct and extended across years. The comparison with whatever happened on the morning of October 15 is insane. And if you're implying a racial element to Rickards' fate, with the effect of minimising what was at stake, that's even worse.

    Oh, and those of you troubled by the unfamiliar feeling of agreeing with Bomber can rest easy. His post on the IPCA report ("Don’t get me wrong, I have no time for Rickards ...") is gibberish.

    And here's Te Ururoa Flavell's speech at the third reading of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Bill in September. It's quite good stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But the IPCA report indicates that as many 60 women were spoken to by Operation Austin.

    Indeed - and Justice Goddard make it pretty clear (at least from the media reports I've seen) that those women were treated with tact and sensitivity -- and their identities carefully protected -- while keeping in mind that the object of the whole exercise was to conduct a rigorous investigation and construct a case that wouldn't get thrown out of court, or collapse the moment defense counsel stood up.

    And the way they did that so impressed Goddard she's recommended aspects of the Operation Austin investigation be adopted as 'best practice'.

    Come on, Sara. I've hardly been an uncritical fan boy of the Police's handling of the so-called 'terror raids' or the Nichols case. Don't think many folks here - including Russell - have.

    But how about giving just a little credit where credit's been earned?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Your comparison is based upon the test of 'proven in court

    No, my comparison is intended to demonstrate that there is a real difference between "proven in court" and "proven in public opinion" with a view to working out how we come to the latter.

    Are you seriously comparing the degree of abuse in the two cases?

    No. I am not intending to compare degree at all. I am intending to draw people's attention to the fallacy of assuming nothing has happened when there is so little yet to go on - a bit like what the public would have thought about LN's complaints if they were reported in the 70's.

    Don't you think there's anything positive to take out of all that?t

    Not sure what you mean by this.


    Sorry - knock at the door - continue in a min

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    do you think that if anyone in Ruatoki wants to lay a complaint with the IPCA, they can do so with a certain degree of confidence?

    Yes I do, and I think it is in process.

    I think any final wash-up is going to show that the scale and nature of the police action on October 15 was excessive given the evidence to hand (which was still not trivial), and perhaps find some examples of unacceptable conduct towards individuals.

    This is genuinely heartening to me. The vehemence of your discussion on the other thread seemed to be precluding these possibilities.

    The comparison with whatever happened on the morning of October 15 is insane.

    Russell, I really don't know what exactly it is I'm triggering in your past, but your projections of me as hysterical and now insane are - well, just a little bit insensitive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    So from these responses so far my sense is that now that the immediate "crisis" regarding "terrorism" has subsided in people's minds abit, you are considering the possibility that the police action was a bit excessive and that there might be valid complaints. So maybe the vehemence against at that stage was a product of feeling threatened?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I'm glad Sara has now had a chance to explain herself.... because she did it far better than I could have...

    But I thought her post was fairly clearly comparing, not the substance or degree of alleged crimes/incidents.... (alleged by the police or the people detained) but was comparing the conclusions "the public" is prepared to draw to (dare I say jump to?) about what did or didnt happen based on incomplete/undisclosed information...

    And as I find myself in the position she describes... ie I largely beleive Rickards is guilty as sin, and incidents in Ruatoki probably didnt happen as descibed, largely overblown, possibly minor issues only... I can see her point that this is indeed a contradiction, and I do wonder how I come to such conclusions based on such scant evidence...

    So I think her questioning these points, even if I'm not sure the conclusion she suggests is correct, is entirely valid and not deserving of being jumped upon....

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    And so, because we are more familiar with the idea of a man sexually abusing a woman than we are of the idea of a more generalised abuse of police power( ie a few cops loose the plot during a highly charged operation and start behaving like baboons) we just project "likely" on the first and "unlikely" on the second.

    Or you could couch it this way - the thought that a group of policemen could systematically and methodically groom young women for rape and exploitation over a number of years, and then use their position and mateship to stymie all investigations seems so horrific and incredible that it beggars belief... it is "unlikely" to use your word. The opposite - that a small group of policemen "loose the plot" in the middle of a "highly charged operation" - is, to my mind, more "likely".

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    you are considering the possibility that the police action was a bit excessive and that there might be valid complaints

    I read all those threads (because I am a nutbar, obviously), and as someone with no real horse in the race, I felt that a significant number of people posting here were always willing to take the possibility of dodgy police actions into account. Just because they weren't jumping up and down yelling OMG FASCISM!!1!!1! doesn't mean they were giving the police an entirely free pass.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    So from these responses so far my sense is that now that the immediate "crisis" regarding "terrorism" has subsided in people's minds abit, you are considering the possibility that the police action was a bit excessive and that there might be valid complaints. So maybe the vehemence against at that stage was a product of feeling threatened?

    Or perhaps it was a product of your imagination, projected on people who were instead responding to ludicrous claims that Ruatoki was purely motivated by racial hatred, an calculated attempt to drum up support for the TSA amendment bill, representative of a police state etc? While the people making these claims were trying to paint those arrested as pure and innocent victims of random state violence?

    I don't recall anybody in the other thread arguing that the police actions at Ruatoki were not to be questioned. If you actually go back and read what people have been saying on the topic then you'll find that Russell has most certainly been questioning them since the beginning, rather than this being the 180-degree turn you're seemingly claiming.

    But I do recall plenty of people arguing that if you want to go waving guns around and talking big about killing cops then you probably shouldn't be too affronted when the armed offenders squad shows up and is very paranoid about anybody and everybody in the area. I'm still happy to stand by that, while we're discussing everybody's actions and how reasonable they were.

    I think most of the vehemence you encountered was a response to your wish to only condemn the actions of the police in these sorry events, and to characterise them as some kind of unprovoked agents of death, rape and pillage at Ruatoki.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    So from these responses so far my sense is that now that the immediate "crisis" regarding "terrorism" has subsided in people's minds abit, you are considering the possibility that the police action was a bit excessive and that there might be valid complaints. So maybe the vehemence against at that stage was a product of feeling threatened?

    Sara... it goes both ways.... Maybe some people who felt threatened by the police actions were reading more into others comments than was really there...

    As Dannielle said, I also dont have a horse in this race... and I never seemed to see complete denial of police over-reaction in statements made by "reasonable" commentators like Russell and others. (yes, I'm ignoring talk-back radio, because its not reasonable).

    So if the 'mainstream consciesness' has settled down and is now, in your eyes, more prepared to beleive police may have behaved inapropriately... maybe its not just "us" thats calmed down? Maybe now you can see nuanced grey in others comments where, earlier feeling under threat yourself, you only saw black because it wasnt in complete accordance with your white?

    Stepping back and calming down is good for all.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Good points all round - still agreeing with everything being said.

    Fletcher B - do you have other possibilities to throw in - I actually think it is not only interesting but important. Always interested in social psychology...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Sorry, no real insights here... I find psychology interesting, but have no more aquaintance with it than the layman.... I've never studied it, even informally.

    Although I will offer this observation....

    If you are an activist, and you want the public to take your issue seriously, accusing everyone that doesnt agree with you as being irrational biggots is not the way to get them on-side :)

    Everyone reacts to situations from their own viewpoint (obviously)... people who dont share your viewpoint will frequently conclude your reactions as anywhere between a little eccentric to completely batty....

    If you are trying to garner popular support for a particular cause, but the only time the public hears from you, you seem batty... then the actual justification or validity of your cause wont even get a look in as far as the public is concerned.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    And of course, because everyone is reacting from thier own viewpoint.... they frequently dont detect when/why everyone else thinks they are batty... and they go on pushing their cause whilst appearing batty, and they do the cause more harm than good.

    I can see that sometimes, a cause/group needs to "act up" to get publicity... but they need to be very carefull not to step over the line...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Will Todd Blackadder and Grizz Wylie really be turning up to Lancaster Park wearing the Green and Gold, waving inflatable wallabies?

    So are you saying that TB was threatening to boycott future All Black games? Or is it just an easy beatup to tar him with the same brush as a bunch of Canterbury talkbalk wallys on Radio Sport?

    The only quotes I've seen from Blackadder basically say that he's disappointed with the decision and disappointed for Deans. That seems entirely reasonable coming from someone who is a longtime mate and colleagues of Deans. I would expect Henry's closest friends and allies to have come out with something similar had he not been successful.

    I've not heard the interviews so I don't know what he said but I have met him a few times (his kid goes to the same school as mine) and he seems a genuinely pleasant and reasonable man and remarkably lacking in ego considering he's been a recent All Black Captain. He's an altogether different character to Grizz and I would be surprised if he wanted anything but what was best for the All Blacks.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    But Peter! that wouldn't fit the narrative that here in Canterbury we're all one-eyed racist orcs! Don't worry though. We can get around to refuting- sorry, reframing- that whole sad business when we've finished eating all the babies.
    And Sara: I'm feeling a lot calmer, too, taking the pills. But you're not the only one who felt dismissed in suggesting the police stepped over the line in Ruatoki. Though you are, perhaps, the gutsiest of us!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __I think any final wash-up is going to show that the scale and nature of the police action on October 15 was excessive given the evidence to hand (which was still not trivial), and *perhaps* find some examples of unacceptable conduct towards individuals.__

    This is genuinely heartening to me. The vehemence of your discussion on the other thread seemed to be precluding these possibilities.

    I'm not sure how you got that idea, and I don't think I was particularly "vehement" either -- "shocked" would be closer to the mark. I did take exception at what seemed to me your willingness to escalate rumours in a fairly dangerous way: so an alleged "intimate search" became a confirmed "cavity search".

    We saw the same thing with the supposed busload of traumatised schoolchildren that was boarded and searched by armed officers. It didn't actually happen. As I think everyone seems to accept now, the only kohanga reo bus involved on the day was waved through by police. A school van with three people in it (including one 14 year-old, not a kohanga pupil) was very briefly searched, after the occupants had disembarked. I think it's fair to see some hysteria in the way the wildly exaggerated version gained currency.

    I had a good chat to Wayne Hope on Moday night. He's studied the affidavit, and I quite liked his characterisation of it: that there were some sick and dangerous people under surveillance, but that it was "an orange alert, not a red alert".

    I still have no idea what was the supposed trigger event that made police command order such sweeping action. It had better bloody be good.

    It's useful to view the operations on the day in this light. The cops on the front line weren't privy to all the details: all they knew was that there was evidence of guns and alleged terrorist activity. They were always going to be risk-averse. That might reasonably involve pointing guns at people.

    I said fairly early on that I couldn't understand why the local iwi liaison officers hadn't been involved. I still think that was a bad mistake, but given that those charged appear to have had sources, it seems more explicable.

    I think I said a while back that an inquiry (I'd like to see one) might find the scale of the police response was inappropriate, but I couldn't imagine it would decide there was never anything to worry about. That's still my view.

    Are you prepared to acknowledge yet that the police action was not without foundation? And that maybe the community should also be prepared to blame some of its own for bringing this down?

    __The comparison with whatever happened on the morning of October 15 is insane.__

    Russell, I really don't know what exactly it is I'm triggering in your past, but your projections of me as hysterical and now insane are - well, just a little bit insensitive.

    I was holding back, to be honest. I'm aware that the fact that I'm the gaffer hereabouts could be intimidating. But I was referring to your claims and arguments, not to you personally.

    I think I understand what you were seeking to say, but I also think it had the effect of trivialising what happened in the Operation Austin cases. The two do not bear comparison at all well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Sarah & Fletcher B, n'all –

    When looking at argument it is worth bearing in mind a handful of things that are likely to shape what has been and is being said:

    i) Memory is constructive – that is to say when we cannot remember we will try and fill in the gaps even to the point of “remembering” things neither said nor done.

    ii) In recall we demonstrate systematic and predictable biases – Experimentally recorded biases include compliance (the people around you), the emotional content of words used in reporting events, and the basic desire to cast oneself in the best possible light.

    Looked at in this way both the adoption of extreme positions and slight shifts in point of view are to be expected in discourse over time; indeed certain editors have relied on this approach for many years as far as I can see.

    For your further enjoyment:

    Cognitive bias
    Misinformation effect
    Picture superiority effect
    Recall bias
    List of cognitive biases

    I deliberately sat on my hands over “that raid” threatening to blog on it later. I still have really mixed feelings about it all.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I should perhaps have added this one for good measure..

    Cognitive dissonance

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I guess I should point out I was fairly circumspect about the Louise Nicholas case for a long time, and I still think the not guilty verdicts were probably correct in the circumstances. It was always going to be hard to prove historical claims beyond doubt.

    This is what Bomber doesn't seem to get when he rages that only 10 of the 60 complaints that came to the attention of Operation Austin were taken forward. While it all doubtless added up to a grotesque picture, the police had to be realistic about where they had a viable criminal case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

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