Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A Weird Day in the Hood

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  • 3410,

    Radio Live is really good sometimes

    Graeme Hill's show on Sunday afternoons is quality. I don't mind Willie & JT; they school the idiots as often as not, and bring some real information from time to time. However... there are some complete lunatics hosting shows, whose contribution to the public debate is akin to vomiting in a public swimming pool. On balance, I'd have that station off the air if I could.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report

  • Morgan Nichol,

    memo to RNZ: Most people are not interested in listening to middle aged men wallowing through the nostalgic deitritus of their salad days.

    I cannot stress enough how strongly I agree with this.

    I thought that Noelle was great value though - but I turned it off when she wrapped up for the day.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    Given what modern talkback radio has come to, I wouldn't be surprised if someone slips on a Guy Fawkes mask and concocts a liberal dose of mischief.
    And if those who vent their spleen in Talkbackistan practised what they preached, they might as well organise a Fingermen militia.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    Just a casual observation here but does it appear looking at the labelled herald photo of the 'final scene' that the van and stationwagon were most likely stationary at the time of the incident?

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    Didn't Timothy Giles move to the graveyard shift on ZB? Or at least fill in on it?

    I liked listening to him as well on Bfm.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    A random thought. As I was reading through the 8 pages of discussion about what happened, what should have happened, what might happen from here, who's to blame, how it should be treated etc etc I wondered, are the Israelis sitting around right now having the same level of discussion on the hundreds of incidents involving their troops recent actions? Made me think how sheltered we are in NZ and thank flamin whoever for that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • stephen walker,

    @Yamis, re your random thought...

    answer: no (surprise!)

    In Israel, detachment from reality is now the norm

    Israeli society was always introverted but these days it reminds me more than ever of the Unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s or the Lebanese Christians in the 1970s. Like Israel, both were communities with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 646 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    Checking a few newsclips and some interesting bits emerged. 1. Where were the road spikes? 2. "The person was known to the Police" if so then the chopper had him in view the whole time. Follow the car and wait rather than chase with god knows how many cars in hot pursuit. There are no tunnels in Auckland so car parks might be the only place the guy could have disappeared into. 3. "Cordon, contain and negotiate" These are 3 of the Police commandments. Which one did they attempt to use? 4. I always assumed that the sanctity of life (crooked or innocent) was one of the prime movers of the New Zealand I live in. Over the last few years it seems to have been moved to the back burner. vis a vis Waitara, Whangarei and now the NW motorway. 5. After watching a few days of Police in Black training on pistol and rifle ranges, I am of the opinion the source of their training might be usefully changed to anywhere except the USA. What stood out was the reflex shooting "skills" that each was being trained in. The need to shoot a "Body Mass" rather than a "person" seemed the requisite skill necessary to get an armed "good guy" to shoot somebody. The result seems to be significant escalation at the incidents lately. Something big is amiss here.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Islander,

    Ross Mason, excellent points.
    May I add-
    I have a distant family member who is knowledgable about guns (rifles mainly, but also shotguns & pistols.) She does her own reloads, has all the licences, has helped police on occaision. She does a lot of hunting (but no bird-shooting.) She says she would be fearful if ever she was involved in any kind of confrontation with the NZ police (not the army - she's ex-Army) because "most of them dont know fuck all about guns." She paused and then added, "Most of 'em dont know fuckall about *shooting*." I have this on tape, and the emphasis on "shooting" from an ex-Army person who's served overseas said it all, in bullet points.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    There are no tunnels in Auckland so car parks might be the only place the guy could have disappeared into.

    It was a hot day. He could have hidden under just about any tree and not been visible to infrared. If the police lost sight of him, he could have slipped away with all the cunning that the crazy often have. In hindsight it might have been better if he had, and then they could have picked him up later. But the guy was armed and crazed. It could have been disastrous too. A call was made, by the people who have to make these calls, and unfortunately something bad happened. I'm sure the police will be picking over every detail of what went wrong to an extent that will make all of our amateur musings seem woefully misinformed. It may well be that much better training will be seen as imperative. But I wouldn't blame the individuals who were involved without very good evidence of misconduct. Our police just don't have occasion to deal with crazed gunmen very often, and they are not very good at it, most likely. That is actually a good thing, except in these very rare cases when they have to use their guns and bystanders get killed.


    I'm glad your friend would be fearful if she got into an armed confrontation with our police. I would hope that every person, both sane and insane, would be similarly fearful, and that might inspire them NOT to do such an incredibly stupid thing. In some ways the sheer unprofessionalism of our police so far as guns are concerned is one of the best deterrents against confronting them with a weapon. You're likely to get killed. That's why you don't pick a fight with a mad dog.

    The whole idea with Criminal vs Police is not that the police are incredibly well trained robocops who can put in a head shot from 100m, firing from the hip. It's that there's heaps of them and they won't stop coming after you. Even if you leave a pile of their corpses, you won't get away. Eventually, like a pack of bloodhounds, they will drag you down. Having robocops is fine for societies that warrant such an extreme, but I believe our police actually have better ways to spend their training time. If they spend more time learning to kill like soldiers then I feel it's pretty likely that they'll start racking up a much larger body count, they way they do in most of the rest of the world.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Islander,

    Interesting BenWilson- you're right that it is incredibly stupid to get into any kind of firefight with the police - but, I maintain the police should be sufficiently trained - and by this I mean the AOS people (not every police person - I hate the idea that all our police should be armed with guns)- to be able to shoot accurately, effectively.

    And my cuz was unconvinced that they are.

    And recent events seem to suggest she's right-

    and o shit o dear, not confronting them with a weapon? What is a weapon? For us human apes, ANYTHING is a weapon! Most police officers have been maimed here by things like- screwdrivers!

    Your projected scenario sucks- it's not here reality .

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    <quote>And recent events seem to suggest she's right- </quote

    We'll have to see. I don't even know for certain if the shooter was AOS. Our police are armed, they just don't carry the gun on their person. It's stashed in their car, usually.

    A weapon can be pretty much anything other than your bare hands. I think even those can be considered a weapon if it's evident the person has training, like they are a professional boxer or something.

    I'd hate to hear that our cops were capping everyone who came at them with a screwdriver - that might seem to be a time when you should attempt a non-lethal shot first (after one in the air to show the weapon is loaded and operational), but I've never had someone come at me with a screwdriver to know what it feels like, nor have I ever shot someone in the leg or arm to know how practical it is to attempt. Although I hate the idea, tazers do seem to be a better solution, if protecting our police from personal harm is any kind of priority. It certainly is for them. But it does seem to me that NZ police have been up against screwdrivers forever, and drugged nutters (in their most common form, drunks), and they didn't need tazers before.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Islander,

    Okay BenWilson - one of the non-fatal-but-nearly- attacks on a police person WAS with a screwdriver: yes, trained hands can be reguarded & registered as weapons. The local cop here(I live in a remote area) is certainly armed (as in -pepperspray- at least - he's unusual as in he doesnt have a dog which almost all the former sole charge constables did) and he knows local arms-licenced persons and, much more to the point, all his S&R personnel. So, the locals are on his side-

    and this has been the good part of policing in ANZ since the year dot:
    you know your local people in your local area.You know your allies. I suspect that idea doesnt work in cities...

    Most area constables will keep a police revolver (o yes, there's still a few of those around) in a lock-up: almost all have had training in relevant firearms - to the order of 100 rounds per year.

    My cuz has fired, in non-combatant situations, THOUSANDS of rounds - per month.

    I would love an experienced arms instructor to tell us how the AOS is trained, and how local police people could be trained, so horrible 'accidents' dont occur.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • jon_knox,

    The police already have the right to shoot and that right to shoot comes with the need to ensure that the police only so when reasonable.
    The mechanism to do that is a mandatory explanation presented to the relevant arbiters.
    Every case will be different and therefore every case requires an examination.

    The only contention I can see is regarding the level of transparency and the parties to act as relevant arbiter.


    Regarding the standard of care in the prescribed standard procedure (SOP) from the police.

    Is there an assumption that the standard is reasonable/adequate? (Yes/No)
    If there is no assumption regarding the of adequacy the SOP, how is the assessment made, by whom and whom are the parties to be held responsible if the SOP is deemed inadequate?
    What process needs to therefore apply when changes to the SOP are made, if any?
    How to balance the need to prevent the SOP becoming so onerous that innocent lives are being unduly risked, with the need to prevent the standard becoming so lax that the police become sloppy, trigger happy or worse?

    Regarding the individual members of the police who contributed to the death.

    Did the actions of this individual meet the requirements of the SOP? (Yes, No, somewhat)

    Questions regarding intention.
    How to distinguish between the intention to disable and the intention to kill?
    Under what set of circumstances is the intention to kill justified?

    When does it become contrary to the public interest for the consideration of these details to be made available to all?

    Who should the arbiter be?

    As many have pointed out, the standards for the police are different, but I can't see a valid reason that the arbiter of those standards needs to be different from those that decide in any other situation.

    Having an investigation either automatically behind closed doors, or performed & decided by a group who have fraternal bond with police is unsatisfactory.
    The duplication in the maintenance & support of a separate authority to decide is wasteful.

    If there is good reason for not utilizing the judiciary then it must be for a valid & stated reason.

    Is it because the if the courts were to decide on the suitability of the SOP, it would be to have the courts effectively dictating police procedure and that is unsatisfactory? I don't think this situation is a special case, as any legal ruling may create precedents that impact decisions made by prosecutors regarding what cases get brought before the courts, which also effectively determines which crimes the police enforce, as the police are unlikely to bother enforcing laws that they are unable to achieve a conviction. The police know that they have procedures that are supported by precedent, so these are the procedures utilized.

    I think the one significant impact of having the judiciary answer these questions, is that there can be no assumption regarding the suitability of SOP, which requires an assessment of suitability in each case.

    As much as many people would like to plant the image of a member of police suffering indecision when placed in a terrible situation at the prospect of a court appearance as a defendant, due process also protects and absolves those people of responsibility, though it is quite understandable that nothing may resolve the personal responsibility felt by some of the parties.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Because there's no precedent for this type of incident, but the IPCA is still expected to make the decision on how to deal with it. I suggest that a court should be the body that decides if the accidental killing of a bystander is a breach or not.

    Just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it wasn't exactly one of the things that the IPCA was set up to deal with.

    2. "The person was known to the Police" if so then the chopper had him in view the whole time. Follow the car and wait rather than chase with god knows how many cars in hot pursuit. There are no tunnels in Auckland so car parks might be the only place the guy could have disappeared into.

    You're not serious right? A guy is armed, has fired shots, and you want the police to back off and then pick him up the next day from his house? Once a person presents and fires a gun, there's no way the police let them get away. You have no idea what the person is going to do with the gun, and there's no way the police can let them run around with a weapon and possibly shoot someone.

    I've flown in Eagle in pursuit of an offender, it's actually not very easy to follow a person, particularly on foot. We were helping a patrol car find a burglar, and the spotters on Eagle lost him a couple of times when he went through properties, under trees, after he abandoned his car. The helicopter is a tool to assist pursuit, it's by no means perfect.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    1. Where were the road spikes?

    You can only use road spikes to stop a vehicle if you can block the whole road, and if you can drop the spikes before the vehicle arrives.

    I presume when the police were pursuing the car, it was in amongst traffic. You can't drop spikes in traffic, you won't stop one car, you'll stop twelve innocent cars, and they're going to pile into each other or crash trying to avoid it. You'll hurt someone.

    In order to plant spikes you need a car ahead on the motorway, with spikes already. So you need to know where the offender is going and pre-plan. It would probably involve there being a patrol car in the area of another police station that happened to have spikes in their car.

    You also need to be able to spike all the way across the road, and the sides of the road as well. A four lane motorway is going to require at least two sets of spikes.

    Maybe this just wasn't an option for one or more of these reasons.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    You can't drop spikes in traffic, you won't stop one car, you'll stop twelve innocent cars, and they're going to pile into each other or crash trying to avoid it. You'll hurt someone.

    Not to mention getting hurt yourself, running across the motorway.

    I'd rate the option that the cops just hadn't had time to get there with all their gear as the most likely. And spikes can only do so much when you're up against a nut. They might opt to turn around and drive straight back up the motorway the wrong way, or attempt to plow through the median barrier, straight into oncoming traffic. Innocent lives are at risk, along every path you can hypothesize about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Too lazy to check if it's been mentioned already, but the thing that's bothered me is that I took till yesterday to officially take statements from the officers. Though I would expect there'd be an more ordinary reporting process before then.

    Aside from that, pending further revelations I have less of an issue with this that some of the times they've killed the right guy. Which is a bit of an odd thing to think.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    Which is a bit of an odd thing to think.

    Not really. Wrong guy, right reason is just lamentable. Right guy, wrong reason, is sinister.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    Too lazy to check if it's been mentioned already, but the thing that's bothered me is that I took till yesterday to officially take statements from the officers.

    That's not that unusual. A formal, recorded statement is often not taken until two or three days after the event, and in this case there was a long weekend to bugger things up. The officers involved will have done their notes immediately after the event, and probably been informally interviewed by CIB. The formal interview is done with a lawyer, fully recorded, etc. Setting those up doesn't happen instantly, and lawyers don't like working weekends.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    Where were the road spikes?

    Check this video out. I suspect that given they are able to stop the traffic it may have been possible to lay them out across the whole road here. They obviously knew the guy was heading this way. Note the number of cop cars at this particular intersection. I thought a fair proportion of them have the spikes in the boot??? It may not have been an ideal place but at least they were able to set up a moving block on the Mway so maybe they could have spiked the Mway somewhere less populated. Supposition of course.

    I forgot to mention in my first post that all 4/5 shots missed the intended target..........

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Mark Harris,

    Supposition of course.

    The only thing you've said that wasn't.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark,

    It is my understanding that there was a rolling stop on the motorway.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ross, at the point where the Skyline ran into the median barrier, the motorway is four full lanes wide, plus two generous shoulders. I know this with certainty because I drove through there on Monday and noted where the paint marks are. The spikes the police carry cannot be deployed over such a wide road. He came onto the motorway at Newton Road, as I understand it, which comes right into that very wide stretch.

    Also, as I've said before, once the road has been spiked, before anyone else can pass through the spikes must be retrieved. That means backing off from the pursuit, possibly losing the suspect. That's not a great option. And, in any case, he would've just jumped the median barrier, as he did when he crashed, and things wouldn't have looked all that much different. You're assuming the spikes would've ended the pursuit. That's a big assumption, given how many people have continued to drive whilst showering sparks from the rims after the tyres have totally given up the ghost and been left in pieces on the road.

    The shots hit close enough that he got shrapnel wounds. And since it sounds like the target had suddenly starting moving in a different direction, following Mr Neville's braking, getting that close isn't bad going.

    Pray tell, what're your qualifications to make these judgements? Or are you just another armchair "expert" who thinks that, because he thinks he can see something in hindsight, it should've been blatantly obvious to the IC who was in the thick of it?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    Jackie, you're correct, there was a rolling stop following him. That seems to be the standard (and obvious) procedure when pursuing someone who's armed and making use of the weapon. Lets AOS get in close while hopefully keeping the public out of the way. Normally works pretty well, though I imagine there will be some reconsideration of how to secure both directions of the motorway when the next one of these (this is the second hot pursuit on the NW motorway in the last three years, so I think it's a safe bet it'll happen again) occurs.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

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