Why are so many of us making so much noise about the investigations into Halatau Naitoko’s death?
There are three things that are influencing me:
- The Police have a history of failing to properly investigate their own, and even of covering up for colleagues.Â
- There is a recent history of the Police undertaking disproportionate investigation and action on firearms charges against activists, and I’m still pretty riled by it.
- Their employees have behaved dishonourably in so many ways in recent memory and the Police have not apologised or truly addressed the actions.
Does this mean there was necessarily anything wrong with the Police’s action on Auckland’s Northwestern motorway? No
Does this mean there was necessarily anything wrong with actions of the individual AOS members? No.
Does it mean I am even remotely comfortable with the Police determining what investigation will be undertaken, how it will be undertaken and who will do it? Hell no!
The reality is that the Police brought this storm on themselves, by having behaved so badly in the past they have damaged our trust in them and they have made little attempt to rebuild it.
Several years ago I knew a man who had worked in the AOS for many years; a good and honourable man. When I heard what had happened on Friday I had two first instincts, the first was to imagine the officer who had pulled the trigger and think of the man I knew and feel for the officer’s pain and guilt. The second was to think “Oh here we go, let’s see how fast the spin kicks in and how fast and deep they bury the investigation”.
The individual officers who were there on Friday deserve and have my thoughts and sympathy. I can’t imagine the pain and guilt they are feeling right now, and I am so very grateful to them for everything they do to keep us safe.
The Police organisation, however, deserves every piece of cynicism and distrust I direct its way.