by Phil Duncan
Quite a few people in this country routinely experience police harassment. If you’re young, male, working class, brown and live somewhere like Cannon’s Creek or Otara it’s probably a given and it doesn’t get media coverage. Perhaps it’s this that made the cops think they would get away with targeting some white, respectable, middle-class, older people for a change.
In any case, the use of a bogus breathiliser checkpoint to gather names of people attending an Exit International meeting in Lower Hutt on October 2 – as well as the fact that cops attended the meeting and took down car number plates – has rather blown up in their face.
It has also lifted the lid on what can and does go on behind closed doors in the decision-making rooms of the repressive apparatus of the state.
The people who had their car number plates taken down and the people who were stopped by a police checkpoint to be breathilised were doing nothing illegal. So much for the usual particularly moronic argument “if you’re not doing anything wrong you’ve got nothing to fear” from the cops, the secret political police etc etc.
People attending the meeting subsequently had their homes visited. As 76-year-old Wilhelmina Irving put it, “A lot of elderly people are quite scared by police and [scared] they might be doing something wrong”. She told Stuff reporters Tom Hunt and Matt Stewart that some days later she was visited at home by an inspector who “told me he knew exactly what had been said, who was there, everything else and [asked] what did I have to say?” Stuff later reported, “ten of the women who were stopped at the roadblock were visited by police in their homes.” One woman in her 80s was so stressed by the visit she had an asthma attack.
If this is what the cops are prepared to do to people attending an open public meeting to discuss euthanasia, imagine what they are open to doing in situations where the authority of the unjust system they uphold might be called into question?