Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Rawiri Falwasser Incident'

It’s Time for Greg O’Connor to Stop Defending the Indefensible


I have been wanting to say this for a long time. Police Association President, Greg O’Connor does himself and the police officers he represents a grave disservice by assuming the role of Counsel for the Defence with every complaint or criticism that is levelled against his members. I use the word ‘every’ advisedly, since I honestly cannot remember an occasion when I have heard Mr O’Connor admit that the police had got it wrong or when he failed to present a rationale or excuse for their behaviour. The result is that the currency of his argument is debased. No sensible person believes that the police are without flaw or that they always get it right. Yet that essentially seems to be  Mr O’Connor’s position.  Today’s news provides an example.

The just-released report of the Independent Police Complaints Authority into the 2006 police-cell beating of Rawiri Falwasser found the actions of the four police officers involved ‘unnecessary, unreasonable and unjustified’. Falwassser, arrested for unlawfully taking a car, had refused to have his fingerprints taken or sign a Bill of Rights form. When he refused to be moved to another cell, he was subjected to a 20-minute beating by the officers and pepper-sprayed 65 times. Stuff reporter Ian Steward takes up the story:

‘They sprayed the burning mist into his cell through vents until a doctor who attended said he could not see Falwasser through the haze.

‘Falwasser received a 6-cm cut to his head and later said he thought he would die of suffocation from the pepper-spray.

‘His vision was blurred and he felt as if his face was burning. He later described it as feeling like hot water being poured over his body but without any physical burns.

‘For several weeks after the incident he suffered from headaches and dizziness and years later he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress over the incident.’  Read the rest of this entry »