There has been some disquiet at my reaction yesterday to a Western Australian jury verdict which found that police had used excessive force and that the injuries the police suffered when the victims defended themselves were therefore the fault of the police themselves. I applauded the verdict -- and felt that the police injuries might serve as a salutary warning against excessive use of force by them in the future.
Some video of the melee concerned has been available for some time but the jury had the opportunity to see that video plus hear eyewitness testimony about the matter so I am quite happy to call the jury verdict justified, regardless of what impression the video may make on the casual viewer. There would have to be previously unknown evidence brought forward for a jury verdict to be overturned.
Note the following comment: "But one of the McLeods' lawyers, Michael Tudori, said yesterday it was an "absolutely disgrace" that Mr Porter and others had criticised the case when they had not been present at the trial. He said the McLeods had been protecting themselves and family members from excessive police force, The Weekend Australian reported. "The jury's verdict was unanimous in that the police used excessive force; that's how and why they were acquitted," he said. "The police should be looking at and reviewing that footage as to how they behaved."
The official reaction to the matter, however, has been predictable: Proposals to legislate so as to narrow the ways in which people can legitimately defend themselves from police misbehaviour.
In the circumstances, I thought I might say a little more about why I applaud the injuries suffered by the police in the matter. For starters, I should mention this case as an addition to the four recent cases of police misbehaviour that I linked to yesterday. An elderly Asian lady was thrown around like a sack of dirt and badly hurt by NSW police officers. And all on the basis of mere suspicion, suspicion which was neither justified nor reasonable. The police were subsequently exonerated from any blame in the matter. From that and other cases it seems clear to me that the whole reason why many police are in the force is that it gives them the opportunity to hurt people and get way with it.
My disgust with the police was however triggered long ago -- in the Mannix case of 1984 in Queensland. A young lad was "fitted up" by police with with the murder of his father and was released from prison some months later only because the real villain voluntarily confessed to the crime. How lucky can you get? Barry Mannix might still be in jail otherwise. The case attracted much public outrage and an Inquiry was held but no action was ever taken against the police thugs concerned. It all happened during the Joh Bjelke Petersen regime and I was a member of the National party at the time. I resigned from the party over the failure to take any action against the police misbehaviour concerned.
The behaviour of the Queensland police in general, however, eventually became so malodorous that Bjelke-Petersen set up the Fitzgerald enquiry -- which resulted in the Chief of Police being sent to jail for some years. And if the Police Chief was corrupt, what does that say of the force he led?
It may be noted that there was another inquiry into Queensland police malpractice -- the Lucas Inquiry of 1977 -- which had recommended reforms to police procedures that might have prevented the onlaught on Mannix -- but the recommendations of that Inquiry were ignored.
And my disquiet was thoroughly sharpened when my car was stolen a couple of years ago. When I got the car back, I found that someone had dropped an ID card in it. And that someone could only be one of the thieves. So I went to the local cop shop with the card in the belief that I was handing them a conviction on a platter. They were simply not interested in pursuing the matter. I wrote to the officer in charge of the local station, to the chief of police, to the minister for justice in the government and to the Premier but all I ever got were fob-offs. My matter was simply too unimportant to bother with. Not enough opportunity for a stoush, apparently. More on the Queensland police here. Scroll down for details of my matter.
Perhaps because police have "dirt" on them, politicians tend to back and defend the police no matter what. While that is happening there is little that anyone can do but cheer when police get hurt. I would sympathize only if there were reasonable and effective recourse against police misbehavior available. But I know of nowhere in Australia where that prevails. The Mallard case certainly revealed long-term rottenness from top to bottom in the Western Australian force.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here