I didn't know Meurant knew the decision-making priocess that went on on the Motorway on Friday afternoon. He must have been there. Meurant should watch tonight's interview on Close Up with the truck driver and then apologise.
Mr Meurant said police could only shoot to kill when they feared death or grievous injury to themselves or someone else and when there was no other way to prevent it.
He questions the decision-making process that led to Mr Naitoko's death.
I/S starts off in his first post saying that "It looks like a tragic accident. But regardless, the officer should be prosecuted and made to face the judgement of their peers."
Then in his second post responding to feedback he says that:
No, what I am arguing is for the police to have exactly the same rights as any other New Zealander, and for them to apply the same bloody standard to themselves as they apply to everybody else.
If an ordinary citizen shot someone in these circumstances, they would unquestionably be facing court. We expect a high degree of care from the people we trust with guns, to the extent that accidentally shooting someone is regarded as careless pretty much by definition. That standard is high, but it is not inherently malicious, and it does not become so simply because the shooter is wearing a uniform.
I/S is fair and square wrong. He conflates rights with responsibilities or duties. The police do have the right to shoot people in this country just as much as they have the right to handcuff suspects, use force, drive at excessive speed etc. You get the point. But their rights to do all these things have to be balanced with the situation they are facing at the time. You break the law if you drive at excesive speed to a report of a historic house burglary. And, there is (usually) no need to handcuff a 16 yr old female shoplifter. Each situation depends on the circumstances. As does this shooting.
The police do have the right to shoot to incapacitate in certain circumstances. Under their internal firearm regulations (internally regulated) if the elements of F61 are met* then they can shoot to incapacitate: shoot to kill in essence.
Having listened to the driver of the truck on Close Up tonight (I'll add the link when it comes online) it is crystal clear the requirements of F61 were present. Stephen Hohepa McDonald had to be shot to incapacitate him.
Having met this requirement, it seems it then becomes an issue of how much care the officer took in taking aim and pulling the trigger. Again, this cannot be judged against the ordinary standard of a deer hunter in the Ureweras. Such a deer hunter is simply not operating in the same circumstances as police are who make split-second decisions when aiming and pulling the trigger. The deer hunter might have minutes to settle himself, confirm his target etc. The police have seconds. I have been in this position. It is not pleasant. Nor is it easy.
This is not the movies or series 5, episode 6 of 24. It's real. And in real life situations like this it sometimes doesn't matter how much training one has because you need real life situations to put the training into practice.
Thankfully in New Zealand we have very, very few of these real life situations.
I doubt the police officer will be charged. He was, as Greg O'Connor rather crudely put, "just doing his job". Of course O'Conner said this and made his 'odd' statements knowing the Idiot/Savants and Bombers of this world would be calling for the officers head. That's why he went on the defensive.
I'm not caling for the officers head. Leave him alone. He was doing his job. The fact he missed his target is a reflection of how many times police pull triggers in this country in real life situations. Fortunately for all of us that is very infrequently.
But there is a better and more important reason why this officer should not be charged. And that is because the very next time an officer has to make that split-second decision to shoot an armed and extremely dangerous offender they will be thinking "gee, if I fuck this up I might go to jail". And they may hesitate, and someone could die.
And then the Idiot/Savants and Bombers of this world will be baying for their blood asking why they are wearing the uniform if they are not prepared to do their job.
Get my point?
* Unable to recall the specifics and not able to be Googled.