Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cops totally exonerated: Herald plays on fear and hyperbole

The IPCC report into the shooting of Steven Wallace in Waitara many, many moons ago was released today. I am reliably advised, and indeed heard the same on NewstalkZB tonight, that the police shooter involved is totally exonerated and his actions vindicated in the report.

He, Senior Constable Keith Abbott, has been acquitted by a jury in a private proecution, vindicated to most extents by the coroners report, and now totally cleared, nine years later, by the IPCC report. But does the Herald mention this? Not a chance. Instead it runs this headline:

Police should have shown more care to shot Wallace - IPCA

And then it blabbers on about how first aid wasn't applied to Wallace despite this fact "The surgeon and a pathologist confirmed that even if first aid had been rendered immediately after the shooting, Mr Wallace would not have survived."



Anonymous said...

perhaps mr wallace should have thought better than to have a go at shop windows and coppers with a golf club at 4am.


I note over at Blairs, why does Wallace have baseball bats on his headstone.

What struck me dxutring the case all those years ago was the media describing him as a 'lapsed' student, instead of a dropout.
Guess lapsed doesn't sound so bad.

Barnsley Bill said...

Oswald has posted the most comprehensive post on the topic of this incident.

KG said...

hmmm..whether or not he would have survived given timely first aid is something determined after the event.
Surely it's not unreasonable to expect the people who shot him to administer first aid promptly?

Anonymous said...

I agree with KG - the police were at fault in not giving prompt first aid (as locals said at the time of shooting - police apparently blocked them from helping Wallace).

Beyond that, while the Herald may be just shamelessly grabbing whatever controversy they can, this whitewash IPCA report was sadly inevitable. The 'findings' contradict the known facts that even police accept - that the 2 male cops spent 10 minutes going off to get guns, leaving 1 female cop watching Wallace alone. Wallace approached no-one in that time, though the sole cop was clearly visible. Wallace only advanced after Const Abbott approached Wallace, then shot a 'warning' shot above his head in the dark. Wallace appears to have misinterpreted this as shooting 'at him', further advanced, and Abbott killed him.

The report also notes Abbott was not breathtested, and cops still don't breathtest police who have shot someone - this is a serious failing, as cops (esp. AOS and rural) are often called to such incidents while off-duty. Witnesses to Abbott's alleged drunkenness were not interviewed for the IPCA report!!!

I oould go on, but it should be cleaqr that - as usual - a whitewash report has conclusions unsupported by the facts agreed by all parties. Not the finest hour for police or the IPCA.

Anonymous said...

Of course if the police had had tasers back then this thread would not exist and there would be no need for this endless inquiry into whether the actions of the police and Abbott in particular were justified.

But I doubt you will hear the opponents of the taser acknowledge this.

Clunking Fist said...

FFM: he is now a lapsed human...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Squaredrive. I think that we need to go and tell the courts, the coroner and the IPCC that they got it wrong and that you have got it right. Think of the money we could have saved just by getting your opinion straight out.

John Q Public said...

Square Drive; what part of 'armed police..stop or i'll shoot' do you think Wallace failed to understand?

Anonymous said...

Square Drive you forgot to mention the bit about Wallace attacking the police car and putting a golf club through the windshield, kinda blows your whole "he was real peaceful until he thought a cop shot at him" argument out the water.

Clunking Fist said...

JQP; what part of 'man bleeding, might die, not a good look' do you think the Police failed to understand?

Twice? (South Auckland Liquor Store owner.)

Anonymous said...

wallaces family are in denial and feel guilty because of the arguement he had before he left the family house and wenton his rampage.

they wish they had either not rowed or had stopped him leaving the house

But the reality he did and played chicken with an armed policeman

He made a bad choice


Anonymous said...

Just because not providing first aid assistance wasn't necessary for his death in this case, doesn't mean it wouldn't have been sufficient, in this or - more importantly for a report making reocmmendations - a number of other similar cases.

So recommending that they provide the assistance is sensible.

I believe that is squaredrive's relevant point.

No crap about 'armed police stop' changes that.

Sympathy for the situation of the police in this case doesn't mean one shouldn't speak on good procedure or professionalism.

Anonymous said...

Be that as it may, had the perp not perped, he wouldn't now be the vic he became.

Anonymous said...

@ showmethetaxcut - one of my points was that Abbott & Dombrowski went to the police station and got guns, but did not grab the riot shields & helmets that were there (and they had pepper spray on their belts). The fact they chose not to use pepper spray or riot gear tells you a lot about the mentality of those 2. They may have ignored tasers too...

@ mawm - I'm quoting (from memory) from the police report into the Wallace killing. So you better tell the cops they got it wrong too ;)

@ John Q Public - it is irrelevant what Wallace heard or understood. Police are only legally allowed to shoot him if they reasonably think he poses a risk to life & limb that CANNOT be stopped any other way.

3 cops should have been able to restrain and cuff 1 drunk (and window/windscreen smashing) guy with bat. Long batons protect against your arm being broken by a club/bat blow, and Wallace would not have had another swing.

The lack of coordination by 3 cops on the scene, and the failure of Abbott & Dombrowski to check with the sole cop observing Wallace (while they armed) before approaching Wallace should give all Kiwis cause for concern.

Inept policing protects no-one; coverups even less so.

WAKE UP said...

Everybody is an armchair expert on this one.

Clunking Fist said...

"Everybody is an armchair expert on this one."

But we ARE peers.