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Cheers - AE

Friday, 18 June 2010

What not to ask a Queensland cop.

His name, apparently. Yes, really. Via the Real World Libertarian, who seems pretty unhappy with his state's police force, this:
EMBATTLED Surfers Paradise police are embroiled in a fresh misconduct probe after a retired businessman was allegedly brutalised and thrown in a cell.

Lindsay Walters, 61, says he was subjected to shocking treatment at Surfers Paradise police station last month when he went in to pay a fine for his son.

He claims he was sworn at, handcuffed and threatened that his arms would be broken.

The wealthy Paradise Waters businessman has made a formal complaint to the Crime and Misconduct Commission alleging unlawful arrest, deprivation of liberty and serious assault.


In a police statement, Mr Walters said he went to Surfers police station on May 4 after two officers called at his home that day in relation to an arrest warrant for his 28-year-old son Ben over an unpaid traffic fine in Victoria.

He said he arranged to pay the $1000 fine for his son but when he went to the station was told the officer handling the matter was out.

He said he asked civilly several times to speak with the officer-in-charge. An officer eventually emerged and allegedly told him: "You've got two (expletive) choices sit there and wait or I'll arrest you."

Mr Walters said he replied: "Well, that won't happen, because I'll leave." He said he was affronted by the officer's demeanour and turned to walk out.

"Before I exited, I turned and said, 'excuse me, can I have your name please?'" Mr Walters said in the statement. ``At this instant, the officer burst through a door, strode quickly over to me and seized my left forearm. He forced my arm behind my back and said 'you're under arrest'. I felt an intense burning pain in my shoulders and neck. I said, 'why am I being arrested?'. The officer replied: 'An outstanding warrant'."
Which, let's just remember, was for someone else.
Despite his protestations, Mr Walters said his arms were forced back and he was handcuffed, causing intense pain... He said that as he was being handcuffed, the officer said: "Stop resisting or I'll break your (expletive) arms."

Mr Walters said his belongings were seized and he was forced into a cell. He was released about 15 minutes later when the officer who had been handling his son's warrant returned.

The officer apologised for his colleague's conduct and accepted the $1000 fine payment, Mr Walters said.
Oh, so that's alright then? Not quite.
He said the officer who locked him up threatened to charge him with public nuisance but he was released without charge.
Whaaaat? Was he taking the (expletive) (expletive)?
"If I was playing up, why didn't they charge me?" [Mr Walters] said yesterday.
Yeah, I wonder...
"I've never been in trouble with the law and some of my closest friends are serving and retired police, but this bloke (the officer) deserves to lose his job over this. I'm not going to let him get away with it."

A police spokeswoman confirmed an internal investigation into the incident was under way.
But from what the Real World Libertarian says it sounds like there are more reasons to worry about the goes rather deeper than the actions of one cop. There are fines for everything from swearing to inappropriate behaviour, which given that the great Australian adjective is 'bloody'* could well create plenty of work for the fine patrols, er, I mean police.
The latest ploy after massively increasing the existing fine structure, because they claimed it didn’t impact enough, is to give the police the power to issue on the spot fines for “inappropriate behavior.” Some of these fines are in the order of $300.

This is in a state where the police asked for fines for jaywalking to be increased to $75 plus a demerit point off your license. Just what the hell does walking have to do with driver’s licenses? Something as harmless as not wearing a seatbelt costs $300. On one occasion here, in the main street, the cops found a stop sign, which was obscured by bushes and set up a trap for motorists. They were really raking it in for Anna [Bligh, Queensland Premier].

This is a clear indication of how the police view their role, not road safety, but revenue raising. If they were in any way concerned about safety in a slow flowing area, the logical move would have been to point it out to the Council, not set a trap.
Have a read of the whole thing, but just in case you're wondering what constitutes "inappropriate behaviour" I'll spoil the surprise and tell you that it seems largely to be left up to the police. But you probably guessed that already.

* And to prove its long standing status it's Aussie culture time:

The sunburnt bloody stockman stood
And in a dismal bloody mood
Apostrophised his bloody cuddy;
"The bloody nag's no bloody good,
He couldn't earn his bloody food -
A regular bloody brumby.

He jumped across the bloody horse
And cantered off, of bloody course,
The roads were bad and bloody muddy;
Said he, "Well spare me bloody days
The bloody Government's bloody ways
Are screamin' bloody funny.

He rode uphill, down bloody dale,
The wind, it blew a bloody gale,
The creek was high and bloody floody.
Said he, "The bloody horse must swim.
The same for bloody me and him,
It's somethin' bloody sickenin'.

He plunged into the bloody creek,
The bloody nag was bloody weak,
The stockman's face a bloody study!
And though the bloody horse was drowned
The bloody rider reached the ground
Ejaculating, "Bloody?"

                                                                                                                 W.T. Goodge, 1898

It also says so on an old tee-shirt that came from a tourist trap somewhere. It might even have been Queensland.


Jim Fryar said...

This is a better example of the art. Splitting infinitives is so yesterday.

And the other bloke says "Seen 'im? Owed 'im half a bloody quid.

Forgot to give it back to him, but now I bloody did,

Could've used the thing me bloody self. Been off the bloody booze,

Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin' kanga-bloody-roos."

Angry Exile said...

I think that's getting bookmarked. Ta.

microdave said...

And you still think moving downunder was a good move? Australia may have been the land of opportunity, but it seems to be going downhill very quickly...

The last time I visited Melbourne in '96, my friend (another expat) had a pretty dim view of the police, even back then.

I hope I'm wrong, but....

Dick Puddlecote said...

Interestingly, one of my link tank articles set for tomorrow is about Queensland and probably very much linked with this.

Angry Exile said...

microdave, yes I do (subject to the outside possibility that The Twins will fix everything wrong with the UK rather than fucking it up even more). Canberra has way too much power and is trying to grab more, and while I'm still learning more and more about Australian history I can't help feeling that's not what the idea was back in 1901. Then there's the nanny state, which is better in some things than the UK but worse with others. Call it a score draw. But against all that there's an established political party with decidedly libertarian leanings, you can take a photo without a cop or some wannabe cop harassing you and, depending on which state we're talking about, there are some fairly liberal attitudes. More importantly, as I said over at Jim Fryar's, Australia lacks the really scary legislation brought in by Blair and Brown to do... well, pretty much whatever the sitting PM wants to do.

Is Australia a libertarian utopia? No, of course not. Is it better than the UK? Overall the answer is still yes for me, especially as I think it has the potential to become a better and freer place faster than the UK. In the meantime just don't go to Queensland.

Angry Exile said...

DP, I'll be sure to tear myself away from the footy to have a look.

Aussie in UK said...

Australia is so big and has so few people that it won't become like the UK for a long time. As long as you stay below 100km/h, you can do whatever you want and everyone else will be too far away to care.

In my opinion Aussies mostly still have common sense and would like to leave each other alone, but only up to a point after which they are extremely pro-state and like laws. In London people are less so, but very socialist.

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