Thursday, November 15, 2007


Reading the American story below made me think of a New Zealand case where a young man was shot by police. But lets go to America first.

1/ America:

An unarmed, mentally ill young man of 18 years could be heard yelling over the phone," I've got a gun!" as his mother made an emergency call.

New York police arrived at the family home and opened fire on the young man in a 20 bullet barrage, according to a transcript of the emergency call released by police recently.

Five police officers opened fire on him, after he allegedly charged them outside of his home with an alleged black object in his hand - a hair brush!

His mother had apparently attempted to have her son hospitalised earlier that day. But she was unsuccessful in convincing authorities of the need for his admission. There is definately no need now!

2/ New Zealand:

Some years ago in Taranaki, New Zealand, a young man in his late twenties left his parents home in the evening in an extremely agitated state. A short time later he was reported to police as being the culprit smashing windows in the town's CBD. Police moved in, ordering him to cease, but he continued on his smashing spree. The police officers again ordered him to desist, but this time he moved towards the leading police officer, armed with a softball bat and golf club.

The leading policeman raised his Glock pistol which had been in the patrol car, and again ordered the man to desist, but he kept moving towards the policeman, who fired a number of shots at him. He fell mortally wounded. and died later.

This case raised a furore within New Zealand at the time because the general public claimed the policeman over-reacted. Apparently a police- dog and handler had been sent from New Plymouth city, only twenty minutes away by road. The dead man's family and members of the general public maintained that the police should have backed off and waited for the dog and handler to arrive.

The policeman was exonerated of any wrong doing at the inquest and ensuing enquiry. But the New Zealand public remains divided over the policeaction, many years later.

The Writers Lounge

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