Saturday, February 03, 2007

Justice chickens

I lived in Queensland for a year and it would be very easy, having seen and heard all I did, to be snide indeed about the latest miscarriage of justice there. But I have a more important observation to make about this tragedy and debacle both.

I'm not doing some boorish state thing. I think apologising for Milton Orkopoulos alone would take the whole of this entry (if you'll excuse the pun) so I'm not going there.

I do find it puzzling that tiers of the justice,health, and political systems would see a clear case of police brutality, indeed, criminality as being a 'tragic accident'

But let the story speak:

[headline of the Weekend Australian for the weekend just gone]

Palm cop to face charges

Justice seen to be done at last

[...]When [very drunk Mulrunji]Doomadgee encountered Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley and Aboriginal liaison officer Lloyd Bengaroo arresting a local man, he abused Bengaroo, swearing at him. For that he was was arrested, put in a paddy wagon, driven to the watchhouse where he and Hurley "scuffled". Twenty minutes later he was dead - four of his ribs broken and his liver torn in two

I don't know about you, but that sounds sufficiently excessive to question how much a danger this guy is. A lunatic with a badge and weapons is even worse.

The state government caved in to protest and allowed in a completely independent arbiter (i.e. an outerstater, yea, a "cockroach") to announce that there was a case to answer in a court of law. The DPP has somehow saved her hide; I guess it's a case of solidarity since the executive level of government failed to observe the interest of the victim or his people just as surely as the pathologist who first judged it an accident.
Then they wonder why there's a riot.

But the police association is going to protest. It's up for grabs apparently; I guess they can't throw bottles and bricks so they'll have to let off some tear gas canisters or something.
I just don't appreciate the mentality. The fact that I'd let a record manager get pecked by crows if he manipulated data to his own advantage is beside the point; I know being a cop is a dangerous and often unrewarding job and I know you're putting your necks out on the line and 'in the heat of the moment' and all that. But can I put it to you that you splitting some guy's liver because they razzed you is as bad as the Victorian force protecting themselves against an array of miscreants, with live ammunition. Your first task must be to explain how this much damage could be experienced by the victim in this short a space of time. He falls over a lot because he's really drunk and it's not the sergeant's fault there were a lot of really heavy blunt objects lying about. Try that one.

Banding together when the rest of society is outraged at your doing so is not helping your cause. And, yes, the police need to help their cause just as surely as they may feel the Palm Islanders need to help theirs.

I thought it was a good thing that the Islamic Council distanced itself from al-Hilaly's sheikifications*. Queensland cops - remember Terence Lewis boys - would be wise to do the same.

*the Islamic equivalent of pontifications


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