November 14, 2019
Armed police a threat to Maori in moment of madness
The Mental Health Foundation is warning that having armed police on patrol is likely to lead to Māori with mental health problems being shot.
Chief executive Shaun Robinson says on past experience it’s a statistical probability guns will disproportionately be used against individuals experiencing mental health crises.
He says that’s borne out with figures on taser use in 2016 police officers were found to have discharged Tasers in 25 percent of all cases involving an individual with mental illness, but only 16 percent of cases involving others.
There is no indication the people leading the trials of armed police response units in south Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury have considered the safety and wellbeing of people experiencing mental distress, a disproportionate number of whom will be Māori.
Mr Robinson says while police have acknowledged racial bias against Māori, this has had no impact on the number of Māori being arrested or approached by police, and two thirds of individuals shot by police in the last decade were Māori or Pasifika.
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