Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Angry and thrilled about Arie

575 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 23 Newer→ Last

  • ChrisW,

    Indeed, a fine piece of television and journalism, with well-crafted understatement. Arie was enabled to present himself and his case as completely genuine and guileless. The point where he introduced himself at the door of the building's owners as "Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp" brought tears to my eyes. The anger came later.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • asnz,

    Janet McIntyre's report compelling report rose to the occasion and hopefully will attract as many media awards as it has, or might, attract in the way of sinister Police threats.

    Aspies quirky behaviour has been well defended before in Kiwi media - but not with the full inclusion of the voice of these people themselves - knowing they have the attentive backing of their own discrete Aspie community in this case. To see Arie and Michael plainly declaim the truth in all its startling simplicity was to see a 'first' occur on TV, with courage and honesty writ large, not the over-wrought claims of looting and feralness those with a political axe to grind shouted out.

    Arie's "Look, a train, I love trains", when set against the phrase "The Evil Face of Looting" will, for my generation, neatly sum up the task before us: to ourselves lead the way to lifting this nation out of a general ignorance unworthy of the numbers 2, 0, 1, 1.

    And, yes, Michael Laws, having shot his mouth off, needs to be questioing himself under his desk right now.

    Upper Hutt, New Zealand • Since Jul 2011 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Michael Laws, still the only exception to the "it's not OK" campaign.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Damn, I can't get the video to play.

    Arie did the right thing: he tried to calm himself down. He apparently told the arresting officers he was Asperger -- not in the hope of getting off, but in the belief they might do the right thing. In response, they are said to have mocked him, and -- while he was prone and handcuffed -- assaulted him.

    That's interesting given how just last Thursday, the Police stated "Claims that the alleged offenders were assaulted are completely incorrect,"

    I really thought Police were meant to get training on handling this kind of stuff. I know the situation here was unprecedented (major earthquake) and police tend to work in high tension environments. They might occasionally make bad assumptions and things won't always work out perfectly in-the-moment. But if the Police could just come out, acknowledge and clearly explain how Arie turned up in court looking as if he'd been pushed down a flight of stairs, I'd be much more satisfied. Or maybe I wouldn't, and maybe that's their dilemma.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to izogi,

    They might occasionally make bad assumptions and things won't always work out perfectly in-the-moment. But if the Police could just come out, acknowledge and clearly explain how Arie turned up in court looking as if he'd been pushed down a flight of stairs, I'd be much more satisfied.

    Quite - we all fuck up, but real strength is having the maturity to own your errors of judgement and make good as far as you can. And apart from the needless humiliation (and alleged assault) of Arie, I've got to ask how much time, public money and goodwill has been squandered on what looks a lot like the infantile intransigence of a handful of Police officers?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11988 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    I like to think i live in a country where the police are wonderful and they are serving the community and are there to make us all feel safer. This does the opposite.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 477 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Buses ? I'd rather walk...last time that happened I just got off in the middle of nowhere.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Can anyone (maybe who can view the video) indicate if Arie has actually laid an assault complaint with Police, contrary to what Inspector Erasmus said on Thursday? I can't seem to find clear info on this except that it was being considered early on (maybe March). From memory the decision was around not wanting so much media attention. It seems unusual though if claims are now being made through the media.

    Hopefully a reasonable judge will throw this out soon enough and give someone an appropriate dressing down in doing so, There have been plenty of opportunities for Police to step back before now, unless we're all being hideously mis-led on the facts somehow.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Hm, I can't get that one to play, either.

    Jesus wept! If the case is anything LIKE as baseless and vindictive as it sounds...times have been tricky down here but the LAST thing we need is authority victimising our most vulnerable people.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3447 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Following my previous comment, the end of this Herald article (also from last Thursday) states "His defence team said a complaint would be laid about their client being allegedly assaulted at the time of his arrest". So a complaint probably hadn't been made at the time of Inspector Erasmus's comment.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • LIISA, in reply to izogi,

    Can anyone (maybe who can view the video) indicate if Arie has actually laid an assault complaint with Police

    - in the story Arie said (from memory) that he was too scared to lay a complaint - too scared to go out anymore, and very, very scared of going to jail.

    Such a sad story - and incomprehensible response from the NZ Police - it appears they were aware almost straight away that there were special circumstances around Arie's behaviour, but they did not choose to take those into consideration.
    Can kind of see how that might happen in the heat of the moment - not right/good, but human mistake in high-stress circumstances.
    But for it to be supported and perpetuated by more senior staff/ management for so long... incomprehensible.
    Maybe there is even more to it we don't know yet.

    OTOH Arie came across so well - what a lovely man. I hope his dreams for the future (to become an electrician and own a house where he can display his collection of electrical fixtures) are realised. I suspect there will now be many people willing to offer him any help he might need.

    There really has been some excellent public service television this week (Cigerettes, Leaky Homes, Arie - to name some on commercial free-to-air) Perhaps the charter finally becoming evident? - best we put a stop to it.

    Wellie • Since May 2008 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • W K,

    I think some people are being a little kind to the police here... At the beginning of March I received a call from a family member who is a Christchurch police officer. She informed me with great pride she and her fellow officers had been taking "looters" into dark areas to "give them the bash". I informed her of the Aspergers case and she said "his family should've been looking after him". I gave her a lecture on due process and she hasn't spoken to me since.
    I don't think she would've felt so keen to tell me this unless there was a culture within her department that encouraged this behaviour.

    North Island • Since Jul 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Sean Plunket reports that "police have now launched an investigation (at taxpayer expense) into TVNZ's Sunday programme over their story on Arie".

    WTF?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1641 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks Russell. Another player in this 'case' has been social media. Your PA thread started soon after the first media story hinted at what has now been shown to be a huge injustice, and continued on and off for four months. Facebook friends and autism sector colleagues organised, firstly, a lawyer with understanding of the issues, who later handed over to the current defence lawyer, and, secondly, ensured the situation was not forgotten. I'm sure these all contributed to the Sunday story happening at all and in the way it did. The current FB page Justice for Arie Smith-Voorkamp has been very busy over the last couple of days with first hand accounts and advice on how and where to advocate to address this huge injustice. Hasn't finished yet.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2085 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Rickerby,

    A big part of the problem may be the police fear that the public can't handle the police making mistakes. Whether or not it's true, I get the impression that a great deal of Kiwis believe that that fudging and distorting facts to fit the initial accident or assesment is an ongoing, repeating, systematic problem within the NZ police culture.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2010 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    Buses ? I'd rather walk...last time that happened I just got off in the middle of nowhere.

    Yet 'nowhere' is somewhere as well.

    All I can say is that this Police behaviour is somewhat typical; once on their high horse they are inclined not to get off the horse. The Urewera 18 is one example. Arie is another. Police need training in humility - public esteem would go through the roof if they were to practice it.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • W K,

    Social media has been a player in this from the other side too. 56,000 people clicked they were attending "Public Humiliation for the Looters of the 22/02/2011 Earthquake" and many commenters on it advocated violence against suspects. Police use Facebook just like everyone else, and I'm sure it emboldened them.

    North Island • Since Jul 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    A quote from a Facebook contributor:

    The real culprits with an empathy-deficit... Police National HQ.

    Sunday Star Times had a readable and timely article written by a "low number". On empathy, Simon Baron-Cohen and quizzes.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    W K:

    She informed me with great pride she and her fellow officers had been taking "looters" into dark areas to "give them the bash". I informed her of the Aspergers case and she said "his family should've been looking after him". I gave her a lecture on due process and she hasn't spoken to me since. I don't think she would've felt so keen to tell me this unless there was a culture within her department that encouraged this behaviour.

    That's a very serious allegation and I hope it's less than what you're suggesting, but if it's true then screw 'em*. Police are human too and often under stressful situations and I could understand if Arie sustained an injury during an arrest with a reasonable explanation or whatever, as long as steps were taken later to admit correct any wrongdoing and do whatever's necessary to prevent it happening again, but taking people aside and beating them, or even joking about it, is unacceptable and unforgivable for police under any circumstances. If there's a culture that encourages this it needs to be weeded out now.

    Hopefully the investigation Plunket cites is one into the allegations, and not into how the programme was able to go ahead when Police tried to stop it.

    * I really want to say bayonet them, but it might come across all wrong and hypocritical.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • WaterDragon,

    I just fail to see what on earth the police think they have to gain from pursuing the matter with such single minded and small-brained vindictiveness. Quite apart from the rampant injustice of their stance it is as much a PR disaster for them as ever was the case for Rupert Murdoch and his "News of the World" band. Can somebody go chase rabbits please-a multiple brain transplant seems in order

    Behind you • Since Jul 2011 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    Yet 'nowhere' is somewhere as well.

    <chuckle>

    I have considerable gifts at my disposal; unfortunately a sense of position and direction isn't amongst them.

    #shockhorrormaleadmitstobeinglost

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Akehurst,

    Interesting and disappointing to compare and contrast this Police stance with Ross Meurants admissions in the Saturday Herald that he lied in denying Red Squads beating of Springbok Tour protesters dressed as clowns in 1981, and realise that things really haven't changed "deep in the forest" for the NZ Police.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    Buses ? I’d rather walk…last time that happened I just got off in the middle of nowhere.

    I have a tremendous, almost crippling*, anxiety about getting on the wrong bus. I'm OK with buses I catch every day, but ask me to catch a bus to a part of Auckland I've never been to before and I will spend every single moment staring out the window looking for landmarks and signs to try and determine whether I'm heading in the right direction, complete with elevated heart rate and tensed limbs (ready to leap into action at the first sign of heading in the wrong direction.) For someone who relies on buses to travel it's a fairly significant disadvatage.

    * - What's the non-abelist word for "crippling" in this context? My internal thesaurus is momentarily offline.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to WaterDragon,

    I just fail to see what on earth the police think they have to gain from pursuing the matter with such single minded and small-brained vindictiveness.

    Easy: they deter people from making complaints against them in the future.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1641 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    That was a truly sympathetic and persuasive piece. But, did TVNZ cross a line in interviewing basically all the participants but the police in a pending trial? I am fully confident that Arie has suffered a great wrong, and that there's something rotten in police conduct we need to get to the bottom of, but this aspect of the program bugs me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2960 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 23 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.