Latest shooting death: Small Police, Big Guns

Fatal Taranaki police shooting: Police accused of insensitivity over Kaoss Price’s death

A lawyer representing the whānau of a Taranaki man shot and killed by police says statements by police about the incident are insensitive.

Kaoss Price was shot after he rammed a police car on State Highway 3 between New Plymouth and Waitara on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old was not carrying a firearm.

Kaoss Price generates very little sympathy.

He committed violent acts built upon a violent upbringing of his damaged life.

If he was attempting to carjack another vehicle to continue ramming Police or bystanders, most will see that as justification by Police to shoot.

But the simple truth is we don’t know what the hell has happened here.

Was he shot twice?

Was he attempting to escape?

What actual threat was he posing?

These are essential details the Police have not released.

They are allowing his character assassination in the publics mind to justify their actions as opposed to an actual timeline of what happened.

Any time the State’s actions lead to the death of a person, that action must be scrutinised and justified air the highest levels.

RNZ has done a withering expose on how trigger happy NZ Police are when it comes to shooting Kiwis. NZ Police are shooting NZers at 11 times the rates of Welsh or English Police.

One of the fundamental problems is that NZ Police are poorly trained when it comes to firearms and critics complain of a gung ho culture – why aren’t Police de-escalating events and preferring to open fire?

Almost 25% of those fatally shot had mental health issues, surely that alone demands some reflection from the Police?

10 out of of those 39 killed were shot in the back by Police, doesn’t that demand some reflection?

In 25 of the 35 cases the person killed had not injured another person before being shot. In eight cases they had damaged property. In 17 shootings the person killed had not done any damage at all. Where is the moral justification of opening fire in situations where there isn’t an actual threat or damage?

In 20% of cases investigated by the IPCA they found Police actions escalated events and put Officers into positions where shooting was the only option – surely a percentage as large as that – 20% demands a culture change within the Police?

I argued recently that one reason why the sudden jump in Police pepper spraying children is because the size requirements to be a Police Officer were relaxed to allow more minorities to becomes Police and the inadvertent conclusion of that decision was Police who were more reliant on weapons to assert dominance.

Combine this with lax firearm training and we have a Police force staffed by people who are too reliant on weapons to assert control.

It is not acceptable to have social policy as indifferent as this no matter who is dying.

Kaoss Price was a human being. Beyond the many reasons we may hold up to claim he deserves little sympathy, he was one of us and served a response to his actions that was proportionate to the threat he posed.

If we lose sight of that in the emotional backlash of him as a figure deserving of our sympathy, we have lost more than he has.

We all await the review and trust the system to be honest here.

A human life has been lost. Social policy in a liberal progressive democracy that is ruled by law must ask why that is and how to avoid it in the future without putting other lives at risk.

If Justice truly matters to you, let’s wait until the process has had the opportunity to transparently explain the timeline.

So say all of us.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media

Related Posts