Law and disorder
A local court found three men not guilty of bashing a police officer who was left semi-paralyzed after the incident.
The charges stemmed from an incident last year in Joondalup, north of Perth, when the three men were involved in a fight with another group. Constable Matthew Buthcher was part of the police group responding to that disturbance. He was head butted from behind by one of the men. A report from Perthnow.com said that “defence lawyers argued [that the three men] acted in self defence when confronted by police, who they said acted with excessive force as they attempted to arrest them.”
A camera video phone shown on national TV showed police having a hard time controlling the men while the three accused men continued to assault officers. Constable Butcher tasered one of the men. It was then that one of them threw a flying head but that left the constable dropping on the ground head first. He fell into a coma after that. The tasered man later suffered a heart attack.
Family members of Constable Butcher later alleged that one of the accused men told the paralyzed police officer right after the trial that “we should have killed you.”
The verdict has been received with mixed reactions. The police commissioner reminded the police force to remain in focus. Some criticized the prosecution for not getting it right while others cautioned the public form being emotional. One of the commentators explained that the jury only acted on the evidence that was presented and it was not a show of lack of support to the police.
In the Philippines, there were a number of incidences that police recently figured prominently including the infamous Parañaque shootout. I may not have the facts now but I could only note the big difference between Australia and the Philippines. I might be wrong in my assumptions but one could only wonder.
In the Philippines, police are definitely feared (sometimes respected) by criminals but sadly even peace loving citizens especially journalists. In Australia, law breakers seem to have an upper hand. Here, police fires a gun and an internal investigation is already underway, the police involved will be stood down or their firearms confiscated. Jails are far more comfortable here (which might explain some people love going to jail?!). Some of the laws have a lot of loopholes, which makes me wonder sometimes whether their lawmakers would want an exposure trip overseas to “survey” better criminal laws.
I saw one police reality show on TV, which showed a police interrogation. The police officers were addressing the suspect “sir” and despite the suspect spitting on the camera, the police officers showed professionalism and maintained their composure. I was surprised as this is something you’ll never see in the Philippines (that suspect would have seen a hand landing between his eyes).
Going back to the topic of this post, there are fears that police will have second thoughts in responding to violent incidences as they are certain that there will be no law to protect them (to think that they are the law enforcers). There are many ironies here in Australia. Whether this incidence showed the lack of teeth of its laws or legals system will just be one of my many assumptions and I might have to say that I am one with Constable Butcher trying to comprehend what happened. Yes some people could just walk to the police officer and break him emotionally and sometimes physically. Sadly, there is always that big possibility they could walk away from any wrongdoing scott-free.