Guest Post: Some gang members are actually fine law abiding chaps – the police

A guest post by David Garrett:

On 8 June, the Mongrel Mob took over a street in Hamilton in order to hold a tangi for one of their dead members. On 11 June, Stuff reported that residents of the area were “terrified” and that:

“patched gang members and cars were visibly crowding the street, with cars blocking the road and preventing residents from entering”

And disturbingly:

“multiple police cars were in seen in surrounding areas as gang members loitered in the streets [which] caused mayhem for parents trying to pick their children up from nearby Maeroa intermediate

I made a formal complaint regarding the inaction of the Area Commander of the Waikato Police in response to this incident. In my letter I asked the police to comment on the accuracy of the Stuff report, and if it was inaccurate in any respect(s), to specify those inaccuracies.

On Saturday 4 July, to my utter incredulity, I received the following response to what is termed, in the subject line of the e-mail,  my “enquiry”:

            Thank you for your email David.

We hope you’ve enjoyed your week thus far.  Your complaint 16/06/2020 was forwarded through to the district however those directly affected by the incident you read in a article will be contacted and or updated. We do have to wear many hats and as you stated in the complaint there were a large number of members in attendance likely emotional, grieving, some even angry, we would have to consider whether disrupting this time of mourning or even involving Council in the removal or ticketing of the vehicles parked illegally would potentially put more lives at risk or work to how we plan it.  The wiser choice in this case was unfortunately unfavourable in your eyes.  We do have to take into account incoming emergencies, immediate safety of the public, the safety of our staff members, and availability of our facilities.

Gang Criminal activity are crimes that we take seriously having said that being a part of a gang does not automatically make you a criminal, in fact, there are a number of gang members who are hard working, family orientated, law abiding citizens/permanent residents.  As far as we aware gang patches have been banned from government and public buildings as introduced in 2012 under the Prohibition of Gang Insignia

You do have the freedom to make a complaint irregardless of how separated from the incident you are and below is a link with the correct avenues for you to do so” [emphasis added]

To say I was astounded by this semi-literate poorly punctuated unsigned response to my complaint – it was most definitely not  an “enquiry” – would be an understatement. However its contents – particularly the section in bold (my emphasis) – now confirms my suspicion that the police no longer regard the Mob as primarily a criminal organization.

In  a separate OIA request about possible interactions between Deputy Commissioner Haumaha and gang leader Sonny Fatu,  I asked the following question:

“Is it still the position of the police that the Mongrel Mob is wholly or in part a criminal organization?”

In return, I received a lengthy disquisition on two provisions of the Gang Insignia Act which, read  together, suggest that the simple answer to that straightforward Yes or No question was Yes – unless the police’s view is now different from whoever was the Minister of Police in the National government when the Mob was added to the list of gangs in that Act in 2013.

I thought perhaps I was acting like a typical leftie, and reading more into the answer than was justified, so I have made a follow up request asking for a clear answer to my quite straightforward question.

This latest response to my “enquiry” suggests my suspicions were correct, and that the police no longer regard the members of the Mob as criminals – despite their “code”, and what they need to do to get a patch. I suspect many readers will be astounded to  learn that in the view of the police:

            “…being a part of a gang does not automatically make you a criminal, in fact, there are a number of gang members who are hard working, family orientated, law abiding citizens/permanent residents.”

In my view – and fully appreciating the inherent difficulties created by comparison with the Nazis – this is tantamount to saying “Well, not all the members of the SS were evil, in fact some of them were good family men.” So fucking what? Like the SS, members of the Mob sign up – well, figuratively, most of them are probably illiterate – to a Code that is inherently evil. That Code involves regarding women as “bitches” – their word – whose function is cook clean and fuck, and produce children for which cash can be claimed. They can be abused whenever and however members think fit. It is common knowledge that rape and even murder of women is one sure way to get patched.

As an organization, they reject the societal norms that the rest of us respect, or at least (mostly) abide by – indeed such disdain and disregard is required  of members; it is loosely included in the term “Mongrelish behavior” which all members are expected to exhibit at all times.

It is of course something of a cliché, but if any group of readers – or indeed any group of ordinary citizens – took over a street for three days and behaved as this pack of criminals did, said citizens would be promptly arrested. Such a siege wouldn’t be allowed to last three hours, let alone three days.

So, law abiding citizens, welcome to the Brave New World of policing in 2020, where the law is only strictly applied to members of the middle class, and if there is enough of them in any one place, gang members can pretty much do whatever they like. Have the police been bought off by the gangs? Probably not. Have they being cowed and intimidated into giving them huge amounts of leeway not granted to ordinary citizens? You betcha.

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