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  1. #1
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    Policing of indigenous offenders

    Question for everyone:

    1) I see a drunk person using stairs of flinders street station as toilet. 2) I bring it to attention of a policeman who is nearby...3) the policeman does nothing

    If they person performing this ''act of spiritual relief at the place belonging to his ancestors' is not Indigenous the policeman would:

    a) still do nothing despite seeing it with his own eyes
    b) Come forward and issue a fine (Saw it happening to someone near a pub once)
    c)) Come and give a warning
    d) tell me that he can see it..and he is ''keeping an eye on their behavior so I should not worry as everything is under control''
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  2. #2
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    Question for everyone:

    1) I see a drunk person using stairs of flinders street station as toilet. 2) I bring it to attention of a policeman who is nearby...3) the policeman does nothing

    If they person performing this ''act of spiritual relief at the place belonging to his ancestors' is not Indigenous the policeman would:

    a) still do nothing despite seeing it with his own eyes
    b) Come forward and issue a fine (Saw it happening to someone near a pub once)
    c)) Come and give a warning
    d) tell me that he can see it..and he is ''keeping an eye on their behavior so I should not worry as everything is under control''
    There are many questions I would have about this. Firstly, was the offender known to the policeman? The policeman may have been aware, or had reason to believe, that the offender would not be able to pay a fine. As such, charging the offender would have had no benefit other than wasting state resources and increasing the chance of pointless imprisonment.

    Secondly, what else was the policeman doing at the time? Did he have responsibilities that were more important than chasing after someone for public urination, an act which is perhaps confronting and certainly polluting but trivial in its impact compared to, say, drunken violence, robbery or rape?

    But even if they did have the person charged (which happens) they might well be making an informed judgement that charges would be worthwhile against a person who would actually be deterred by them, but not otherwise.

    In the late 1990s I was involved in an incident in which some white people harassed me using their car. While I was walking along a long road late at night, they repeatedly drove back and forth and each time they approached me (this happened about five times) they would pull the car over and drive it along the edge of the curb very close to where I was walking. I took their numberplate and called police and found it to be uphill work to even convince the police that the harassers were doing anything illegal, let alone worth doing anything about.

    I recall coverage at one stage of a police habit in certain towns of getting Aboriginal people the "ham, cheese and tomato" - arresting them for being drunk and disorderly, then they resist arrest and assault the police officer (or alternatively swear at the police officer). Bad-apple cops in Hobart in the bad old days used to troll the streets asking alternative-looking passers-by if they were alright for no valid reason, apparently in the hope that the person they were baiting would swear so they could lay charges.

    I greatly prefer police turning a blind eye to crimes that are pretty much victimless, to that sort of thing.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster road runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    Question for everyone:

    1) I see a drunk person using stairs of flinders street station as toilet. 2) I bring it to attention of a policeman who is nearby...3) the policeman does nothing

    If they person performing this ''act of spiritual relief at the place belonging to his ancestors' is not Indigenous the policeman would:

    a) still do nothing despite seeing it with his own eyes
    b) Come forward and issue a fine (Saw it happening to someone near a pub once)
    c)) Come and give a warning
    d) tell me that he can see it..and he is ''keeping an eye on their behavior so I should not worry as everything is under control''
    This tale is getting taller with each telling! So you spoke to the police now did you?
    meep meep

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner View Post
    This tale is getting taller with each telling! So you spoke to the police now did you?
    I always do. ''Homeless'' people harassing by-passers - I reported several times. That incident was easy to ''report'' as police where there and could see it, so I simply pointed out to them that I was ''concerned''
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    There are many questions I would have about this. Firstly, was the offender known to the policeman? The policeman may have been aware, or had reason to believe, that the offender would not be able to pay a fine. As such, charging the offender would have had no benefit other than wasting state resources and increasing the chance of pointless imprisonment.

    Secondly, what else was the policeman doing at the time? Did he have responsibilities that were more important than chasing after someone for public urination, an act which is perhaps confronting and certainly polluting but trivial in its impact compared to, say, drunken violence, robbery or rape?

    But even if they did have the person charged (which happens) they might well be making an informed judgement that charges would be worthwhile against a person who would actually be deterred by them, but not otherwise.

    In the late 1990s I was involved in an incident in which some white people harassed me using their car. While I was walking along a long road late at night, they repeatedly drove back and forth and each time they approached me (this happened about five times) they would pull the car over and drive it along the edge of the curb very close to where I was walking. I took their numberplate and called police and found it to be uphill work to even convince the police that the harassers were doing anything illegal, let alone worth doing anything about.

    I recall coverage at one stage of a police habit in certain towns of getting Aboriginal people the "ham, cheese and tomato" - arresting them for being drunk and disorderly, then they resist arrest and assault the police officer (or alternatively swear at the police officer). Bad-apple cops in Hobart in the bad old days used to troll the streets asking alternative-looking passers-by if they were alright for no valid reason, apparently in the hope that the person they were baiting would swear so they could lay charges.

    I greatly prefer police turning a blind eye to crimes that are pretty much victimless, to that sort of thing.
    1) I expect police to interfere in ALL of the cases considered (including the one where you were harassed)
    2) If he has no money to pay fine...where did he get money to buy alcohol?
    3) If they (hypothetically) were considering financial well-being of the offender..why did not they simply make an effort to approach him and talk to him at least?
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  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    1) I expect police to interfere in ALL of the cases considered (including the one where you were harassed)
    Do you expect police to also charge everyone who they see jaywalking, for example? Even when there is no car in sight?

    (By the way that case with the car was not typical of Tassie police at the time. Pleased to report they were a great help to me when I was attacked by a stranger who later became a kind of pet stalker.)

    2) If he has no money to pay fine...where did he get money to buy alcohol?
    Fines for public urination can be much higher than you might expect. I just did a search for "fines for public urination" and the first hit I got was a guy in Melbourne who was fined $489 in 2012, the equivalent of at least 163 litres of goon. That's ignoring any other costs incurred in the process.

    3) If they (hypothetically) were considering financial well-being of the offender..why did not they simply make an effort to approach him and talk to him at least?
    They may have figured there was no point in doing so or they may have simply had more important tasks to perform. Given they could see the situation, as you mentioned, it's a fair chance they were familiar with the offender.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 28-05-2017 at 09:26 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Do you expect police to also charge everyone who they see jaywalking, for example? Even when there is no car in sight?

    (By the way that case with the car was not typical of Tassie police at the time. Pleased to report they were a great help to me when I was attacked by a stranger who later became a kind of pet stalker.)



    Fines for public urination can be much higher than you might expect. I just did a search for "fines for public urination" and the first hit I got was a guy in Melbourne who was fined $489 in 2012, the equivalent of at least 163 litres of goon. That's ignoring any other costs incurred in the process.



    They may have figured there was no point in doing so or they may have simply had more important tasks to perform. Given they could see the situation, as you mentioned, it's a fair chance they were familiar with the offender.
    1) I expect police to charge all of the offenders irrespective of the background. If his actions are illegal (and I believe they are) why should he be spared?
    2) Are you suggesting that if the fine is ''too much money'' it should not be issued? but for others, who can afford to pay, it should?
    3) If we assume they are familiar with the offender, shouldn't they be more motivated to make him behave.

    And my initial question was: ''would they respond in the same way if he was not Indigenous or not?''
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  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    1) I expect police to charge all of the offenders irrespective of the background. If his actions are illegal (and I believe they are) why should he be spared?
    Because it may not be in the public interest to charge him. There are frequently cases where police use their discretion to not pursue charges or fines although they could in theory be pursued. Cautioning people for trivial breaches is common.

    2) Are you suggesting that if the fine is ''too much money'' it should not be issued? but for others, who can afford to pay, it should?
    In terms of deterrence, I suspect sliding-scale penalties that took the victim's financial situation into effect would actually be more effective. Flat fines mean that the same penalty is trivial and has no deterrent effect for a person who is rich but very serious for a person who is struggling. However, administering a sliding-scale scheme would be extremely difficult, so I'm not suggesting that. But I am suggesting that laying charges in some cases is pointless. If the offender is unable to pay what do you do then? Put them in jail at more taxpayer expense for urinating in public? What does this achieve for anyone?

    And my initial question was: ''would they respond in the same way if he was not Indigenous or not?''
    Who knows? We don't have anywhere near enough detail of your story to say whether there was any racial motive whatsoever. I have given an example involving police failing to pursue a white offender and there are abundant examples of bad cops who have singled out black offenders. If the odd person from one of the most comparatively disadvantaged and over-imprisoned peoples in the world gets let off then I for one could not care less. I'd rather save my concern for something that matters, like people who assault others or steal from them.

  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Because it may not be in the public interest to charge him. There are frequently cases where police use their discretion to not pursue charges or fines although they could in theory be pursued.
    But a decade ago, a judge didn't jail a group of aboriginal men who gang-raped an aboriginal 10yo girl. I fail to see how this is in the best interest of that poor girl. And that's a problem with lenience to aboriginal criminals—it abandons their victims who are often aboriginal as well.

    The same sort of problem arises in the USA. If cops are too worried to patrol black communities because Black Thugs Matter is targeting cops or because they fear trumped-up prosecutions (e.g. Ferguson, Baltimore), the number of black victims of black criminals increases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Cautioning people for trivial breaches is common.
    I don't mind that too much. Victimless crime should be an oxymoron.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    I don't mind that too much. Victimless crime should be an oxymoron.
    So you're okay with cautioning people for speeding?

  11. #11
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    I remember that rape case discussed 10 years ago..and some people standing up for the criminals who avoided prison sentences giving reasons why they do not belong in prison...was truly shocking!
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  12. #12
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Oh dear another thread to exorcise Michael's middle-class angst. Good luck.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  13. #13
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Exactly. A decade ago. An aberrant case in which according to a legally expert poster on this forum the prosecution behaved rather oddly. Has the same thing happened since?

    And that's a problem with lenience to aboriginal criminals—it abandons their victims who are often aboriginal as well.
    Yes, well, in this case mentioned by Michael, apparently the victim was a flight of stairs on a railway station. I'm fairly sure it wasn't aboriginal.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron
    I remember that rape case discussed 10 years ago..and some people standing up for the criminals who avoided prison sentences giving reasons why they do not belong in prison...was truly shocking!
    Nobody on this forum did so, at least not in the first few pages of the thread. Here's the thread: http://www.chesschat.org/showthread....ary-Aborigines
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 29-05-2017 at 03:39 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Exactly. A decade ago. An aberrant case in which according to a legally expert poster on this forum the prosecution behaved rather oddly. Has the same thing happened since?



    Yes, well, in this case mentioned by Michael, apparently the victim was a flight of stairs on a railway station. I'm fairly sure it wasn't aboriginal.



    Nobody on this forum did so, at least not in the first few pages of the thread. Here's the thread: http://www.chesschat.org/showthread....ary-Aborigines
    I was not referring to this forum.
    Btw, many indigenous people claim that they are ''uncomfortable'' in prison (like if others are comfortable) and I can still read some statements requesting alternative punishment/treatment for those Indigenous offenders who commit same crimes as others who belong in prison...
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  15. #15
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    So you're okay with cautioning people for speeding?
    Yes, if it is not reckless. Speeding in a school zone is reckless. Going 120 km/h on a wide straight highway in good weather is not reckless.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

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