A dark cloud hangs over Auckland, New Zealand, as a gangrape scandal erupts in the city. But police incompetency is making it even worse.
Over the past few days, a scandal has erupted in the nation of New Zealand. A group of young men, calling themselves the Roast Busters, have been uncovered in the major city of Auckland preying on drunk, underage girl and gang-raping them, later bragging about their escapades on Facebook. They even named their victims online, slut-shaming them. The New Zealand Police have not formally charged any of the members of the Roast Busters gang, which has caused an outrage around the world. Instead, New Zealand Police have been making excuses on the matter, and are now threatening critics of the investigation: Today, a media blogger in New Zealand was threatened with arrest for parodying the police's incompetency of the matter. Such actions only allow this scandal to reach our shores, and shows police stupidity at its finest.
Martyn Bradbury, editor at The Daily Blog, posted an image of New Zealand Police performing an act similar to what the Roast Busters did to exemplify their handling of the scandal. It was posted in an article that revealed that the Police received 4 formal complaints against the Roast Busters, but they refused to move forward on the complaints, due to the victims' unwillingness to testify against the accused. This would be understandable, except their unwillingness was likely built around probing questions such as the clothes the victims were wearing at the time. Such questions give off the impression that they are being blamed for what they did, which is not necessarily true.
The New Zealand Police responded by threatening Martyn Bradbury with arrest, using a minor law that is used primarily for people impersonating police officers, not people parodying them. Bradbury was given the choice of either censoring the image, or face 6 months in prison and a NZ$5,000 ($4100) fine. The image was censored, likely because the cost of fighting the threat would be more than the actual fine itself.
Arguably, this is an abuse of police power. Rather than actually investigating the charges, the police seem intent on silencing critics. Why go after critics that point out what you need to do better? Also, this is also not the first time that the New Zealand Police have had problems with handling rape cases. The New Zealand government is now stepping into the Roast Busters case, ordering an investigation on the police's handling of the matter. Then again, if there is a common theme among the rape cases in the western world, it is not so much the fact that rapists are getting away with their crimes, but that police officers make it incredibly difficult for rape victims to actually report the crime. That is the larger scandal.
(Image Sources: Flickr: Sandy Austin, Simon Lieschke)