I’ve been in a bad mood for a few days now, over what I consider to be a totally unnecessary piece of harrassment that an activist friend of mine is currently enduring. Yes, I’ve ranted before about unjust behaviour from the Police, but this time I am truly on the warpath.
My friend’s name is Billy McKee, he lives in Levin, a small town in the Horowhenua about an hour north of Wellington (depending on where you start, lol, or maybe an hour and a half!). He’s an amputee, on a low income, and suffers a lot of pain. He wears a metal prosthetic leg when he’s out and about, but has a wheelchair around home. He’s come down from the Horowhenua to join in Green events many times, most recently we stood together on Parliament grounds on Budget Day to protest the cuts that were to be announced that afternoon, waving a big Green Party banner on the Seddon memorial in the front of the steps.
He’s also the President of an organisation called Greencross NZ, a local branch of the international Green Cross organisation. He lobbies, with other members, to gain legislation to allow medpot, a form of cannabis which is legal, available on prescription, and pharmaceutically prepared in dose limited quantities. This is available to medical cannabis users overseas, and is a compassionate and side-effect free way of managing pain and nausea for many terminal conditions, as well as for chronic pain conditions suffered by many who have had back injuries or head injuries.
Billy was arrested by Police from the Horowhenua CIB last Friday, 8th July, and was taken into custody in his wheelchair. He has been trying to arrange legal aid so that he can be bailed, but in the meantime has had his computer taken by the Police, and earlier today they asked the webhoster to shut down the Green Cross website.
There are concerned members of Green Cross all over the country, along with NORML members and Green members from Horowhenua and elsewhere, trying to find out what state Billy is in, whether his medical needs are being met, and trying to understand why arresting a pensioner with disabilities is the best the CIB can do with their resources.
Here’s a clip about medical cannabis (featuring Billy speaking):
And here’s where you can read current Green policy on medical cannabis on the Green’s website.
This arrest of a man who is solely concerned with harm reduction and compassionate use of medical marijuana is sufficient to make me feel very annoyed with the next Police force member I come in contact with.
It’s been an ongoing joke amongst my activist friends that I need restraint to stop me from kicking a policeman. This time I may just get around to doing that.
I’m sure they won’t mind manhandling a nearly-pensionable disabled lady, either, as they arrest me. I’ve seen them assault people before and then charge the assaulted protester with assaulting a policeman, so my opinion of those who police political activists is pretty low.
Billy has commented below that he has made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority. They are contactable at 0800 503 728.
Another supporter on a different website has posted information which may be used to tell the Police how much you think this arrest stinks, so I’m going to quote it verbatim:
Here are the contact details of the officer in charge of Billy’s home invasion. If anyone would like to share some feedback with him
O/C Horowhenua CIB
DDI: 06 366 0522
Cell Phone: 027 276 4341
Some people aren’t comfortable with direct complaint to the Police.
There’s also the option of complaining to the Minister of Police or the Minister of Justice. That’s a freepost letter to ‘The Hon (MP name), Parliament Buildings, Wellington’, or you can e-mail them – all addresses are held on the http://www.parliament.nz website. Current MP’s details are here.
Or you can contact your local MP and say that as a constituent, you think this behaviour by our law enforcement officers stinks.