Police Profiling Plagues Africans in New Zealand, Reinforces that Black People Are Globally Affected

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AUT's Camille Nakhid
AUT’s Camille Nakhid

After a recent researcher’s survey of migrants, some African immigrants in New Zealand have been affected by racist overtones in policing.

Black people in the nation have allegedly been called n*****s, been beaten by police and were told to go back to their country during encounters with cops.

According to the New Zealand Herald,  Auckland University of Technology researcher Dr. Camille Nakhid posted two questionnaires on Survey Monkey last April and advertised them to young Africans through Facebook and other media. The main survey drew 84 respondents, of whom 31 percent had been stopped by police and 3.6 percent had been arrested. This was a small sample size, but it still reveals that African-Kiwis are being harassed by police.

The sample also reinforces the country’s small African population in comparison to other nations. As reported from the 2013 census, only 13,464 people of African ethnicity were counted, and that total number breaks down into subgroups: 1,617 Somalis, 1,245 Ethiopians and 243 Eritreans, who all came there mainly as refugees.

In one incident, Aisha Eli-Boyce, a young African-Kiwi woman, talked with the New Zealand Herald about her run-in with a police officer.

She said that she and her four friends were stopped for no apparent reason. The officer said they were doing a routine traffic stop. The driver and passengers assumed everything would turn out fine, but things took a turn for the worse. The police officer dragged the driver out of the car and threw him on the bumper. The driver was forced into handcuffs and passengers had to walk to the police station.

Her full story is below:

In response, the police department released a statement saying that African-Kiwis are not committing the majority of the crimes and that cops are committed to good policing.

A spokeswoman said only 12 out of 5,000 (0.2 percent) of the police database of youths ages 14 to 16 identified as African, less than their 0.3 percent share of the national population ages 15 to 29, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“Valuing diversity is now one of the core values of the NZ Police, and we have a responsibility to encourage and grow the cultural competencies of our staff and actively recruit from all communities,” she said.

The case mentioned above is reminiscent of many police brutality incidents in the U.S., including Sandra Bland and Samuel Dubose.

Bland, 28, was headed from Illinois to Texas for a job interview when she was pulled over near Houston by officer Brian Encinia for an illegal lane change. After the incident, Bland was arrested and found dead in her jail cell. Her death was ruled a suicide, but family members suspected foul play.

Dubose was an unarmed Cincinnati, Ohio man murdered by University of Cincinnati police. Bodycam footage showed that the officer involved — Ray Tensing — tried to cover up details about the incident.

The case in New Zealand did not end in death, but if the spokesperson is right about the small number of crimes committed by Africans, extreme use of force is not warranted.

Researcher Nakhid said she interviewed African youth who were too afraid to complain or didn’t know how to. Many feared their treatment could be worse.

“Of course they’re fearful,” Nakhid said. “One of the youth had said to me they wanted to complain about their treatment and the youth was laughed at by police.”

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