Press Release – Amicus Barristers Chambers
Ms Naiju Li, a 56 years old retired civil engineer and accomplished university lecturer had what was meant to be a wonderful visit with her niece shattered by police brutality.Visit to niece ends with police brutality
Ms Naiju Li, a 56 years old retired civil engineer and accomplished university lecturer had what was meant to be a wonderful visit with her niece shattered by police brutality.
Ms Naiju Li, a 56 years old retired civil engineer and university lecturer from China came to New Zealand to visit her niece in Hamilton. She has had what was meant to be a wonderful visit to New Zealand shattered by police brutality.
On Wednesday 1st of February 2012 Ms Li went to Countdown Hamilton. She parked her car in the Countdown car park and when she returned her car was gone. Naturally, Ms Li went back to Countdown and tried to get help from the staff. Not able to speak any English, she was given body gestures that her car might have been towed away by the towing company.
Spotting a tow truck in the car park, she went to see if the driver could take her to her car. She attempted to explain her situation to the driver and tried to sit in the passenger’s seat of the tow truck as a means of explanation; however, due to the language barrier, the driver misunderstood and instead called the police.
A total of 4 police officers arrived at the scene. After speaking to the tow truck operator, the officers gestured to Ms Li to move away from the tow truck and she obeyed. However, believing that the officers would help her, Ms Li then tried to explain her situation to them through hand gestures. The police officers however did not understand her and they gestured to her that she must move away from the police car. Ms Li followed their instructions and feeling exhausted from her ordeal began to walk back to Countdown to find somewhere to sit down.
In what was described as similar to a “rugby tackle”, the officers then jumped on Ms Li from behind, twisting her arms behind her back and forcing her to the ground. The officers then shoved Ms Li’s face into the jagged car park and twisted her arms further in order to handcuff her. Instantly Ms Li felt excruciating pain in her right arm and face and cried out in agony.
Ms Li feeling faint from the pain was then yanked to her feet and shoved into the backseat of the police car. During the trip back to the Hamilton police station, Ms Li was groaning with pain, and tried to get the attention of the officer beside her by using her leg and indicating that her right elbow was extremely sore. The officer did not help her, but rather laughed at her and mimicked her groans of pain. It wasn’t until they arrived at the Police station and after the handcuffs were removed that Ms Li was finally able to point her obviously deformed right elbow and was then taken by an ambulance to Waikato Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Upon examination, it was discovered that Ms Li had a dislocated right elbow, which took three attempts to reset and a laceration to her left cheek which required stitches.
A friend showed up in the hospital and was told by the same police officers that Ms Li was “biting and assaulting police officers which was the reason for her arrest, and that she would later be charged by the police and prosecuted in court.”
Ms Li was severely traumatised by the whole ordeal. When asked to comment about the police’s allegation of assault, with tears in her eyes she said “This is very much untrue. I went to see police to seek help and I was the one being assaulted by the police. I thought police in this country work for the people and they were meant to be friendly to foreigners”
It is understood that next to the Countdown supermarket there are a few Chinese supermarkets and a transportation centre, where there would have been at least one Chinese speaking person who the police could have asked to act as an interpreter and helped to resolve the situation, but rather than look for a Chinese speaking person to help Ms Li the police decided to “rugby tackle” the 56 year old woman from behind, causing her substantial injuries.
Mr Richard Zhao of Amicus Barristers, the family’s lawyer, was utterly shocked by the event and described this as a monstrous miscarriage of justice. Mr Zhao is currently assisting Ms Li to lodge a police complaint and possibly a complaint to be made to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.