"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taipei prosecutors turn blind eye to police violence

... and place a thumb or two on the scales of justice

When people talk about "blind justice," I don't think this is what they mean:
No indictment over Nov. 4 fracas

VOLUNTARY: Prosecutors have concluded that a clerk at Sunrise Records turned down the music and pulled down the shutter during protests against Chen Yunlin


Prosecutors said they would not indict a police chief who was accused of forcibly closing a record store during protests surrounding the visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) last year.

Former Beitou Precinct chief Lee Han-ching (李卿), who was in charge when police closed the Sunrise Record store, had been accused of forcibly entering and conducting a search of the store without a warrant.

Chief Prosecutor Huang Mo-hsin (黃謀信) of the Taipei District Court said an investigation had established that a sales clerk at the store had voluntarily turned down the music and pulled down the shutter after being asked to do so by police.

Prosecutors quoted Lee as saying that he went into the record store to ask if the music was coming from there, not to search the place. A young clerk then turned the volume down and, when he saw the crowd and police shoving each other, began to close the store's front roller shutter.

Lee said someone yelled that he was about to be crushed under the gate, whereupon police officers tried to push the gate back up.
Contrasting with what prosecutors and police are claiming, in early November 2008, Sunrise Records issued a public statement saying that it was the police that wanted the door closed -- not the people working there.

Watching the above video, tell me if you can't plainly see the things that prosecutors apparently cannot (pay close attention around the 0:37 and 1:33 marks):

2:14 YouTube video: "Martial Law Resurrected?"

Note that Lee enters the store (0:37) with 3 or 4 other officers, that there are several more right outside the door, and that dozens more are outside on the sidewalk. (That's just counting the ones visible in this video.) After Lee and the other officers entered the store, can anything that happened inside really be considered "voluntary"? Recall Sunshine Records' statement on the matter.

Furthermore, what do you see at the 1:37 mark? The police are pulling the door down! Why can't the prosecutors see that?

And if Lee had to go into the store "to ask if the music was coming from there," he must have some serious sensory difficulties.

As Claudia Jean reminds readers, Lee was promoted -- and the promotion took place before the end of November 2008, when a so-called "investigation" would barely have had the chance to even get off the ground.

More video
Here's the same incident from a different angle:

8:44 BlipTV video: 上揚唱片行: 警察砸店
Translation: Sunrise Records: Police ransack store

In the above video, the police enter the store around 0:33, and the music continues until about 0:51 or so. Seconds later, the police are violently pushing people who were previously dancing and singing.

"Voluntary," my ass. This is pure police and prosecutorial arrogance!

UPDATE: The Monday, May 4, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times has an editorial cartoon which hits the nail on the head (pun intended) on this topic.[/update]

Maracas for the fracas: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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