Watching the scenes coming out of the US this week makes me sad and angry.
Watching a white cop press his knee into the neck of George Floyd , a helpless, possibly ill, black man for nearly nine minutes live on TV disgusts me to my white-privileged core.
I wore the blue of the police for nearly 23 years and in all that time I saw things that can never be unseen, did things that cannot be undone and had things done to me that I will carry to my grave.
With all that I was and still am very proud of being a cop in this fine land.
Watching a fellow, supposedly highly trained, law enforcement officer from a first world society do that to a prisoner on TV I realised the difference between a decent society with all its faults, slowly being acknowledged, and a society ruled by the gun, class, money and racial privilege.
Watching people looting and setting fire to buildings shows me the helplessness of whole communities.
Communities that are willing to torch their own towns in frustration at what they see as an uncaring and callous police system supported by an equally uncaring government, either state or federal.
New Zealand's history is riddled with injustice towards Māori, Chinese and, recently, other ethnic communities.
As a country, we like to show ourselves to the world as racially harmonious, but this is a thin veneer held in check only by the good hearts and long-suffering patience of many Māori together with a slow awakening of many Pākehā to this country's real history.
The New Zealand Police has been tarnished over the years in episodes either of its own making or the making of others.
The most awful example, just out of living memory, was the Rua Kenana affair in 1916 where an armed police expedition, headed by obdurate, class-ridden and racist ex-Irish Constabulary-trained Commissioner John Cullen, raided the home of Māori prophet Kenana and his followers in the Ureweras, killing two men in what many police present that day later described publicly as acts of murder.
The history of this shameful episode is now well-documented and lives as an example of the overwhelming power of the state against a persecuted and downtrodden minority who practised their own religion and who were successfully living an isolated existence but made the mistake of looking different.
This has been followed up of course by the overstayers debacle of the early 1970s - not of the police making but with police involvement - Bastion Pt; the Springbok Tour; and lastly that ill-fated expedition into the Ureweras in 2007.
Police as agents of the state were required to use coercive force in pursuit of the government policy of the day in all but the 2007 raids.
In that sad episode, police undertook an operation without the support of sound law, not their fault, but their role to enforce it.
The reasons for the raids were genuine but matters apparently got out of hand.
In all the above episodes, including the Kenana episode, many serving police walked away disgusted at what they were involved in.
Some walked away from promising careers.
Most tried to put it behind them and carried on serving their communities. Some had careers ended because they were outspoken in their criticism of the police hierarchy or the government of the day.
The cop charged with killing Floyd was not enacting the policy of his police department.
I believe he was enacting his own sense of racial superiority, power and brutality on a helpless man.
Film shows him forcefully kneeling on Floyd's neck, choking him to death, his left hand casually in his pocket and smiling. "Aren't I clever" he says with his eyes to the watching cameras and phones.
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The behaviour of the watching police allowing this to continue defies belief.
Under American law he could have been shot by fellow police to stop him killing Floyd, but their refusal to do anything shows their tacit approval of his actions.
Being America, members of the public dare not step in either, at risk of their own lives.
What crazy thinking.
The cop has been charged with second degree murder, whatever that is. Sounds more like a charge of neglect rather than intent.
The other three cops involved have also been charged with aiding and abetting manslaughter.
All four were fired.
The sad event will play out before a jury no doubt. We will all be hopeful of a conviction thoroughly deserved but a jury can be an awkward entity.
As I, thankfully, do not live in Minneapolis or in the state of Minnesota I cannot comment on the racial behaviours of that place.
Surely this cop's behaviour is as abhorrent to the good people of his state as it is to others from around the world.