|Inspector Lane Todd, Southland Area Commander, NZ Police|
On 18 March 2012 Les Cooper of Greenhills, Invercargill, rang Police alleging that one of his neighbours, Corey Vreugdenhil had threatened him as he drove past Cooper on his tractor. The transcript of the phone call does not stand up to scrutiny, it's simply not credible that the words and gesture involved could have been distinguished at the distance, over the sound of the tractor's engine - the report states that Mr Vreugdenhil "said" the words, not 'shouted' or 'yelled' them, and pointing at a person is certainly not a criminal offence.
In October 2007 Mr Vreugdenhil made a complaint to Police after Mr Cooper chased him at high speed in a vehicle and ran him off the road, ramming Mr Vreugdenhil's vehicle three times, as Mr Vreugdenhil was dropping his young daughter off at the school bus at 8 in the morning. Apparently, local Police (Sgt Olaf Jensen) refused to press any charges against Mr Cooper, despite Mr Vreugdenhil making a formal complaint. In fact, the Police tactical report (link below) states that there were around 15 previous incidents between the pair which involved the Police.
This incident occurred days after the local body elections in 2007 in which Mr Vreugdenhil stood against Tim Shadbolt, whose involvement with Mr Vreugdenhil also warrants scrutiny. Mr Vreugdenhil was part of a group of farmers that battled the Invercargill Council for lower rates in 2009. The Council used exactly the same tactics as they used against me - misleading the group regarding the Council meetings instead of engaging in constructive dialogue to achieve a solution. It seems that many others shared Mr Vreugdenhil's concerns, protesting rates rises of around 400%.
Back to Mr Vreugdenhil. In 2011, someone deliberately vandalised a dam on Mr Vreugdenhil's farm, wasting about 250,000 litres of water. This reminds me of the sort of thing Ewen Macdonald and his mate Callum Boe got up to while Macdonald's wife and children slept. Again, police seem to have refused to investigate the matter and no charges were laid.
Following Mr Cooper's phone call to Police - for which it seems there is enough evidence to charge him with making a false complaint to Police, wasting Police time, perverting the course of justice, etc, local Police decided to launch a major operation and 'arrest' Mr Vreugdenhil - for some vague unspecified charge. I'm pretty sure that if Police arrest you, they have to tell you what exactly it is that you're under arrest FOR. This is even more or an insult to the intelligence when you read the Police tactical report, at the link in the next paragraph, in which Police allege that (as well as being "a very large statue") Mr Vreugdenhil "is very hard to reason with and explain to the reason for any Police procedures and actions that they undertake." (sic):
This report also demonstrates the lack of basic literacy evident among the NZ Police. Literacy is very important when it comes to Court and highly underrated by the NZ Police.
So Police armed themselves with guns and tasers and went to Mr Vreugdenhil's home, where he and his wife were quietly going about their lawful business, not causing any disturbance or offence to anyone, refused to tell him what he was 'under arrest' for, pepper sprayed him, handcuffed him, THEN punched him in the face while he had his hands handcuffed behind his back, and tasered him and held him in the cells overnight. It's unclear whether any formal charges were ever laid against Mr Vreugdenhil as a result of the incident, which seems to have been completely unjustified, and the result of a malicious and vexatious complaint.
Police alleged that Mr Vreugdenhil attempted to grab a Glock pistol from one of the officers, however the claim isn't credible when the documents are examined, it's clear that Mr Vreugdenhill was blinded by the pepper spray, was handcuffed, and that he "became compliant" when the taser was aimed at him - making it unnecessary to actually fire the taser - of course that didn't deter the Police from firing it. The tactical report makes it perfectly clear that the Keystone Cops were panicking, that they had a very poorly thought out plan, and acted like a bunch of amateur thugs. It's compelling evidence of the reasons why we should NOT routinely arm the NZ Police!
Mr Vreugdenhil's wife was present at the time and made a statement to Police, which is at this link.
The officers involved were Inspector Lane Todd - Southland Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Terry, Sergeant Ng, Constable Terry, and Constable Elder, among others. The $10,000 should come out of their severance pay - why should taxpayers have to fork out for this vicious thuggery!
This post will be updated shortly.