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Port Moresby
June 5, 2020
News

Police Chase: Elderly Woman Killed In Hit And Run

by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online

A photo posted on Facebook this morning of an elderly woman lying dead on the road, her body twisted disproportionately and accompanied by her distraught young son, drew an outraged response from Papua New Guinean citizens.

EM TV acquired witness accounts of the incident which occurred yesterday afternoon.
 
The elderly lady, originally from Goilala district, was a known presence around the area, usually selling soft drinks and sometimes betel nut opposite the back gate of the PNG Power office in Hohola.
 
At around 4:30pm yesterday, four policemen arrived and ordered two women, who were friends of the victim, into the vehicle before proceeding to order the victim into the vehicle as well.
 
Intimidated by the arrests of her friends, the elderly woman then walked towards the main highway, heading towards Cheshire Home across the street.
 
Rather than following on foot, the policemen drove after her and in a moment of confusion and fear, the old woman crossed the street without looking and was hit by a high-speed vehicle.
 
Upon seeing the hit and run incident, the police, who were still in pursuit, promptly fled the scene without assisting the old lady or pursuing the vehicle that had just hit and killed her.
    
In a March 2014 press statement on preliminary findings from his official visit to PNG, Christof Heynes, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, addressed use of force by police in PNG.
 
“The police is widely perceived as prone to use of high levels of unwarranted force. Several reasons were encountered. These range from their own poor working and living conditions; the fact that they are understaffed; they have to assert themselves in a violent environment; the wantok system where they protect their own; corruption…
 
“It seems to be a widespread perception among the police that human rights and the police are opposing sides, instead of an understanding that the function of the police is to protect human rights.”
 
Hit-and-run incidents and excessive use of violence during arrests are not uncommon in PNG.
 
Intimidation and corruption from law enforcers has driven levels of unchecked violence and incidences similar to yesterday’s events to unprecedented levels.
 
Officers from St John Ambulance arrived afterwards and took the deceased lady’s body to the morgue.
 
The incident is a clear case of police brutality, which encompasses acts of false arrests, verbal abuse and psychological intimidation in accordance with The Law Dictionary.

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