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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Misuse of social media - racist slurs

In November 2017 a Police officer posted a series of comments on her private Facebook page. The posts described her interaction with a member of the public and included:

  • racist name calling
  • mocking the person's speech pattern
  • comparing the person to a chimpanzee and
  • a comment that the person should be deported.

A senior Police officer viewed the posts and ordered the officer to remove them immediately. The senior officer took screenshots and reported the posts to the officer's supervisor.

Police conducted an investigation which the Authority oversaw and reviewed.

The Police investigation decided that the posts could be criminal under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015.

However, because the person was not identified and did not know about the posts, Police could not prosecute the officer. There was no threat to the person's safety.

Police also carried out an employment investigation and the officer was sanctioned.

The Authority agreed with the Police investigation outcomes, noting that the Facebook posts were identifiably racist and discriminatory in nature.

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