A Brisbane woman, angry with the VLAD Act, has started collecting documentation of harassment of motorcycle riders.
Catherine Bond says that in the 36 hours since setting up a Google website form to collect stories of harassment, she has several anecdotes of harassment that have made her “angry”. Click here for the form.
“I was one of the organisers of the Brisbane protest rally, and one theme that stood out for me when speaking with attendees, was that people felt they weren’t being taken seriously when they complained of harassment and intimidation by the police,” he says.
“The media usually ignores the verifiable examples or just spouts Newman’s tired line of ‘recreational riders have nothing to fear from these tough new anti-bikie laws’, or they downplay it as an ‘inconvenience’ that is for the betterment of society in the long run.
“People want to be able to share their stories and feel like they’re being heard, but there hasn’t previously been a forum for them to do so.”
Catherine is the Secretary for the Queensland Branch of the Liberal Democratic Party, but stresses that her documentation of harassment is being done as a private citizen.
She says all data can be anonymous, although all but one contributor has so far provided contact details so their story can be told.
“I note that you’ve been invited to the next sit-down with police, and I was hoping you might be willing to attend that meeting with some further details and anecdotes up your sleeve regarding the harassment that too many citizens have been experiencing since mid-October,” she says.
“I’m angry that police have been given additional powers to stop, search, identify and photograph people simply for their mode of transportation or the ink they carry on their skin.
“I’m angry that one poor bastard who lives down the road from a watch-house has been pulled over “countless” times since this all started, despite the fact that the police should definitely know who he is by now.
“I’m angry that one guy was searched without a warrant because he was carrying a large number of DVDs for his daughter to watch, and that his inked appearance made the police suspicious.
“I’m angry that families of incarcerated members or associates of MCs are scaling back their visitations because they’re humiliated by the prison supervisors and police dog squads who are waiting in the car park for them every time they visit their boys, and that not only are these people searched, but so are their vehicles.
“I’m angry that police feel so powerful and untouchable that they’re now doing ‘routine traffic stops’ in a man’s driveway and despite the stated randomness of the check, the police officer is very smug about all of the details he knows of the citizen being questioned.
“I’m angry that guys like Kevin Hill have lost all of the privileges they earned in prison for their good behaviour and are now being locked down for 23 hours a day, with no TV and the threat of no newspapers and limited mental health support.”
Catherine says that contact details provided on her website form will not be shared with any businesses, political parties or organisations “without the express consent of the contributors”.
“I am aware that some people are suspicious of my motives in organising this collection of data, and I can’t say I blame them for being wary of anyone who’s somehow related to politics, but I hope that you believe me when I say that I am only attempting to be the conduit between these citizens and the person or people who can given them a voice and a platform to be heard.
“I seek no publicity, as I have no intention of ever sitting for office and I don’t really like cameras and public speaking anyway. I’m just very passionate about civil liberties for all human beings, and I have the resources to contribute to the cause in my own small way.”
She says that if people are concerned their information will be misused, she is happy for them to pass over their stories to someone else, so long as their stories are published so the public can see the harassment for what it is.