The Taipei City Police Department yesterday said that it would appeal a ruling passed down by the Taipei District Court on Wednesday that ordered it to compensate then-legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) and 13 other protesters who stormed the Executive Yuan in the 2014 Sunflower movement a total of NT$1.11 million (US$36,439).
At a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) asked Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and department Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) whether the ruling would be appealed.
Ko said that he would mull over the issue after the city government receives the ruling.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
The incident is political in nature and should be handled through political means rather than through legal channels, he said.
If the department does not appeal, the issue could evolve into one that involves state compensation, and by then police who evicted the protesters during the occupation of the Executive Yuan could be held accountable, which would not be fair to them, he added.
The department’s stance on the issue is to appeal, Ko said, adding that he would deliberate whether the issue could be resolved “politically.”
During questioning later by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chang Mao-nan (張茂楠), Ko said that it should be clarified who gave the order to forcibly evict the protesters.
“The National Police Agency oversaw the operation. It could not have been the Taipei City Police Department. Just sue the higher-ups,” Ko said.
Chen later said that the department would appeal the ruling to protect the rights of police officers.
Even though Ko was reserved in his response to Wang, the mayor has always stood with Taipei police, Chen added.
Separately yesterday, the KMT legislative caucus protested and expressed regret over the ruling, urging the department to appeal.
The ruling has negatively affected police morale and ignored the principles followed by law enforcement of protecting law-abiding people, cracking down on illegal activities and quelling violence, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Arthur Chen (陳宜民) said, adding that the presiding judge apparently adjudicated the case based solely on protesters’ testimony, without putting the eviction into context.
“There have been no photographs or video footage of officers attacking civilians,” Chen added.
After the DPP returned to power in the 2016 presidential election, then-premier Lin Chuan (林全) quickly dropped all charges the former KMT administration had pressed against protesters who stormed the Executive Yuan, as they “had helped the DPP win the election,” KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.
He questioned whether the court had issued a political ruling at the expense of the legitimacy of law enforcement.
The department must appeal the ruling, otherwise it could leave police at a loss as to how to enforce the law, Lai said.
KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said that police would have been in dereliction of duty had they not evicted the protesters.
She accused the DPP of applying a double standard, as it last year also adopted a heavy-handed approach when it sent police to evict pension reform protesters from the Legislative Yuan.
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