Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) which found that officers used excessive force during an arrest of a man in Whangarei.
On 26 May, 2019, Police were called to an address following a report that two brothers were fighting and their mother was unable to physically stop them.
Two officers arrived at the property and saw a man sitting on the deck of the house and yelling at another male. The man then began to approach the other male leading one of the officers to place himself between the pair, while appealing to the man to calm down to prevent any further physical altercation.
The man has then pushed the officer with two hands. The officer warned the man for assaulting Police, however the man pushed the officer again.
The man was told he was under arrest and while the officer was attempting to handcuff the man, he swung his arms around and tackled the officer, pushing him into a van.
The man then pushed the second officer out of the way and ran down the driveway.
The second officer deployed her taser, which missed the man. He stopped running and was ordered to lie on the ground, which he did.
The man was pepper-sprayed by one of the officers before he was handcuffed and taken back to the Whangarei Police station.
The IPCA has found the use of the taser and pepper spray were unjustified and that their use amounted to excessive force. It also found that one of the officers used inappropriate language during the arrest.
Acting Northland District Commander Inspector Riki Whiu says Police accept the findings of the IPCA’s report.
“This was a situation where Police were called to a domestic disturbance where emotions were running high and Police were firstly looking to resolve the incident by calming those involved.
“While it is not acceptable that the man at the address assaulted Police in the first instance, the actions of the officers in this incident fell short of the standards of professionalism, respect and integrity we expect from our staff.
“There are lessons for us as a result of this incident that we will learn from so we can improve and do better in future.
“We take complaints around the conduct of our staff seriously and Police carried out an investigation into this incident, which determined that an excessive use of force was applied.”
The officers involved were subject to an employment process. As part of the restorative practice process, the officers met with the man to resolve the matter and Police apologised to the man.
“The officers were also spoken with and supported around their tactical options decision-making process.
“I am confident the officers involved have learned from this incident and will make better tactical decisions in future when dealing with volatile situations,” says Inspector Whiu.
Nick Baker/NZ Police