The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer used excessive force when he struck a man four times while trying to remove him from a patrol car in Waihi on 28 December 2019.
The man failed a roadside alcohol breath test so was required to accompany an officer to the patrol car for an evidential breath test. The man was argumentative so two other officers came to assist. The officers decided to take the man to the Waihi Police Station for the test due to his demeanour. Once in the patrol car, the man refused to get out again so officers could search him before he was transported.
While trying to remove the man from the car, one of the officers used unnecessary and disproportionate force, striking him at least four times.
“At the time the officer struck the man, both of his wrists were being held by officers, he was leaning away from them, and no weapon had been seen. He was not posing an immediate risk to the officers,” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty. The officer did not complete a report about his use of force, as is required.
Following this incident, the man received ongoing treatment for shoulder pain which was attributed to another of the officers attempting to pull him from the car. The Authority found the technique used by that officer was poorly executed.
This same officer also placed his knee on the man’s upper shoulder/neck area while he was restraining him on the ground. The Authority accepts this was unintentional. However, the officer then deliberately placed his knee on the side of the man’s head in an attempt to control him. This is not a restraint technique that should be used.