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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation of use of force at family harm incident and treatment in Police Custody

27 June 2019

In August 2018 a man complained about the actions of Police Officers during and after his arrest at his home south of Dunedin for a family harm incident.

The complaint involved allegations that:

  • the Police had used excessive force and fractured his ribs;
  • his dog had been pepper sprayed;
  • the Police had threatened to shoot his dog and had waved a gun at him;
  • he had been refused access to a doctor and lawyer in the Custody Unit.

Police conducted an investigation into the allegations under the oversight and review of the Authority.

The investigation found that the officers were justified in pepper spraying the dog because it was advancing on Police in a threatening manner. The Authority agrees with this outcome. In relation to all other aspects of the complaint, there was a conflict between the complainant's version of events and the accounts provided by the relevant officers, and no independent evidence was available. The allegations were therefore unable to be substantiated. The Authority also agrees with this outcome.

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