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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Man injured by officer punching him during arrest

2 October

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into the force used by an officer during an arrest in Canterbury District in August 2018. Police notified the Authority of the incident because the man who was arrested suffered a facial injury and damage to his teeth as a result of the officer punching him several times in the face. The officer had reported that he had his handcuffs in his hand at the time, and said he struck the man in self-defence when he believed the man was about to assault him.

The man involved declined to provide his account of the incident.

Police found that the officer had his handcuffs in his right hand in preparation for handcuffing the man, who was actively resisting arrest. The officer was working alone and was aware that the man had a history of violent behaviour. The situation then escalated quickly, with the man becoming aggressive, pulling away from the officer, and trying to punch him. In response, the officer struck the man several times in the face using his right hand, after which the man complied and was handcuffed.

Police concluded that the force used by the officer in striking the man was justified and proportionate in the circumstances and because the threat to the officer was sudden and immediate he did not have time to put the handcuffs down before doing so. No action was taken against the officer.

The Authority's final review of the Police investigation agreed with the finding and the outcome.

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