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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation of excessive force used during arrest

2 September 2019

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an alleged use of excessive force by a Police officer in the Waitemata District.

While attempting to assist colleagues to arrest a man, the officer, still clutching his torch, punched the man in the face at least six or seven times. This resulted in the man sustaining a broken nose, bruising to his face, a concussion and ongoing physical, cognitive and psychological effects.

Police carried out a criminal investigation and concluded that the use of force was justified in the circumstances and that no employment investigation was necessary.

The Authority oversaw the Police investigation and completed its independent review. The Authority disagreed with the Police conclusion. It determined that when the punching occurred, the man was restrained on the ground by three officers, in a headlock and unable to defend himself. The Authority therefore concluded that the force used by the officer during the arrest was not justified and was an excessive use of force.

The Authority recommends employment proceedings against the officer be commenced and an appropriate sanction imposed.

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