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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation of excessive force during arrest in Hamilton

8 April 2021

The Authority oversaw Police investigations into an allegation an officer used excessive force while arresting a man, following an alleged family harm incident at an address in Hamilton.

The officer was asked to assist colleagues with a non-compliant and aggressive man. The officer placed the man in a headlock and lowered him to a nearby couch when the man approached him in a threatening manner. Other officers attempted to apply handcuffs as the man gradually worked his way free of the headlock. Fearing that he was in a vulnerable position (in front of and beneath the man) and believing that he was going to be hit, the officer pre-emptively punched the man in the head, no more than three times, above the left eye. The man immediately became compliant and was handcuffed.

The man sustained a cut above his left eye as a result of being punched and was taken to hospital following his arrest. No other injuries were observed, and the man was discharged into Police custody after being treated.

Police undertook criminal and employment investigations into the officer's conduct and determined that his actions were reasonable and proportionate. The Authority agrees with this outcome.

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