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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Officer in Canterbury District justified in using force to defend himself

30 September 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation where a man said an officer punched him several times while he was handcuffed in the back of a police car and later shoved him into the ground causing abrasions to hide injuries sustained from the punch.

The investigation found that the man had a history of violence and attacked officers in the back of a patrol car when they transported him on a previous occasion. The man refused to be handcuffed, so the officers decided to take him to the ground to do so. The man resisted, causing himself and an officer to fall to the ground.

The investigation also found that while transporting the man, he bit an officer on the hand. The officer removed his hand and the man tried to bite his leg. The officer held the man's head with an open hand to keep him away. The man continued his attempts to get to the officer and the officer struck him with three short punches.

The investigation found that the decision to handcuff the man was appropriate and that it was appropriate for Police to take the man to the ground to restrain him. While resisting, he fell, resulting in the abrasions to his face. The investigation also found that the officer in the back of the Police car acted in self-defence.

The Authority agrees with the findings of the Police investigation.

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