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Home / Outcomes / 2022 Summaries of Police Investigations

Officer used excessive force when trying to restrain man in custody

7 November 2022

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into an allegation a custody sergeant in Canterbury pepper sprayed and repeatedly punched a man in the head. The officer noticed the man removing and tearing his shirt. This and other information led the officer to believe there was an imminent risk the man would attempt suicide, so he and other staff entered the man’s cell to try and move him to an observation cell.
 
He said he thought the man’s behaviour was threatening, so decided to use the spray and then punch the detained person.

Police decided there was insufficient evidence to charge the officer with assault after he claimed to have acted in self-defence.

However, an employment investigation found the officer’s use of force was excessive and unjustified. Police reached an employment outcome with the officer.

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