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Police use of force during arrest in Ashburton unjustified

3 July 2018


The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police used excessive force following an arrest in Ashburton on Friday 21 July 2017.

At 9.19pm Police attended an incident involving a man who was reported to be behaving strangely and was believed to have crashed his car into a bollard. As the two officers approached the driver’s window they saw that the man in the driver’s seat had blood on his face. The man failed an alcohol breath test and was required to accompany the officers to the station.

The man refused to comply with Police so he was arrested and Police used force to extract him from the vehicle. The Authority found that the arrest was lawful.

At the Police station one of the officers moved the man to face a wall as he believed the man was threatening and intending to “smack” him or spit blood at him.

The officer said he feared for his personal safety so he leg-swept the man off his feet, causing him to land face first on the ground. On the way down, the man hit his face on a wall heater, causing him to bleed heavily from his face. The man was handcuffed behind his back at the time.

“The officer did not act in accordance with the law and Police policy when dealing with Mr X in that the force he used against Mr X in the charge room was not in self-defence and was unjustified” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

The Authority also found that there was a delay in seeking medical attention for the man which was unacceptable.

Public Report

Police use of force during arrest in Ashburton (PDF 493 KB)

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