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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Excessive force used during public disorder in Huntly

27 June 2019

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer used excessive force during an arrest in Huntly.

At about midnight on Friday 17 November 2017, two officers were patrolling the Huntly West area when they came across a house party on Semple Street which had spilled out onto the road. They called for assistance from Huntly and Hamilton staff.

The officers dispersed the crowd of approximately 50 people, who swore, shouted abuse, and threw glass bottles at them. The group reduced to 10 people who subsequently ran down an alleyway to escape Police. The officers chased after them and made three arrests.

An officer later said that he saw his colleagues use excessive force during one of the arrests. The Authority found that one of the officers involved had used knee strikes during the arrest, which was unjustified in the circumstances. The Authority also determined that this officer made concerning comments about his actions during the incident to a colleague, including a comment to the effect that "it's about time some of these kids got what they deserved."

At approximately 1.30am, four officers returned to Semple Street, where they saw another crowd gathering. As Police approached, the group dispersed, apart from two men and a woman. One of the men was holding a screwdriver.

An officer drew his baton and struck the man in the torso. The Authority accepted that the officer believed the man could have caused significant harm and found that he was justified in striking the man in defence of himself and his colleagues.

Authority General Manager, Warren Young, said: "This incident came to light through a complaint by an attending officer. The Authority commends the officer for raising his concerns about the actions and comments of his colleagues."

Public Report

Police use of force during public disorder in Huntly (PDF 510 KB)

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