The man was being arrested for a breach of his bail conditions when he started swinging his arms at Police officers. He punched one officer in the head with such force that the officer was thrown across the footpath and into the side of a van. Another officer tried to subdue the man with two blasts of pepper spray, but these had no effect. A third officer then fired a Taser at the man, which failed to incapacitate him, so he was tasered again.
The second Taser discharge took the man to the ground. The officers, the most experienced of whom had two and a half years' service with Police at the time, were unsure if they could touch the man after he had been tasered. A delay in handcuffing the man allowed him to regain movement. He became aggressive again, causing the second officer to discharge her taser a third time to stop the man from kicking her colleague.
The acting sergeant in charge of the officers was new to a supervisory role. He acknowledged that his lack of experience meant he did not communicate well with the officers or give them adequate instruction during the arrest. Auckland City District Police took responsibility for deploying such a junior team, stating that at the time they had a large number of frontline staff with limited experience. They have since reviewed higher duties assignments and deployment practices to ensure adequate experience on frontline sections, and greater support for acting supervisors. The officers involved in the arrest were given additional training on restraining a person after a Taser has been used.
Judge Colin Doherty, Authority Chair, said:
"The nature of frontline policing is that incidents must be dealt with as they arise. Whether responsibility sits with the District for deploying an insufficiently experienced team, or with the officer in charge at the time, the fact remains that Mr X was subjected to force at a level which might have been avoided."