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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Use of force on a 13 year old boy during arrest in Napier

20 February 2020


The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a 13-year-old was kicked to the head area during an arrest in Napier on 4 January 2019, and that this was an excessive use of force.

Shortly before midnight on Friday 4 January 2019, Police pursued a stolen Mazda in Napier for approximately 25 minutes, during which time they deployed road spikes to deflate the Mazda's tyres. The driver lost control of the Mazda and crashed into a boulder in the centre lane of Lee Road before coming to a stop at the intersection with Peddie Street.

The front passenger, a 13-year-old boy, got out and ran away. A Police officer chased after him and shouted at him to stop. The boy kept running, but then turned around and faced the officer. The boy had a hammer in his hand and the officer tasered him. The Authority is satisfied this was a reasonable and proportionate response to the threat the boy posed.

The boy was subsequently restrained by three Police officers, during which he felt kicks to the head. A civilian witness also saw the teenager being kicked in the head by one of the officers.

"The boy initially presented a threat to Police when he confronted one of the officers with the hammer. However, once he was restrained on the ground by three officers, that threat diminished. There was no reason to kick the boy in the head area and this was an excessive use of force. However, the Authority is unable to determine which of the two arresting officers administered the kicks," said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

The Authority also found that the boy's parents were not informed of his arrest sooner due to a misunderstanding between Napier Police and Hastings custody staff. However, while in Police custody he received appropriate medical care.

Public Report

Use of force on a 13 year old boy during arrest in Napier (PDF 430 KB)

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