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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Use of force during arrest at Wairoa Police Station

17 March 2020


The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer used appropriate force when arresting a man at Wairoa Police Station on 21 January 2019 and taking him into custody, until the point that the officer used his leg to flip the man onto the concrete floor in a cell.

The man had been arrested for using offensive language in the Police station's reception, and he later complained that the officer had become aggressive and used excessive force when taking him through a hallway and into the cell.

The Authority found that the officer was justified in using his leg to take the man to the ground in the hallway after the man began thrashing around and yelling abuse. The officer was also justified in using his fist to hold the man's head against the floor when he believed the man was about to spit at him. The man had complained that the officer turned his fist and drove his knuckles into his cheek to cause him pain; however, the Authority found insufficient evidence to determine whether that occurred.

When they got to a cell, the man was still resisting; the officer used his leg to flip the man onto the concrete floor before he exited the cell. The man complained that this caused him to hit his head on the cell wall and floor. The Authority found that this use of force was unnecessary and that it was likely that the man did hit his head since he was still handcuffed and unable to put his arms out to break his fall.

"The officer could have pushed the man into the cell without the need to flip him onto the concrete floor using his leg in the process, and should have done so" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report

Police use of force during arrest at Wairoa Police Station (PDF 443 KB)


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