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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Allegation of assault following arrest in Napier

19 March 2020

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that there is insufficient evidence to support an allegation that a Police officer punched a woman in the face after her arrest on 14 April 2019. However, facial injuries the woman sustained were likely caused when the officer restrained her in the back of a Police car after she assaulted him by kicking him in the face.

The woman had been arrested after crashing her car and then refusing to accompany Police to undergo an evidential breath or blood test. She lashed out at the officers during her arrest and after they put her into their Police car to transport her to custody. She later complained that the officer who sat in the back of the Police car with her used excessive force by strangling her and punching her in the face, causing a broken nose and black eyes.

The Authority was unable to determine whether the officer punched the woman because of conflicting accounts given by each of them and inconclusive medical evidence.

"When restrained in a police car following her arrest, the woman took off her seatbelt and kicked the officer in the face after he took his attention off her to make a phone call. The officer said he acted in self-defence by pushing the woman backwards and pinning her against the inside of the car door, restraining her head against the window. The Authority found that this was a justified and proportionate use of force in these circumstances" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report
Allegation of assault following arrest in Napier (PDF 365 KB)

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