The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the use of force during an arrest in Palmerston North was justified in the circumstances, which we believe were out of the ordinary.
On 20 January 2020 two officers saw a man driving without a seatbelt on Featherston Street, Palmerston North. Before they could signal him to stop, he pulled into a nearby driveway. The officers pulled into the driveway behind him.
While speaking to the man, the officers discovered he was wanted for arrest for breach of bail and told him he was under arrest. He ran away from the officers into a garden area, where one of the officers tackled him. The officers say that he resisted arrest and a struggle ensued, during which one officer and the man threw punches at each other, the man eye gouged one of the officers, he was tasered four times, and hit in the leg with a baton. The man denies resisting arrest and says the officers assaulted him.
Eventually backup arrived and the man was handcuffed and taken to a Police car. After the arrest, cannabis and methamphetamine utensils were located in his car. He was charged with assault, assault with intent to injure, possession of cannabis, and possession of utensils.
"On its face, the force used by the officers appears excessive. However, given the degree and length of the struggle put up by the offender, we consider this situation was out of the ordinary. We believe the use of force was justified and the level of it proportionate to the risk the man posed, and the resistance he was putting up" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.