The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police used excessive force when they arrested a man, who had earlier run from a suspicious car that contained a rifle, after it was stopped in Hastings on 18 January 2021.
A Police dog handler tracked the man, who was contained in a fenced-off area, in a construction site. During his arrest, the man was pepper sprayed twice. Several officers lifted a section of the fence from its footing to arrest the man, who began to lie face down on the ground.
Three officers entered the fenced-off area. The first officer who entered through the fence, ran at, and jumped onto the man’s back, pinning him to the ground with his knee. The man held his arms underneath his body, preventing the officer from handcuffing him. The officer punched him several times to get him to release his arms.
The man sustained serious injuries including a punctured right lung, fractured ribs, a fractured neck vertebrate, and a cut on his scalp.
We deem that there were enough officers present to deal with the resistance the man offered to his arrest; in addition, the low likelihood of the perceived risk meant that the level of force used by the officer was ultimately unreasonable.
“We accept Officer A thought Mr X might have had a concealed weapon on him. However, in this case, we find the risk of that was low, and not imminent. The officer caused significant injuries, and the degree of force employed was disproportionate to the risk Mr X posed by his actions in kneeling or lying down,” says Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.
Use of force in Hastings not justified (PDF 416 KB)