The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police were justified in using a range of tactics, including Tasers, to arrest a man who was trying to escape in Inglewood on 21 May 2020. The man complained to the Authority about the level of force used during his arrest.
The man was regarded by Police as one of its top five priority violent offenders and was wanted for recall for prison. Police had been searching for the man for eight months and he had fled from them several times during that period.
Acting on information that the man was in the area, six Police officers including a dog handler surrounded a house in Inglewood. Police knocked on the door, and the man jumped out a window and tried to get to a car parked in the driveway.
The man moved towards one officer aggressively, and the officer fired his Taser twice as the man reached a narrow gap between the car and fence. The man ripped out the Taser probes and tried to open the car door, keys in hand, then fell onto his back.
Officers tried to control the man while he kicked out and resisted violently. The man was tasered a third time, pepper sprayed and physically restrained by four officers before he was brought sufficiently under control to transport to the Police station. Even then, the man attempted to open the door of the moving Police car during transport to escape.
We found that the use of significant force was justified to prevent Mr X from escaping custody. He is powerful and muscular, and fought against Police for approximately three minutes before being restrained. He was wanted for serious offences and had successfully evaded Police several times already, placing the public and Police at risk during these attempts. He posed an ongoing risk while he remained at large.
The man complained that he was kicked in the head four times by Police. We reviewed footage of the arrest and found an officer put his foot on the man’s shoulder and neck while he was on the ground to restrain him. This was a reasonable option in the specific circumstances. There is no evidence of a deliberate kick.
Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, says, “The force used during this arrest was considerable and prolonged. However, it was necessary and proportionate in the face of the man’s strong and increasing resistance, his determination to escape, and the serious consequences if he was successful. In particular, video footage of the arrest satisfies me that the man presented a considerable challenge to the arresting officers, and that all force used was justified.”
Force used to arrest man in Inglewood justified (PDF 400 KB)