The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that two Police officers in Gisborne used reasonable force to arrest and restrain a man, after he assaulted an officer.
On 27 May 2022, Police were called to a party at an address, outside Gisborne, where two men were reportedly fighting. Upon Police’s arrival, there was no fighting, and both men were uninjured. The men and other party goers did not want to tell Police what had happened. The occupier of the property wanted one of the men to be removed.
The man agreed that Police should take him to his home address and walked with them to a patrol car. At the patrol car, the man walked on, and an officer stopped him to ask where he was going. The man grabbed hold of the officer’s body armour and pushed him against the patrol car. In response, the officer took the man to the ground.
The man resisted the arrest; kicking his legs, and an officer placed her foot on one of the man’s legs to restrain him. The man was lifted-up and it became apparent that he had sustained a leg injury. Police later released the man.
After his release, the man went to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fracture to his knee.
We found that the man was lawfully arrested for assaulting a Police officer, and that the officer was justified in taking the man to the ground in self-defence. We also found that the officer who placed her foot on the man’s leg, was justified in doing so, to overcome his resistance. Police looked at the man’s injury and he asked to leave with family members, saying he would take care of the injury himself. We found Police appropriately dealt with the injury.
The Authority Chair, Judge Kenneth Johnston KC, said: “This suggests to us, that the fracture to Mr X’s knee, was likely sustained when Officer B used a twisting motion in taking Mr X (still in a standing position) to the ground. The injury was thus an unforeseeable consequence of the force used. The manner in which Officer B took Mr X to the ground was not out of the ordinary, or on the face of it, dangerous. We conclude that the force Officer B used was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances as he believed them to be.”
Use of force on man in Gisborne justified (PDF 447 KB)