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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Death while being detained by Police investigated

15 June 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation following notification that a man had died while being detained by Police in the Eastern District.

The man was arrested after he assaulted a Police officer and ran away. The officer chased after the man and discharged his Taser twice. The Taser did not connect with the man or incapacitate him in any way.

Officers located the man in a residential yard approximately 400 metres away. They arrested the man, placed him in handcuffs, and tried to put him in the back of a patrol car but he was out of breath and wanted to lie down in the car. Officers decided to request a Police van and they sat the man down on the ground while they waited for the van to arrive. Approximately 2 minutes later, one of the officers checked on the man, who was unresponsive. The officers administered CPR and immediately called for an ambulance. However, the man died at the scene.

Police carried out a critical incident investigation and completed a separate policy, practice, and procedure review. The investigation found that the man suffered a cardiac arrest which was attributed to drug toxicity in combination with physical exertion. Police found that the officers used minimal force during the arrest, which consisted of them placing the man in handcuffs and escorting him to the patrol car. The officers responded appropriately when finding that the man was unresponsive and started CPR as soon as practicable.

The Authority has reviewed the Police investigation and agrees with the conclusions reached. We are satisfied that the officers acted in accordance with their duties and responsibilities during the arrest.

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