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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

An officer used excessive force on two people in the Central District

10 May 2021

The Authority oversaw a Police investigation into two notifications received about an officer's use of force against two people on the same day.

One incident related to the officer pushing a man against a wall in a custody unit. The officer's colleagues were concerned about his conduct so reported it. The other incident occurred later that day while on patrol at a festival. While walking through the crowd, the officer heard a man swear at him, so he grabbed the man around the chest/neck area and moved him out of the crowd. The officer then handcuffed the man, who was then released with no further action. The officer's partner thought the force used was unnecessary and excessive so reported the matter.

Police conducted a criminal and employment investigation. The outcome of the criminal investigation was that no charge was considered appropriate in the first incident as the officer believed one of the other officers present was at risk from the man, so took what he thought was appropriate action to defend him.

While Police determined a charge of assault could be laid in regard to the second incident, the decision was made not to, as it was not considered to be in the public interest to do so, and the victim did not want the officer prosecuted. Police also acknowledged the man was unlawfully detained during this incident.

Both incidents were also dealt with through an employment process which resulted in a finding that the officer's conduct was a serious breach of Police policy. The officer received a sanction and undertook further training.

The Authority has reviewed the Police investigations and agrees with the outcomes

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