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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Officer not justified in tasering a man fleeing Police in Parnell

17 October 2019


The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer's use of a Taser on a man who was fleeing Police in Auckland on 15 June 2018 was neither lawful nor reasonable.

The incident occurred when Police sent two officers to check on the welfare of the man's children, after he had sought Police advice about his domestic situation earlier that day. The officers discovered the man had an outstanding 'warrant to arrest' for non-payment of fines. However, the man asked them not to arrest him, explaining that he was needed at home to administer his son's cancer medication every morning and evening.

The man took the officers into his apartment and showed them the medication, at which point his partner and children arrived home. His partner was very upset that Police were there, and subsequently one of the officers decided to arrest the man, partly so that he and his partner would be separated for the night to "cool off".

The man decided to flee from the officers to avoid being arrested. He jumped over the apartment balcony's railing onto the concrete about four metres below, and broke his ankle as he landed. Unaware that the man had broken his ankle, the arresting officer fired his Taser at him twice. The first firing missed but the second connected.

The Authority determined that the officer had no lawful justification for using the Taser to carry out the arrest or prevent the man's escape.

"The Authority is not satisfied that the officer fired the Taser to defend himself or others, because the man had just run away from the officers and his partner, removing any imminent threat the officer believed he posed to them. Nor did the man pose an immediate danger to anyone else after he jumped from the balcony. Additionally, the officer was not justified in using the Taser to prevent the man's escape" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

The Authority also found that, although the officer had legal justification for arresting the man, it was not necessary in the circumstances. If the officers were concerned about leaving the man and his partner together, they could have further explored the availability of other options for separating them which enabled the man to provide his son with the medication he needed on schedule.

Public Report

Use of a Taser on a man fleeing Police in Parnell (PDF 386 KB)


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