The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the use of force to effect the arrest of a wanted offender in Auckland was justified and proportionate to the risk he posed.
A man, who was well known to Police, was wanted by Police for an aggravated robbery involving a firearm on 12 November 2019. On the afternoon of 25 November 2019 Police received information that the man was at a commercial address in Glendene, Auckland and that he was thought to be armed. Upon Police arrival at the address the man fled from a vehicle, into a two-storey building.
The Armed Offenders Squad and an Armed Response Team formed a cordon around the address and appealed for the man to leave the building. At the same time, the man called 111 and told the operator he was in an armed stand-off with Police. He said he had two firearms, a bullet proof vest, a hostage, and that he would not let go of the hostage until his demand for a car was met.
At one point the man climbed onto the roof of the building, where he consumed what Police believed to be the drug Gamma-Butyrolactone. Eventually he climbed down from the roof onto the ground. Three AOS officers approached the man, and he got into a prone position on the ground with his hands above his head. While he was on the ground, one of the officers struck the man twice, with his foot, to dislodge an object in his hand, before he was handcuffed and arrested. The first kick struck the man in the shoulder, the second appears to have struck him in the head. He alleged further force was used, however, the Authority found no evidence of this.
The man was provided with sufficient medical care following his arrest.
The Authority found that the officer who used the force should have submitted a Tactical Options Report in relation to that force. However, the Authority also found that
"The officer's initial kick was justified and necessary in order to effect the man's arrest. It was the only viable tactical option open to the officer to remove the object in the man's hand and to restrain him so he could be handcuffed. In the fast unfolding process of the arrest and based on what the man had said to Police, it was reasonable for the officer to have thought the man was holding a firearm.
We accept that the officer did not intend to connect with the man's head when he kicked him a second time and inadvertently did so as he attempted to kick him in the shoulder" said Authority chair, Judge Colin Doherty.