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Complaint of excessive force outside a Hamilton nightclub

5 May 2016

An Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found that Police were justified in using force to arrest a man outside a Hamilton nightclub.

At 2.45am on 17 April 2015, Police used force to arrest the man for disorderly behaviour and to put him inside the Police van. During the man’s transportation to Hamilton Police station, the officers realised his hand was jammed between the van door and a seat. They took him straight to Waikato Hospital where he had surgery for his injuries.

The man complained to the Authority that officers hit him on his cheek and stomach during his arrest, used excessive force when taking him to the van and caused his hand injury when putting him in the van. He also complained that an officer made an offensive comment to him a few weeks after the incident.

In releasing today’s report, the Authority found that:

· the officers did not use excessive force when arresting the man, however the tactic used by one officer to control him was not an approved tactic and should not have been used;

· Police did not use excessive force when taking the man to the Police van;

· Police accidently injured Mr X’s hand when they put him into the Police van; and

· the officer did not act in a professional manner when talking to the man a few weeks after the incident.

Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said “this was a difficult situation, in which Police had to load an intoxicated and uncooperative prisoner into a Police van. Unfortunately, he lost his balance as the rear door was being closed and, unknown to the officers, his hand was crushed. The officers could not reasonably have foreseen this occurring, and acted swiftly to get him medical attention.”

Since the incident, Police have reviewed the use, suitability and safety of this type of Police prisoner transport van. The review concluded that the vehicle is operational and fit for purpose.

Public Report

Complaint of excessive force during arrest in Hamilton (PDF 543 KB)

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