Cops justified in Tasering, pepper-spraying man during Geraldine arrest, watchdog finds

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has ruled in favour of police officers who used force in an arrest of a fleeing man in Geraldine.

Source: Breakfast

Police were justified in using pepper spray, Tasers and manual force, the Authority found.

On August 31 last year, a police officer saw a Holden pull out of an address in Geraldine which is known to be frequented by drug users.

The officer began a pursuit, but abandoned after 15 seconds due to the manner of the woman's driving.

A second officer attempted to stop the fleeing driver by blocking a single-lane bridge after hearing the incident on his radio. But the woman drove onto the bridge and crashed into the back of the police car.

The woman and a man who was a passenger got out and ran towards a member of the public's car. The man opened the door, punched the driver and attempted to pull him out of his car.

He wasn't able to pull him out though, so ran around and got into an unlocked police car. He was unable to escape since the officer had his keys so he locked himself inside, screamed continuously and kicked the car's interior. The man then released the handbrake and the car rolled backwards.

One of the officers broke the police car window with his baton and attempted to pepper spray the man. The two officers also fired their Tasers at him but none of these actions were successful.

The man got out and fled on foot. When the officers caught up he still resisted arrest so a member of the public helped restrain him.

"Despite repeated instructions to put the handbrake on and get out of the car, the man ignored the officers," the Authority said in a statement.

"Communication and the attempted use of pepper spray had no effect on his behaviour. He continued to be volatile with no apparent intention to comply with the officers' instructions.

"Having also assaulted a member of the public prior to getting in the police car, the officers were justified in firing their Tasers to effect the man's arrest."

The Authority also found the man received appropriate medical care following his arrest.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said the use of force by officers was always a last resort though.

"The man had endangered the lives of himself, his passenger, and other motorists on the road, due to the manner of his driving when attempting to escape police," Mr Price said of when the man rolled the police car backwards.

"The two officers attempting to arrest this man - who was suspected of drug-related offending - were confronted with extremely erratic and concerning behaviour that evening."