A witness to Thursday night’s stand-off between police and students at a Christchurch party says he hopes an officer loses his job and charges are laid after watching what he calls “heavy-handed” behaviour from police.
An investigation has been launched into a video showing a Christchurch police officer shoving a student to the ground after calling a young woman a "skank".
The video emerged after a party in the suburb of Ilam, near Canterbury University on Thursday night.
The altercation happened on Waimairi Road after a party attended by 200 young people spilled out into the street and police were called.
In a statement, police have confirmed a formal complaint has been received in relation to the actions of one police officer, and an investigation has now been launched to understand the circumstances that led to the video and the actions of the officer involved.
A witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, told 1 NEWS “he has no trust in the police” after describing harrowing scenes from the incident.
The man said he was driving through the area and noticed a large police presence. He said there were a couple of university students throwing bottles onto the road and “pushing over bins”.
He said it looked like a party was “spilling out onto the street”, but said the police presence “overwhelmed” the students.
The man said he was concerned by the “heavy-handed” actions of police that night.
He said most of the students that were asked to move on did.
But, even some of the street’s residents were caught up in the incident, copping “abuse” by police or threatened they would be arrested if they didn’t “move on” when they were just “standing at their gate”, he said.
The man said he was “shocked” when he saw an officer push a student to the ground.
“He walked away and then came back for seconds,” the man said of the police officer.
The witness said he was also threatened with arrest by police even though he wasn’t a part of the crowd.
“I was by myself, separated from basically everyone else. Trying to get back to my car, I was threatened that I’d be arrested if I didn’t leave the area."
He said police made the situation worse.
“It was kind of frightening because they had all the power and they weren’t being fair or reasonable.
“They were like, charging at people then arresting them for … for nothing.”
The witness said he hopes more formal complaints are laid over the incident. He said he’d like to see “an honest and open investigation from the police and the officer lose his job”.
“He shouldn’t be going around pushing people like that. He was leaving the group and then went back and obviously calling the young woman a skank or skanky or whatever the comment was.
“There’s just no need for it, we are in the 21st century,” he says.
The man says he wants his comments to be anonymous for fear of repercussions from the police. He says he doesn’t trust the police or have “any faith” in them.
Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander said in a statement to 1 NEWS: "This matter has been investigated by police Professional Conduct and referred to the IPCA [Independent Police Conduct Authority]. Police will continue to speak to those involved.
"NZ Police have high expectations of all our staff that they will exemplify police core values in every interaction with the public.
"Any allegation of police misconduct comes under exacting scrutiny and will be professionally investigated."