An Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation has found a police officer who repeatedly punched and threatened a man following a 2018 Auckland arrest used 'excessive force’.
It also commended the officer’s colleague who reported their behaviour.
On 24 August 2018, Police were called to reports of an intoxicated man on the street in central Auckland who was behaving in a disorderly way.
The officer in question went to arrest the man, but the man punched him in the face. A struggle followed involving four police officers and the man was arrested.
Following the man’s arrest the IPCA said the police officer continued to interact with him innapropriately, threatening and punching him repeatedly on multiple occasions before arriving at the Auckland Custody Unit.
Once they arrived to the unit, the officer in question punched the man several more times, took him out of the van and pushed his head into a concrete block wall, and punched him again.
The IPCA said it was satisfied that each alleged act of violence took place and found that the officer used excessive force as retribution for the man having punched him during the arrest.
The officer’s colleague reported their actions which saw police carry out a criminal investigation in which the officer was charged with four common assaults and threatening to kill.
Judge Colin Doherty, authority chair said gratuitous violence like this “on the part of anyone, let alone a police officer, is never acceptable”.
“I acknowledge the swift police response to this incident.”
The officer was stood down awaiting trial, then pleaded guilty to two amended charges of common assault and resigned from the police force before sentencing in January 2020.
The police officer was discharged without conviction and ordered to pay reparation to the man who had been assaulted.