12 Nov 2015

IPCA complaint laid over Napier arrest

9:41 pm on 12 November 2015

A complaint has been laid against police over an arrest in Napier that was filmed and posted on the internet.

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The video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 80,000 times. Photo: FACEBOOK / screen grab

The video of the arrest in the carpark of a Napier KFC was posted on Facebook yesterday, and has been viewed more than 80,000 times.

It shows a man on the ground, with a police officer trying to restrain him.

It appears the officer then strikes him in the face, while three women, including one with a baby, stand close by.

The video can be seen here. WARNING: It contains offensive language

The police responded this morning with a statement saying the video did not give the full picture of the arrest.

The man, who was wanted on a warrant and had been forbidden to drive, was un-cooperative and refused to get out of his car, which was to be impounded.

"When he did, he became aggressive and resisted all attempts to handcuff him," the statement said.

"He struggled violently with police, who used pepper spray on him. The spray hit the man but also splashed back into the face of one officer, making him incapable of assisting any further."

Despite the pepper spray, the man continued to struggle violently and refused to be handcuffed, the statement said.

"His head was pushed to the ground by one officer in a bid to stop him struggling."

The man's mother, girlfriend and sister became involved, the police said, and refused to let them in the car to get the keys. "They became abusive and violent, and also resisted arrest."

All four involved had been arrested, and the man was due to appear in the Napier District Court on a number of charges.

The police said they were reviewing the incident as part of normal procedure but no staff had been stood down.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority said it had received a complaint about the arrest and it was assessing what response it would make.

It was not clear who made the complaint, and RNZ News had not been able to contact the woman who posted the video or other witnesses to the events.

Video shows 'decisive policing' - Police Association

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said such videos always looked bad as they took events out of context.

"This looks like a good, decisive piece of policing, the type of which happens after dark every night around New Zealand," he said.

"An officer dealing with a struggling individual, trying to cuff him and doing what is necessary to ensure that minimal injuries are caused to everyone involved."