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Carotid hold was “excessive force” during arrest of violent man in Tawa

News from IPCA
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a police officer’s use of a ‘carotid hold’ while arresting a man in Tawa was disproportionate to the resistance being offered and amounted to excessive force.

A ‘carotid hold’ involves squeezing the sides of a person’s neck, temporarily cutting off blood flow to the person’s brain and causing him or her to lose consciousness for a short time. Police have removed the carotid hold from their approved tactical options because it is considered to be a high risk technique.

This incident occurred on 10 May 2016, when a woman called 111 to report that her partner had assaulted her. An officer arrived and told the man he was under arrest. When the man turned to flee, the officer used pepper spray but it had no effect. The officer chased the man and, in response to the man resisting arrest, punched him about the face and body and used the carotid hold manoeuvre.

On 28 October 2016, the man complained to the Authority that the officer had repeatedly punched him and “choked him out” until he lost consciousness. He also complained that three other officers punched him multiple times in the backseat of a Police car.

The Authority found that the officer was justified in arresting the man and using pepper spray against him. The Authority also determined that the officer’s decision to punch the man at the time of arrest was proportionate and justified.

However, the officer’s use of the carotid hold was not justified in the circumstances.

“Given the risks associated with the carotid hold, which the officer knew or ought to have known about, the Authority does not consider that the officer was justified in using it since the man’s behaviour did not pose a threat of grievous bodily harm or death” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Additionally, the Authority found that Police did not use excessive force against the man in the backseat of the Police car, and that Police provided the man with appropriate medical attention following the arrest.
Public Report

Excessive force during arrest in Tawa (PDF, 464 kb)

News from NZ Police
Police have noted the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) findings regarding the arrest of a violent man in Tawa last year. The incident occurred on 10 May 2016, when a woman called 111 to report that her partner had assaulted her.

The offender was a 36-year-old man of solid build and a Mongrel Mob associate who has convictions for violence.

A single-crewed officer arrived and told the man he was under arrest, at which point he turned to flee. The officer deployed pepper spray, which had no effect.

The officer chased the man and on catching up with him, the man further resisted by throwing a number of punches at the officer. A struggle ensued which required the officer to utilise a number of options to overcome the violence offered.

When all other options were not enabling the officer to effect the arrest, and the officer perceived a threat was still present, a carotid hold was used. This enabled the arrest to be effected and removed the threat to the officer.

“Our staff regularly have to deal with aggressive members of the public and are forced to make split-second decisions under pressure to protect both themselves and the community,” says Wellington District Commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle.

“In this situation the officer was by himself and faced a physical confrontation with a man who was wanted to arrest for violent offences and was physically resisting arrest.

“The officer responded based on his assessment of the threat posed to himself and others at that moment. This was after other tactical options, including communication and OC spray, had been ineffective in de-escalating the situation.”

The IPCA found Police provided the man with appropriate medical attention following the arrest.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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