Wellington Scoop

Fatal police shooting of man in Mana “lawful and proportionate”

News release from IPCA
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer’s action in firing once at Christopher Brown in Porirua on 26 February 2017 was lawful and proportionate in the circumstances.

Police were called to a house in Waikanae at about 11pm because Mr Brown, in a suicidal state, had violently assaulted his ex-partner and damaged her home. Police were told that Mr Brown had left the address in her vehicle, armed with a large knife. When Police arrived at the address, they were further told that Mr Brown had an air rifle with him.

Police started to search for Mr Brown. Due to the weapons he was thought to be carrying, his agitated state, and his history of violence towards Police, several officers chose to arm themselves while actively searching for him.

Just after 12:20am, Mr Brown was seen by an officer driving on State Highway 1 north of Porirua. This officer started to discretely follow Mr Brown. A second officer also started to follow Mr Brown. At Mana, Mr Brown turned off State Highway 1 into a service lane. After a short pursuit, Mr Brown’s vehicle collided with a building, and the two officers stopped their Police cars close behind to block him in.

Mr Brown immediately got out of his vehicle, holding a machete. He walked quickly and aggressively towards one of the officers, who had started to get out of his Police car. Mr Brown raised the machete as he advanced, and would not respond to the officer’s commands to drop the machete.

When Mr Brown was approximately one metre away from the seated officer, and close enough to strike him, the officer fired his Glock pistol once, hitting Mr Brown in his right shoulder. Mr Brown immediately fell to the ground.

The whole incident took only a few seconds.

Despite medical aid being given by Police and ambulance staff, Mr Brown died while being transported to Wellington Hospital.

Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, said: “I am satisfied that when he fired at Mr Brown, the officer concerned reasonably feared that Mr Brown’s concerted advance while wielding the machete, would result in either serious injury to him or his death and that the officer acted to defend himself.

“The speed and aggressive nature of Mr Brown’s attack severely restricted the options available to the officer to defend himself. Attempts to convince Mr Brown to drop the machete were unsuccessful. The officer’s action in firing at Mr Brown was proportionate to the imminent threat that Mr Brown posed.”

Press Release – New Zealand Police
Police acknowledge the findings released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority that the shooting of Christopher Brown in February 2017 was lawful and proportionate.

Christopher Brown was fatally shot by a Police officer in Mana around 12:30am on Sunday 26 February when he approached a police officer with a machete and failed to respond the officer’s commands to drop the weapon.

Believing Mr Brown posed immediate threat to himself and his colleague, the officer shot once at Mr Brown.

Mr Brown had earlier assaulted his ex-partner and damaged her house in Waikanae, before leaving the address in his vehicle, armed with a machete and slug gun.

A large Police search followed before a short pursuit located Mr Brown in Mana.

The IPCA has concluded that Police responded swiftly and appropriately to the developing situation, and the officer’s action in firing once at Mr Brown was lawful and proportionate in the circumstances.

As the Authority has noted, all reasonable assistance was provided to Mr Brown after he was shot, however he died on the way to hospital.

“The death of an individual is not the outcome that anyone wants,” says Wellington District Commander, Superintendent Sam Hoyle. “No Police officer wants to have to use lethal force however police staff must act to keep themselves and communities safe and in this case the officer was faced with a violent individual who was armed and in an agitated state. This was a tough and traumatic incident for everyone involved. I commend my staff for acting professionally and appropriately throughout.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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1 comment:

  1. Steve Doole, 20. February 2018, 13:10

    Whitewash! again. ‘Legal and proportionate’ does not mean ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable’. This death appears entirely avoidable. Unfortunately evidence from witnesses seems lacking in the release, but why weren’t the officers better equipped? Taszer stun guns are an example. Rubber bullets perhaps.
    The Superintendent would achieve better outcomes if he equipped officers with non-lethal weapons. The failure of police management and whitewash statements undermine confidence. Excusing this killing as ‘professional’ to keep us safe is a shameful cop-out.