A man moving towards the exit of the Hastings police station was removed from the building by force by police, who put an arm around his neck to restrain him.
An Independent Police Complaints Authority report has found police used “unjustified” force on the man, who was being released from custody at the time.
On January 23, 2020, a man was arrested for reckless driving in Hastings and taken to Hastings Police Station where he was uncooperative.
Agitated after his release from custody, the man verbally threatened the officers.
An officer used force to remove the man from the station saying he believed the man was going to assault either himself or one of his colleagues.
The man alleged that the officer choked him, which the officer denies. The allegation was unable to be substantiated.
But the IPCA said in a report released on Wednesday that CCTV footage shows that the officer initiated the physical confrontation.
“At the point in time when the force was used, the man was walking away from the officer and moving towards the exit door with his hands by his side holding his property.
“The Independent Police Conduct Authority does not accept that the officer used force for the purpose of defending himself or his colleagues.”
The Authority said rather the officer used pre-emptive force as opposed to a response to an immediate threat of harm.
“As such the use of force was excessive and not justified,” the Authority said.
Authority chair Judge Colin Doherty said the IPCA did not accept the officer genuinely believed he was about to be assaulted at the point in time when the force was used.
“He was not acting in self-defense, and his use of force was excessive and not justified,” he said.
Eastern District Commander Superintendent Jeanette Park said police acknowledged the use of force against the man was unjustified.
“We do acknowledge that the offender was restrained with an arm around his neck, which is no longer an approved tactical option,” Park said.
Police would identify any lessons to be learned, and whether there are any training opportunities for staff involved.
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