12 Feb 2013

No formal police apology made to injured schoolgirl

4:21 pm on 12 February 2013

Police say they have not formally apologised to a girl injured by an officer during a party and any suggestion of an apology is speculative.

The family of 15-year-old Ella Eketone says she lost two front teeth and suffered other injuries when she was knocked to the ground by the officer at a party in the Auckland suburb of Howick on Saturday night.

Police said about 35 officers attempted to clear the birthday party in Wellington Street of about 150 people after reports of overcrowding and drunk people passed out on the grass.

Miss Eketone's mother, Nicola Healey, says the officer who interviewed her daughter has apologised and told her the incident was not how police had wanted the clear-out to occur.

However, police spokesperson Inspector Jackie Whittaker says no formal apology has been made because an internal investigation is taking place which will determine whether police were at fault.

Nicola Healey told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday she accepts the party attracted too many people and that her daughter had been drinking, but says Ella and her friends had moved away from any trouble when police appeared.

Ms Healey said she wanted police to help pay the medical costs of fixing Ella's teeth and to review how they clear parties and deal with teenagers.

A separate investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority has begun.

The authority said 174 complaints about physical force by police officers were investigated during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Nine were upheld. In all, 219 complaints were received.