22 Jun 2020

'It was straight into just smash me over' - arrested tagger

12:32 pm on 22 June 2020

Police say officers acted appropriately and professionally after complaints from a man restrained and arrested in central Auckland yesterday.

Images of the arrest were posted online.

A screengrab of the video posted to Twitter. Photo: screengrab / @kaylurrrkid

Nikau Andrews, 26, is in Auckland Hospital with bruises and lacerations waiting for the results of chest scans after the incident in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He claimed he was spear-tackled into a wall by officers.

A video on Twitter appears to show police kneeling on him during the arrest with bystanders protesting about the way police were acting.

Auckland district commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said the man violently resisted and the arrest required several officers, one of whom was slightly injured.

Nikau said when he was tagging the wall, which was on Hopetoun Street, a police car pulled over and officers charged him. He said he was nervous and went towards them instead of running away.

A screengrab from the video of the arrest posted to Twitter.

A screengrab from the video of the arrest posted to Twitter. Photo: Twitter/@kaylurrrkid

He said he weighed 65kg and would not be hard to hold down and he has no idea why the police have responded in that way.

"I got spear-tackled into the wall and they like used excessive force. No one said I was under arrest, no one said anything like that. It was straight into just smash me over."

"It's quite bizarre and I'm not resisting at all. I'm asking them questions like 'why you're trying to hurt me or why you're hitting me'," he said.

Nikau said he felt sore in his chest after being arrested and an initial request for medical assistance was dismissed and he asked again so he was taken to hospital.

"How was that right when I'm not using any force to begin with? Other people have said to me that it's because a cop got shot the other day but I'm not related to that in any way. That got nothing to do with me.

Malthus said she was not aware of Nikau's claim that he was tackled by the officers and the police were happy to speak to him regarding his concerns.

"The arresting officers struggled to apply handcuffs to the resisting man, and additional officers created a protective arc in order to allow them to complete the handcuffing action. Once handcuffed, the man continued to resist and had to be carried to the police vehicle.

"At the station, police called an ambulance so the man could be medically assessed as he was complaining of chest pains. He was taken to hospital for treatment," she said.

"Based on the information I have to hand, I am confident police acted in an appropriate and professional manner in a volatile and dynamic situation, and upon becoming aware, prioritised the man's medical treatment over keeping him in custody."

Malthus said it's important to note the video started part-way through the interaction and context should be taken into account.

Police said they had referred the arrest to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Nikau is due to appear at the Auckland District Court on 10 July on charges of wilful damage and resisting arrest.

Malthus said following several warnings during the incident, a second man was arrested from the crowd on a charge of obstruction of police and was later released with a warning.