Officer justified in restraining teenager on ground - IPCA

1:52 pm on 29 July 2021

The police watchdog has found an officer was justified in taking a 14-year-old boy to the ground while trying to arrest him, but says the technique used was inappropriate.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

When the teenager was arrested in 2020 for disorderly behaviour outside a bar in Tawa in Wellington, he resisted the officer who then used force to restrain him.

The boy was with his older brother outside the pub asking for cigarettes, and when the patrol car arrived, he kicked it.

The teenager claimed the officer used excessive force by throwing him headfirst into the ground, resulting in an injury to his face and knees.

He also complained the officer swore at him, did not offer medical care for his injuries and failed to properly inform his mother of the incident.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) found those claims were all unsubstantiated.

"The youth was resisting police during the arrest and that the officer was justified in taking him to the ground in order to safely restrain him.

"The movement to the ground was not as the youth described and was a controlled movement which did not result in the injury to his face."

The authority said the teenager continued to thrash around on the ground which was likely where he was injured.

"Although we agreed the officer was justified in using force to restrain the youth, we do not think the technique the officer used was appropriate."