Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Still the obvious question

Another week, another IPCA report finding excessive and unjustified use of force by police:

An officer who "leg swept" an alleged Ashburton drunk driver during an arrest used excessive force, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found.

IPCA chairman Judge Colin Doherty said kicking the handcuffed man's feet out from under him was neither justified nor in self defence.


The officer told the authority he feared for his safety so he leg-swept the handcuffed man off his feet, causing him to land face first on the ground.

On the way down, the man hit his face on a wall heater, making his face bleed heavily.

"The officer did not act in accordance with the law and police policy when dealing with Mr X in that the force he used against Mr X in the charge room was not in self-defence and was unjustified," Doherty said.

The authority said a delay in seeking medical attention for the man was also unacceptable.

If you or I did this, we'd be prosecuted for assault. This police officer at least faced an employment investigation, after which they were reinstated (assaulting prisoners apparently not being considered serious by police). But the police have not prosecuted him, and nor do they seem likely to.

If the law is to mean anything, it must apply to police as well as citizens. If it doesn't, we're quite entitled to regard police as simply a self-serving gang with fancier uniforms.