Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Cop grinch steals Christmas: Dad

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A Hawke's Bay family say they are shocked with the treatment they received from police after an officer allegedly smashed their windscreen with his torch at a drink-drive checkpoint.

Police said the incident on Thursday night last week on Taradale Rd was being investigated.

The officer involved in the incident was still working.

The Orchard family of Onekawa, who did not want their first names used, contacted Hawke's Bay Today with concerns about what happened and the way it was being handled by police.

Mr Orchard said he, his partner and 12-year-old stepdaughter were going to McDonald's when they arrived at a drink-drive checkpoint and were waved through the line of officers.

"There were three cops in a line on our side of the road and the first guy waved us through, so we drove on slowly, and the second guy didn't do anything, and the third one had his back turned, so I just thought we were meant to keep driving," he said.

"But next minute he turned around, yelled 'stop', and hit his torch on the front window, which smashed."

The officer then directed them to pull over, Mr Orchard said.

"He told us, quite rudely, to go and pull over behind the booze bus and was like, 'why didn't you stop?'

"I told him we were waved through, but he kept saying, 'you're supposed to stop'.

"I have been through enough checkpoints in my lifetime to know if I have been waved through or not."

Mr Orchard's stepdaughter had become frightened and upset, he said.

"The police didn't even make sure she was okay, and didn't say sorry or anything.

"He [the officer] just said, 'don't worry, your insurance would cover [the damage]'."

The windscreen was so badly damaged that shards of glass were falling out and Mr Orchard said he could barely see through it to drive.

"It was the whole driver's side and I could hardly see anything but he just said, 'you'll be right to drive home'."

Mr Orchard said the vehicle was the family's only means of transport and it was now out of action until repairs were carried out this afternoon.

"This is our one and only ride, and it is ruining our Christmas," he said.

"We can't go anywhere or do anything until it is fixed.

"I have family in Hastings and was supposed to pick up my other three children from their mother's on Sunday night so I could spend Christmas Eve with them, and now I can't even pick them up."

Police spokeswoman Kris McGehan said an investigation was launched on Friday, and that would determine whether the family would be compensated for the damage.

"All we can say at the moment is we are investigating," Ms McGehan said.

"[Compensation] is yet to be decided, so we will be talking to the family, staff involved in the incident and other witnesses."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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