James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Hamilton police deny claims of excessive force

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Waikato Police are refuting claims of misuse of force against a 56-year-old Chinese woman visiting from overseas who suffered a dislocated elbow and a cut to her left cheek.

District commander Superintendent Win van der Velde said the matter was before the courts but preliminary inquiries show the four officers involved acted appropriately.

"I can confirm four members of our community policing team attended a disorder incident at a city supermarket on February 1 where a 56-year-old Asian woman was involved in a dispute.''

Mr van der Velde said officers had tried to calm the highly-agitated woman and to find a person fluent in English and Chinese but both proved unsuccessful.

The woman tried to re-enter the supermarket but was refused entry by the manager and she was arrested.

"Resisting arrest, the woman is alleged to have tried to bite one of the officers at which time two of our staff took the woman to the ground to facilitate applying handcuffs.''

Police believe at this time the woman suffered a cut to her left cheek when her glasses made contact with the ground and her face.

A passing ambulance was flagged down and her injuries were treated.

The woman was eventually taken back to Hamilton central police station when it was noted she had suffered a dislocated elbow.

She was taken to Waikato Hospital to have her injuries attended.

Mr van der Velde said there were "significant discrepancies'' in the claims made by the woman and statements taken from officers and supermarket staff at the scene.

The woman has been charged with resisting arrest and disorderly behaviour and is yet to appear in court.

The matter is under internal investigation and has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

Mr van der Velde said his staff acted responsibly and appropriately at the time.

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