Family's windscreen smashed at police checkpoint

By Morgan Tait of Hawke's Bay Today -
A complaint against a police officer who allegedly smashed a motorist's windscreen with his torch is being investigated. Photo / Paul Taylor
A complaint against a police officer who allegedly smashed a motorist's windscreen with his torch is being investigated. Photo / Paul Taylor

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

Police said the incident on Thursday night last week on Taradale Rd was being investigated, and the officer involved 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 his partner and 12-year-old step-daughter were going to McDonald's when they came upon 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 young step-daughter became frightened and upset, he said.

"The police didn't even make sure she was OK, and didn't say sorry or anything. He just said 'don't worry your insurance would cover [the damage]'."

The windscreen was so badly damaged shards of glass were falling out and he could hardly see through it, Mr Orchard said.

"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 was now out of action until repairs were carried out on Monday afternoon.

"This is our one and only ride and it is ruining our Christmas. 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 yesterday , and that would determine whether the family were compensated for the damage.

"All we can say at the moment is we are investigating," she said. "[Compensation] is yet to be decided, so we will be talking to the family, staff involved in the incident and other witnesses."

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