Bashed officer used excessive force - relative

Perry Griffin. Photo / File photo
Perry Griffin. Photo / File photo

A relative of a man accused of bashing Kawhia police officer Perry Griffin says the Waikato constable used excessive force against his alleged attacker.

The relative has also produced cellphone video footage which they say contradicts the police version of events.

Constable Griffin, who is the sole charge officer in the coastal town, is recuperating with family after he was disarmed of his OC spray and Taser and beaten by five men on Friday evening at the Kawhia wharf while trying to arrest a 19-year-old man.

Police said the Kawhia Fire Service were called to help and a number of locals assisted the officer, who suffered severe bruising and grazes in the attack.

However a relative of the 19-year-old accused, Jackie Maikuku, told the Waikato Times the officer used unnecessary force trying to arrest him.

According to Fairfax Media, Mr Maikuku was wanted on charges of driving while disqualified, breaching supervision, reckless driving, failing to stop, failure to answer court bail, and breach of community work, when he was spotted drinking with mates on Kawhia wharf by the off-duty Mr Griffin.

The relative, who is facing charges in relation to the attack, told the Times that while volunteer firefighters were told to keep back 50 metres as Mr Griffin attempted to arrest Mr Maikuku, footage shows a firefighter standing close behind the officer.

This was as Mr Griffin appeared to reach for his pistol, which was lost in the assault. It was later handed in to the fire service. At another stage Mr Griffin also allegedly pulled the pistol and aimed it at Mr Maikuku.

It was also claimed Mr Griffin emptied two canisters of pepper spray into Mr Maikuku's face, which the relative said was unprovoked. After regaining his sight, Mr Maikuku is then said to have chased the officer and tackled him. He was then tasered by Mr Griffin, before the constable was allegedly attacked from behind.

Western Waikato area commander Inspector Paul Carpenter told the Waikato Times he could not say whether the fire service was called as back-up before or during the attempted arrest of Mr Maikuku.

Mr Carpenter had not seen the images given to the Times, but said pepper spray was used to try control the offender, as was the stun gun.

"The Taser was used because he was aggressive and he was resisting and obstructing and it was just used to try and pacify the situation in the best method that was available," Mr Carpenter told the paper.

Meanwhile, a meeting will be held in Kawhia tonight to discuss the attack.

Otorohonga Mayor Dale Williams said locals were distraught, upset and embarrassed about the situation.

He said there has only ever been one officer in Kawhia, which is unlikely to change, so the community felt responsible.

"Responding to back-up calls is always going to be a challenge and I guess the community is asking what can we do, and that includes the council obviously, what can we do to better support you in the future?"

Mr Williams said most small towns only had one police officer.

He said it was frustrating when one or two troublemakers gave a town a bad name and the meeting would give locals a chance to say how the majority felt.

"The bigger question for Kawhia and for us as a council is to talk about what sort of Kawhia do we want people to know us as and how do we as a community better support those professionals who work in that community."

- nzherald.co.nz

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