The police officer who shot dead an innocent bystander during a shootout on Auckland's northwestern motorway is considering meeting the victim's mother.
Halatau Naitoko, a 17-year-old father and courier driver, was killed by a member of the Armed Offenders Squad as officers tried to apprehend gunman Stephen McDonald on January 23, 2009.
After the release of an Independent Police Complaints Authority report criticising police conduct during the incident, Mr Naitoko's mother made a tearful plea to the officer who fired the fatal shot, who she knows only as A84.
"Officer 84, I really want to know your name,'' said Ivoni Fuimaono.
"I don't want to know you as a number. I wish you could have some time to come out and meet me so we could sit down and talk, please.''
Ms Fuimaono said she was not angry with the officer. She had written to them two years ago but did not receive a reply.
"[A meeting] would be very important to me. I gave birth to Halatau. Officer A 84 took his life.''
Speaking in the living room of her Papatoetoe home and surrounded by photos of her son, Ms Fuimaono held up the letter which ends: "We can share the tears and nightmares that no one else understands. I can show you that I hold no hate or anger for you as a person and as an officer looking after me.''
Police spokesman Grant Ogilvie said the letter was passed on but it was up to the officer to respond.
"We can't force them to do that.''
The officer's lawyer Todd Simmonds said his client politely declined to meet with Ms Fuimaono after receiving the letter two years ago.
"Now that the IPCA report has been released, the issue of a possible meeting with Ms Fuimaono is something that will be considered.''
The report comes three years after the shooting. Among multiple recommendations is a call for AOS weapons training to be reviewed.
After reading most of the report, Ms Fuimaono said some of her questions about the last moments of her son's life had been answered - but not all.
"It was very difficult to read it. I would read two pages at a time, go for a walk, I went for a coffee, go for a break and then come back and read it again.''
The mother of 11 said she knew police had made changes since the incident but there had not been justice for her son.
"I don't think I will be able to rest until justice is served.''
The lawyer who represents her family, Colin Pidgeon QC, said the report is critical of the police as an organisation and legal action will be brought under the NZ Bill of Rights Act.
Mr Pidgeon said the police had not been sued for shooting anyone but had been sued successfully for other matters and ordered to pay damages.
He said the amount of compensation that would be sought had not been decided and the matter was likely to be heard next year.
The IPCA report criticised police for lacking "effective command and control'' and concluded Mr Naitoko's death was the "tragic outcome of a rare combination of events''.
The authority concluded that Officer 84 and their colleague Officer 81 were "justified'' in shooting at McDonald, but ruled their aim was "not accurate or safe, as demonstrated by the outcomes''.
The report said the officers' actions were reasonable in the "high-stress circumstances'' and praised them for going into a dangerous situation without concern for their personal safety.
Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham said police "deeply and sincerely'' regretted Mr Naitoko's death and had already changed protocol.
Officer 84 also shot and wounded another driver, Richard Stephen Neville.
Mr Neville's lawyer Nick Taylor said although the IPCA had talked of writing an "intricate and complex'' report on the shooting, they failed to interview his client.
"He was right there. He remembers it really well and yet he wasn't spoken to.''
Mr Taylor said he would bring a private criminal prosecution against Officer 84 on behalf of his client.
McDonald was convicted and sentenced in September, 2009, to 13 years in jail after he admitted 23 charges, including firing at police, possessing a firearm, aggravated robbery and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.