Protesters allege an Auckland man has been arrested using the same dangerous tactics that killed George Floyd in the United States.

Twenty-six-year-old Whangārei man Nikau Andrews earlier said he believed he could have died during a "racist" arrest by police.

Andrews' arrest was filmed and posted to social media by bystanders after police caught him tagging his name on a wall in Hopetoun St in inner Auckland's Freemans Bay just after midnight on June 22.

He has been charged with wilful damage (graffiti) and resisting police.

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Graffiti artist Nikau Andrews is in Auckland Hospital after being held down by police on an Auckland street where he was caught tagging his name on a wall. Photo / Supplied
Graffiti artist Nikau Andrews is in Auckland Hospital after being held down by police on an Auckland street where he was caught tagging his name on a wall. Photo / Supplied

Police insisted they followed correct procedure and said the video of Andrews' arrest did not capture the full incident.

But up to 100 protesters gathered today outside a police station on College Hill in Freemans Bay to protest the arrest.

"Nikau was tackled, handcuffed and pinned down by three cops and another one kneed him in the head," protest organiser and criminology student Emilie Rakete said.

"The reality is the cops have not charged Nikau with any violent crimes at all so they've given us no reason to believe he posed any threat to them at any point in the encounter."

Rakete alleged the incident drew parallels with George Floyd's death at the hands of arresting police in Minneapolis, which triggered a wave of protests across the globe.

"The kinds of wrestling holds used on Nikau Andrews kill, and we saw that in Minneapolis with the murder of George Floyd."

Police earlier rejected any wrongdoing.

"Based on the information I have to hand, I am confident police acted in an appropriate and professional manner in a volatile and dynamic situation," Auckland District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said.

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"Upon becoming aware, [police] prioritised the man's medical treatment over keeping him in custody."

Police today said inquiries were ongoing into the arrest but there were no further updates.

They also said they were aware of the "peaceful protest" staged by protesters.

The video of Andrews' arrest shows four police officers holding him down on the side of the road.

One officer holds his arm across Andrews and there appears to be blood on the officer's arm.

A second video shows a crowd of onlookers being moved back by police and asking police to let the man go.

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"Please get off him, he's f***ing hurt!" a bystander can be heard yelling.

"He's bleeding, he's f***ing bleeding!"

Andrews earlier told the Herald from the emergency department at Auckland City Hospital that he and a group of friends were walking to a friend's birthday party when he stopped to tag his name on a wall with a spray can.

He described himself as a graffiti artist, who makes screen prints and T-shirts.

Police happened to drive past while he was tagging.

Nikau Andrews has injuries on the side of his head which he believes were caused by being pushed around on the ground. Photo / Supplied
Nikau Andrews has injuries on the side of his head which he believes were caused by being pushed around on the ground. Photo / Supplied

"Several cops got out and just dealt to me. They didn't read my rights or anything. I was pushed to the ground and dragged around and kneed in the head," he claimed.

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Andrews had a black eye and scratches near his eyes that he believed came from an officer kneeing him.

"I've been having a look at the footage and it's most likely getting kneed in the head," he said.

Andrews was also scraped and hurt on the side of his head, his back and one arm.

He claimed he had also been told that he has ruptured his sternum and has "an air bubble around my heart".

"It's shocking," he said. "I have never actually been in this state in my life."

He believed he was "profiled" because he was a young male Māori, even though he acknowledges he was tagging.

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Today's protest organiser Rakete said their research as a criminology student at the University of Auckland showed Māori were eight times more likely to be victims of police violence than Pākehā.

Rakete said that Police Commissioner Andrew Coster had stood at a vigil for George Floyd in Wellington just a few days before Andrews' arrest and promised assertive action against any racist discrimination found in the police force.

Bruises on Nikau Andrews' torso which he believes were caused by police pushing him around on the ground. Photo / Supplied
Bruises on Nikau Andrews' torso which he believes were caused by police pushing him around on the ground. Photo / Supplied

"Yet what criminologists like myself find is the disproportionate police violence against Māori has gotten worse."

'Police acted in an appropriate and professional manner'

However Police Auckland District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said Andrews was arrested after he "fled police after being observed tagging a wall on Hopetoun St".

"Police chased the man on foot and quickly caught up to him," she said.

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"In the course of trying to make an arrest, the man violently resisted and it took several officers to restrain him, one of whom sustained minor injuries.

"The arresting officers struggled to apply handcuffs to the resisting man, and additional officers created a protective arc in order to allow them to complete the handcuffing action.

Bruises on Nikau Andrews' arm which he believes were caused by being dragged along the road by police. Photo / Supplied
Bruises on Nikau Andrews' arm which he believes were caused by being dragged along the road by police. Photo / Supplied

"Once handcuffed, the man continued to resist and had to be carried to the police vehicle.

"At the station, police called an ambulance so the man could be medically assessed as he was complaining of chest pains. He was taken to hospital for treatment.

"Ultimately the man was released on summons to appear at Auckland District Court on July 10 on charges of wilful damage and resisting arrest.

"During the incident, and following several warnings, police also arrested a man from the crowd on a charge of obstruction of police. He was later released with a warning.

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"Based on the information I have to hand, I am confident police acted in an appropriate and professional manner in a volatile and dynamic situation, and upon becoming aware, prioritised the man's medical treatment over keeping him in custody.

"It is important to note that this video starts part-way through the interaction between police and the alleged offender.

"We would encourage care to be taken when viewing images or video in isolation as there is often a lack of context to the situation.

"Safety and Police's risk assessment tool known as TENR (Threat-Exposure-Necessity-Response) guides our responses and actions, including tactical options and any use of force."