A Chinese woman left with a dislocated elbow and a facial injury after wrestling and trying to bite a number of Hamilton police officers has filed a brutality complaint.
But Waikato's top policeman rejects claims of excessive force and defends the officers' actions. No one has been stood down.
Through a translator, Naiju Li, 56, who is visiting her niece, told One News last night she was in so much pain she "wished she was dead" after being arrested outside the Countdown Supermarket on the corners of Bryce and Tristram Sts on February 1.
"I couldn't speak any English, I went back to Countdown, I mimic the word 'car, car', trying to wave my arm to communicate to the staff working there, they couldn't really understand me," she said.
Li then spotted a tow truck and approached the driver.
"I thought this might be the same company that towed my car," she said.
"Because I couldn't speak any English I went in and sat next to the passenger seat. I used my body gesture, trying to use that to say, can you take me back to the towing company so I can retrieve my car?"
Police arrived and Li returned to the supermarket after her gesturing had failed to gain a response.
"I heard a sound from behind. As soon as I was trying to turn my head I saw a police officer rushing towards me, firstly they held part of my arm, then bend them backwards, trying to bring my arm backwards.
"I screamed in pain 'cause it hurt."
Li said it took doctors three attempts to reset her dislocated elbow. She also required stitches to her face after police pressed her to the ground in handcuffs.
Waikato District Commander Superintendent Win van der Welde said he thought the police response to managing the woman was appropriate.
"The injury was certainly regrettable but was it excessive? I believe it wasn't.
"In terms of the police position my staff took all the appropriate action to restrain her in the nicest possible way, her response to that as I'm advised is they had to adopt a different tactical approach to restrain her that meant taking her to ground."
He said police were called to the incident to find Li hanging on to a tow truck in a highly agitated state.
She was eventually talked down from the vehicle and got into a police car, where officers gave a cellphone to a relative, who spoke English but not Chinese, to find a translator or a relative fluent in English and Chinese.
"Unfortunately this did not occur," said Mr van der Welde.
Li then tried to go back into the supermarket. Police officers were called to restrain her and Mr van der Welde said she attempted to bite them - forcing them to take otheraction.
"In doing so they took this woman to the ground and on taking her to the ground her glasses came in contact with the ground and contacted her cheek, causing an injury to her cheek."
A passing ambulance was flagged down to help treat Li's facial injury at the scene before she was taken to Hamilton central police station.
It was there that police noticed she had a dislocated elbow.
She was taken by ambulance to Waikato Hospital but has since been discharged.
Mr van der Welde said police had received a letter from the woman's lawyer but there were a number of allegations raised in it that police rejected. He said every effort was made to try to translate for Li during the incident.
Li has been charged with resisting arrest and disorderly behaviour. She is yet to appear before the courts.
Police have launched an internal investigation and the matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.