Warning: Distressing content
An officer is under investigation after a video has emerged showing a man being verbally abused in the back of what appears to be a police car.
The video, which is believed to have been posted by a police officer on his Snapchat account, shows a man slouching forward with his head on the passenger's seat. His hands are behind his back and he appears to be handcuffed.
Someone is sitting next to him in the back seat filming and a man can be heard verbally abusing him, commenting on his weight and suggesting he self-harm.
"Why don't you just f***ing kill yourself you piece of sh*t," he is heard saying at one stage.
While it's not clear if the incident took place in a police car, a siren can be heard, there's a verbal reference to handcuffs and the leg of the person filming appears to be wearing a police uniform.
Police were not aware of the video, or the name of the officer who is believed to have shared it on his account, until contacted by the Herald.
The Herald has chosen not to name the officer, who is to be stood down during the investigation, at this stage.
Counties Manukau District commander superintendent Jill Rogers said police launched an investigation after being informed about the video late on Monday night.
"This matter has only recently been brought to police's attention but we have immediately commenced an investigation into the matter in accordance with our internal disciplinary process."
By this afternoon they were able to confirm an officer appeared to be involved.
"Police has now established the circumstances surrounding a video posted online involving a police officer and a member of the public."
She said the officer involved will be stood down and the matter referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority as a result.
Rogers said the incident occurred in early February 2020 after police were called to a family harm incident in Counties Manukau where a pregnant woman was assaulted.
"A male in his late thirties was arrested, charged and pled guilty to charges of assault with intent to injure and contravening a protection order. He was subsequently sentenced to nine months' imprisonment."
The Herald was sent the video by a concerned member of the public after it was reshared on Snapchat on Monday, more than a year after originally being posted.
A spokeswoman initially said police were unaware of the video or the circumstances surrounding it, but were making immediate inquiries "given the seriousness of the situation".
She said at the time the behaviour was completely unacceptable and if it was confirmed a police officer was involved, it would be extremely disappointing.
"Our officers do this job because they want to help people and keep them safe," she said.
"This video is not a representation of that and to say the behaviour is not in line with our values would be an understatement."
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
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• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
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