A police officer was found to have used unnecessary force on a female teen before it was discovered she had broken her shoulder following a crash.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority found that an officer in Taupō used “unjustified and unnecessary force during the arrest of a 17-year-old female” following a vehicle crash on November 5, 2020.
The authority said officers attended the accident on the outskirts of Taupō but could not find the driver, Ms Z, or her female passenger.
Ms Z’s mother and grandfather travelled to the scene but were also unable to find the pair.
About two hours later, police found the young women hiding nearby in a dense bush.
Officer A took Ms Z from the bush and proceeded to physically escort her to her family members who were standing nearby.
Ms Z was being abusive and uncooperative towards Officer A when he forcefully took her to the ground and applied handcuffs.
Ms Z’s family members and another officer witnessed Officer A’s actions and reported that it was unnecessary.
Later that evening, Ms Z was found to have a broken shoulder.
The authority could not determine how this injury occurred, however, on the evidence of eyewitnesses the officer’s actions in taking Ms Z to the ground were an unnecessary use of force when he already had her under control.
The authority found that, on balance, Officer A was unjustified in forcing Ms Z to the ground in the way he did.
Police charged the officer with maleassaults female and in September 2023 he was acquitted of the charge in the Rotorua District Court.
The authority completed its investigation into this incident in February 2022 but delayed the release of its public report until after the conclusion of those court proceedings.
Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent, Tim Anderson, said police acknowledge the authority’s findings that the use of force by the officer during the arrest was not reasonable in this case.