A police officer’s second use of a Taser on a Christchurch man was unjustified, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found.
The IPCA found the officer Tasered a suspect of a domestic incident when he was “on the ground and clearly still affected by the first use of the Taser”, its decision released on Thursday said.
Police have accepted the authority’s findings and the officers involved had been “spoken to and reminded of appropriate Taser policy and decision-making”.
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The matter related to a domestic incident at a Christchurch home about midnight on April 19, 2016. Two officers were told the man had “flipped out and was uncontrollable”, the IPCA said.
When the officers arrived he began to quickly walk towards them in a threatening manner.
The officers described him as speaking “in a funny tongue” and believed he was suffering from mental illness. They could smell alcohol on him.
The man kicked and punched at the officers before being told he was under arrest. He was pepper sprayed, which had no effect.
When the man continued to threaten and try fight the officers, one warned him he would be Tasered if he did not get on the ground.
He did not comply and was Tasered a first time, falling to the ground.
Taser cam footage showed the officers told him to roll onto his stomach and put his hands behind his back, the IPCA statement said.
The man could be seen muttering and in a “trance-like state”. He did not respond to the officers and was suffering from the effects of being Tasered.
About five seconds after the first Tasering, the officer used the weapon on the man for a second time. The man then rolled over and was handcuffed.
The IPCA found the officer’s first use of the Taser was justified, but that the weapon could not be used on an uncooperative, non-aggressive person to induce compliance.
Authority chairman Judge Sir David Carruthers said the second Taser use “when the man was on the ground and clearly still affected by the first use” was unjustified.
“While the man did not immediately roll over, there was no immediate threat of harm to anybody.
“The second use of the Taser was for compliance and should not have been used. It amounted to a breach of police policy, was disproportionate in the circumstances and an unjustified use of force.”
Acting Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Lane Todd said the officers involved believed the man was “still acting in an assaultive manner, likely to cause harm to the arresting officers”.
He said the man received appropriate medical attention after his arrest.
“Our officers face volatile situations every day, which require quick assessment of the most appropriate tactical options, and this was no different.
“The officers involved have been spoken to and reminded of appropriate Taser policy and decision-making.”