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Hamilton police cleared after complaint

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/05/2016

Hamilton police officers have been cleared over their arrest of a man last year which ended with him losing part of a finger.

The man was arrested outside a nightclub in the early hours last April for disorderly behaviour but his hand became jammed between the police van door and a seat.

The top of his left index finger needed to be amputated and he suffered a fractured thumb.

He complained to the Police Conduct Authority about the injuries, which also included bruising to his stomach and cheek, his unjustified arrest, use of excessive force and comments made to him weeks later.

But the police watchdog found the injury to his hand was accidental, the arrest was justified, he was not hit by police during his arrest and there was no excessive force, although an unapproved tactic was used to subdue him.

It said a sergeant who admitted telling the man some weeks later while serving a summons that: "We can't fingerprint you in the future" did not act professionally in making the joke about his injuries.

Waikato District commander Bruce Bird accepted the findings.

"These are difficult and challenging incidents to deal with.

"The subsequent debrief have made our staff aware of other courses of action that can be considered in such circumstances," Superintendent Bird said.

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