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Third use of Taser 'excessive force'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

A police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser © Gareth Fuller/Press Association A police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser A probationary police constable used "excessive force" in tasering for a third time a man already on the ground and pepper-sprayed, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found.

On April 1 last year, two female officers were called to a domestic incident in Christchurch involving a son and his father fighting in a driveway.

One of the officers was a probationary constable, having graduated from Police College less than two years earlier, the IPCA said.

The son, aged 26 and described as "fit and muscular" by the authority, became aggressive and started swearing at the officers, who decided to arrest him for disorderly behaviour.

During the arrest, the probationary constable believed the son would attack, so she fired the Taser at him, but the prongs did not connect, the police watchdog found.

Her colleague subdued him with pepper spray and the probationary constable, who had reloaded her Taser, fired it again, hitting him in the torso and discharging 50,000 volts into him.

She used the Taser for a third time while the man was face down on the ground, telling the Authority she did it because he was reaching behind his back for the Taser probe.

"She thought that he might be trying to remove the probe and that, if he did so, they would have no option other than to physically fight with him," Authority chairman Sir David Carruthers says.

But Sir David said the son was not a threat when the Taser was used for the third time.

"That use of the Taser was for compliance, which is a breach of policy. It was not necessary and amounted to excessive force."

The man who was tasered did not make a complaint and did not want to be interviewed by the police watchdog.

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