Posted by Geoff Garnett on Sunday, 27 May 2018
Police have defended the actions of a police officer who was seen to punch a teen in the ribs during an arrest.
The arrest was filmed by onlookers and then posted to social media by the teen’s father Geoff Garnett following the incident in Highland Park on Sunday at around 3.30pm.
Garnett said his 13-year-old son, Geoff Jr, had been aggressively arrested and believed it was for not wearing a helmet while riding his bike.
He says the video prompted him to lay a formal complaint.
Wendy Spiller, Area Commander Counties Manukau East, says the officer is shown carrying out a tactic often used on suspects resisting arrest.
Spiller says police had received a number of calls regarding the behaviour of a group of teenagers, with a member of the public telling police the boys were aggressive and trying to fight other people in the area.
“Police staff quickly attended and tried to speak with the teenagers however the main aggressor, who was 13-years-old, quickly tried to get away from police on a pushbike,” she says.
“[He] was biking into traffic and ran through a red light. The officer managed to borrow another bike and following him for several minutes and caught up to him.”
Spiller says it was at this point that people were filming on their cell phones and it can be seen in the video police trying to handcuff the teenager who was resisting arrest.
The video shows the boy riding past on his bike, followed by a police officer, also on a bike.
The police officer dismounts the bike and can be seen following the teen on foot.
When the camera pans back to the boy, it appears he has been intercepted by a second police officer and pulled to the ground where he is lying on his stomach.
The two police arrest and handcuff the teen.
One police officer appears to struggle to get the teen’s left arm out from under his stomach and is seen in the video to apparently punch the teen in the ribs as onlookers yell in protest.
“The officer is shown carrying out a tactic that can be used to get an offender to release their arm so that we can put handcuffs on them,” Spiller says.
Spiller says it is not uncommon for police to be filmed on cellphone cameras during an incident and have it posted on social media, but says often these videos don’t show the full picture.
“More often than not these videos will only show a portion of what has happened and perhaps not surprisingly, rarely show the full circumstances, such as our staff being assaulted, abused or spat at,” she says.
“On a daily basis our staff are subject to the most vile abuse in the course of their duties.”
Our staff come to work every day to keep the community safe. Very often our officers are filmed on cell-phones and this is posted on social media.
The teen is facing a number of charges including disorderly behaviour, failing to stop, dangerous driving and resisting police.