The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer’s use of a Taser on a young person who had stolen a small tractor and led Police in a pursuit, was an unreasonable and excessive use of force.
Shortly after midnight on Monday 16 April 2018, an intoxicated 15-year old stole a tractor in Kaiwaka and drove to Wellsford. Two Police officers began pursuing the tractor, which travelled at a maximum speed of 18 kph.
A third officer planned to set road spikes in Wellsford, but the young driver attempted to avoid them by driving up on the footpath. He stopped the tractor but kept the engine running. The officer fired his Taser at the driver, who rolled off the tractor onto the ground, where Police arrested him.
The Authority found that it was not appropriate for the officer to fire the Taser in the circumstances, as the driver did not pose an immediate threat once the tractor had stopped and there were more appropriate actions the officer could have taken.
“The officer’s breaches in policy could have resulted in unnecessary injury to the driver” said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.