The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a police officer unlawfully used a taser:
A Counties Manukau police sergeant's use of a taser on a mentally unwell man while he was held down was "excessive and unjustified", the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found.
The IPCA said the tasering of the man while he was in a small cubicle at the Counties Manukau Police station was contrary to policy, which said that a taser must only be used on a person who is assaultive.
At the station, he refused to be strip-searched and was in a tear-resistant gown, so police attempted to cut his clothes off him.
During this attempt, a sergeant entered the cubicle and used his taser twice on the man while he was being held down by two officers and had his back turned to the sergeant.
IPCA chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the man's behaviour had not met the threshold needed for use of a taser.
"There were other, less violent, options available to the officers. They could have continued communicating with the man or have asked the officers who were outside the cubicle for assistance," Sir David said.
Police are allowed to use reasonable force to make an arrest or to search someone on arrest. But this force was unreasonable, which makes it assault (with a weapon, no less). Which leads to the obvious question: will the police officer who needlessly assaulted someone with an electrical torture device be prosecuted?
Sadly, I think we all know the answer.