The Independent Police Conduct Authority says an officer who tried to flee from police in Auckland in January 2019 was justified in firing on a man who was driving directly over him.
Police were called to North Kot where a man opened fire. He was airlifted to Manoriva by police helicopter.
The man drove at high speed and from a residential area on the wrong side of the road, the IPCA said. Three dog handlers tried to stop his car and stop him.
At an intersection on Great South Road, he said, the man turned his car 180 degrees to avoid speeding on the road. An officer stepped forward to stop him, stepped out and looked at the man, challenging him to surrender. The man approached the officer from less than 2 meters away. The officer stepped forward and fired three shots at the man.
The officer said the officer justified firing in self-defense, despite the man running after him, the authority said.
He said the officer thought he was about to flee and feared he could not get out of the way in time and fired to force the man to walk away.
The IPCA said that under the circumstances, it had no other strategy available to protect itself.
Authority Chair Judge Colin Doherty found that the officer believed that the difference between when he fired and his actual position could be properly explained by the speed of events and the pressure of the situation.
“Because the time frame was too tight, the officer probably fired shots in response to the position of the man’s car because he thought it was a fraction of a second. Traveled behind him.. “
The authority investigated the man’s complaint that he had been assaulted and abused during his arrest, but he was satisfied that this was unproven.
Police have acknowledged the IPCA findings.
White Mate District Commander Superintendent Naila Hassan said the man was not shot and was arrested shortly afterwards.
It was a very unstable and dangerous situation where we had a man who escaped from the police and used firearms and posed a great danger to the people on our streets.
It sheds light on the rapid and often dangerous nature of policing, he said.
Police said they fully support the IPCA’s findings that the officer was justified in his actions.
The culprit was indicted in connection with the incident and in October 2019 was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison.