National | Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19

King-hit goes viral; Police complaints top 1400

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Complaints about the behaviour of Police during the operation to evict anti-mandate protestors from Parliament grounds Wednesday, are swamping the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA); so far 1400 have been lodged.

Police evicted thousands of the Convoy 2022 protestors who had camped on Parliament grounds and the surrounding areas for 23 days in an early morning operation that saw hundreds of officers in riot gear brawling with protestors, as they forced them off the estate.

Videos alleging misconduct have gone viral on social media; one showing an officer king-hitting an elderly man several times, seemingly knocking him unconscious, has had thousands of re-shares; although comments are mixed on whether the man started the altercation, with the video clipped to not show him lunging at an officer who had knocked a woman to the ground.

Māori Television provided the videos to police for comment; we asked if officers in the videos had been identified, stood down, or if an internal investigation would be launched but received no response.

Police allege officers were subjected to abuse, including stones being hurled at them, people attempting to hit them with pitchforks, and some officers being doused with bottles of human waste during the operation.

Police operation

IPCA chair Judge Colin Doherty says the organisation received 200 complaints in the 24 hours following the operation. The more than 1400 received so far relate to police operations to eliminate the protests throughout February.

“The complaints received have raised a number of incidents and concerns.”

“Because of the very high volume of complaints, we are still working through them and identifying the themes and concerns,” Doherty said.

Given the large number of complaints, Doherty intends to make an announcement in the coming days about how the IPCA will address them.

"We are currently considering our approach… and expect to make an announcement on this in the next few days.”

Doherty said he was unable to comment on specific videos provided to the IPCA until investigations were complete.