Indigenous | Police

Whānau bitter that police officers who fatally shot Kaoss Price found not criminally liable

The family of Kaoss Price, who was shot dead by police in Taranaki last year, is still grieving his loss. Family members are also bitter that the officers involved are not criminally liable for the action they took against Price who was unarmed.

“How do you get away with running after someone with a gun and shooting at them multiple times? How do you get justice?” Stevie Apiata asks for the Price whānau.

The 22-year-old died after he rammed a police car and seized the cars of passers-by.

“How does a cop get away with being allowed to shoot at somebody like that?” Apiata asks.

“Why were there bullet holes in the front, in the passenger side window, and in the front and the back, like there were like bullet holes aiming straight for his head, and I have photos of that. All of that should have been taken into consideration but it wasn’t. No one’s even spoken about it.

Family wants more information made public

The investigation was carried out by senior staff from outside Taranaki, and took 16 months. But the family wants the police to release more public information, which backs up their decision, so the facts can be scrutinised.

Police Minister Ginny Andersen says the Independent Police Conduct Authority has a good record of doing the job that they are required to do, and to hold police to account when they are required, “and I have confidence in them to be able to do that”.

“Those decisions around when to use force and how to use force are operational decisions for the police, and it’s only appropriate that the Commissioner of Police is responsible for those areas,” she says.

But Apiata says the police came back 16 months later, “they came back with like a page and a half, just a page and a half full of writing stating that the cops were legally justified, and that’s just not good enough.”

Price was the fifth person to be fatally shot by police in Taranaki since 2000.