Press Release – New Zealand Police
While refuting claims of miss-use of force by Hamilton officers against a female overseas tourist the Waikato’s top Police officer says what happened will become clear once a number of investigations have been completed.Waikato commander refutes claims of Hamilton Police assault on overseas visitor
09 February 2012
While refuting claims of miss-use of force by Hamilton officers against a female overseas tourist the Waikato’s top Police officer says what happened will become clear once a number of investigations have been completed.
District Commander, Superintendent Win van der Velde, said it was difficult to go into detail of matters currently before the courts however preliminary inquiries indicate the officers involved acted appropriately in the circumstances.
“I can confirm four members of our Community Policing Team attended a disorder incident at a City supermarket on 01 February where a 56-year-old Asian woman was involved in a dispute.
“Officers tried various means of calming the highly agitated woman which were unsuccessful and the situation unfolded within minutes. Attempts were made to facilitate a translation when an officer gave his personal phone to the woman’s brother in law to ring a relative fluent in English and Chinese however this proved unsuccessful.”
When the woman attempted to re-enter the business premises and the manager said they would not allow her entry she was arrested.
“Resisting arrest the woman is alleged to have tried to bite one of the officers at which time two of our staff took the women to the ground to facilitate applying handcuffs.
“It is at this time we believe the woman suffered a cut to her left cheek when her glasses made contact with the ground and her face. Fortunately at that time an ambulance was passing and an officer flagged down the paramedics who treated the woman’s facial injury at the scene.”
Mr van der Velde said it was when the woman was taken back to the Hamilton Central Police Station that it was noticed she had suffered a dislocated elbow.
“At this time instead of processing her for disorder and assault she was instead taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance to have her injuries attended.”
“In the course of establishing these events we have identified significant discrepancies claims made by the woman and statements taken from officers and supermarket staff at the scene and we expect what happened to become clearer in the fullness of time.”
Mr van der Velde said as well as being a matter before the courts the incident was now a matter under internal investigation and has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.
“The IPCA is the most appropriate organisation to be furthering this matter and any further comment would be inappropriate until their and the other investigations have been completed.
“At this point I would like to say I am proud to represent Waikato Police staff who have excellent relationships with the wider ethnic communities, relationships we value highly and strive to maintain.”