An elderly man punched unconscious by a police officer during the operation to expel protestors from Parliament is filing an assault complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
Videos of the incident last Wednesday clearly show a so far unidentified officer punching the 68-year-old twice in the head with enough force to knock him unconscious instantly. The victim is seen slumping to the ground completely unmoving, while protestors rush to his aid and gesture to the advancing police to stand back.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has already received more than 1700 complaints relating to excessive police force and other issues during the anti-mandate Parliament protest.
The victim’s evidence will be combined with at least 13 other incidents, all with supporting video and photographic evidence, to be filed as a joint IPCA complaint.
Videos of the incident taken from a variety of angles are circulating online, and paint a grim picture of a masked officer wearing black gloves taking the man down with a classic left hook, right hook boxing combination.
The victim is shown in the videos rushing in to fend off another police officer using his shield to hammer at a young woman lying on the ground. She is seen trying to shuffle backwards and holding her hands up to defend herself.
Then a female officer with long blond hair grabs the victim’s left shoulder, while another officer wearing black gloves runs in and delivers at least two brutal “king hit” blows from the side. The man’s knees instantly buckle, and he appears to be totally unconscious before collapsing to the footpath.
The victim, who does not want to be named, along with family members, provided statements to NZ News Alliance.
Medical attention was needed after the incident, and a family spokesperson says he sustained cuts and bruises including a black eye.
The cuts on the victim’s head and face appear to be consistent with blows coming from some kind of hard gloves, rather than bare knuckles or latex gloves.
Still pictures from the video show the police officer involved as a young man with short dark brown hair, wearing goggles pulled up over his forehead, wearing a white medical mask. The police officer’s badge number is not visible, but efforts are underway to analyse the many cell phone videos circulating to identify him.
The victim says he has not yet lodged a criminal assault complaint directly to police, as he fears being charged himself after he “instinctively” rushed in to help the young woman. He was standing off to the side of the main protest, and was not actively participating.
He was standing outside the protest area in what he thought was a safe zone, and only moved in when he saw a “young girl” knocked over.
The Victim said “The police came over and said ‘move’. One officer then grabbed a young girl and threw her to the ground before she could move.”
“She had not done anything to the police, and then another officer stepped in and started hitting her with his shield and I stepped in to push him off her.” The victim’s daughter says “my father is a good man, not in any way a troublemaker, and was not actively protesting”.
It appears he simply moved instinctively to help the young woman, and immediately retreated when the officer stopped hitting the woman with his shield.
There is currently no evidence to confirm whether the young woman who was knocked to the ground was even a protester, or was simply walking past going about her normal daily business.
“Dad said, ‘that’s why I was out there, because I couldn’t watch anything like that happen to any female’.
“He saw it, and instinct just kicked in, and he pushed the cop off her, because who stands by and watches that?”
“That day just totally destroyed all my hope in the police, I know there’s some good ones, but it’s just hard when you watch that.”
She has heard that Police asked for volunteers from other regions to come and help clear out the protestors, which might have attracted officers willing for action.
“They put out the call and asked for volunteers, you’re always going to get the ones who are keen and ready for it…..”
Alleged internal police emails show such offers were made, with officers being enticed to come to Wellington to deploy at the Parliament anti-mandate protest.
One such email, (see below) appears to be sent by Inspector Siaosi Fanamanu, seeking
reinforcements for March 6-13.
“Yes this email is another request for volunteers to deploy this Sunday.
What I am willing to do for you is provide first class airline tickets, 4 star accommodation and Michelin star meals.
“There will be daily guided tours of Parliament and surrounding environs.”