Court releases Taser video of Hawke's Bay man who later died

Warning: This video contains footage which may disturb some viewers.

A judge has cleared the release of police Tasering a morbidly obese Hawke's Bay man who later died.

But its release to media has led to the Police Association urging caution over its publication.

In December, a jury acquitted the four officers charged with assaulting Gregory McPeake, who died after he was arrested. 

The incident happened in March 2015, with the officers accused of assaulting Mr McPeake with Tasers and police dogs, while he was sitting in his car in the Napier suburb of Westshore.

The 53-year-old died in the early hours of March 13.

Earlier in the night he had seriously assaulted his 76-year-old father Raymond with a club-like weapon.

There was no suggestion the police officers' actions contributed to his death, as he was morbidly obese and had a heart condition.

When police found Mr McPeake he refused to get out of his car. The officers smashed out the windows of his vehicle with bolt cutters and then Tasered him.

Later they set two police dogs on him, one from either side of his vehicle.

Judge Phillip Cooper has now allowed media to show footage of the arrest, shot by cameras on two Taser X2s.

In releasing his judgement, Judge Cooper, who presided over the trial, says it is "incontrovertible that the officers acted in good faith".

The video, which does not contain sound, shows Mr McPeake reacting to the shock and officers trying to open the driver's side door from the inside.

It then shows officers trying to pull Mr McPeake out from the car, ripping his T-shirt in the process.

It was at this point Mr McPeake became "very unresponsive".

First aid was administered immediately by police and paramedics. Their efforts continued for 40 minutes, but were unsuccessful.

Association president Chris Cahill asked media to "heed Judge Cooper's warnings about fair and contextual use of the material".

"It is vital to remember that the actions of the officers were fully tested in a court of law, and the decision from that trial is the most informed," Mr Cahill said.

"The jury considered all the evidence - including the footage Judge Cooper has agreed to release - and took little over an hour to acquit the officers."

During the trial, Susan Hughes - a lawyer for one of the officers - told the jury that while they may have found the footage "confronting", it was just a "snippet" of the lengthy arrest attempt.

Mr Cahill agreed, saying the short clip is only "a few moments of a difficult, protracted and ultimately tragic night's events".

The Crown argued it was a clear case of excessive force.

Newshub.