Auckland brawl erupts among alleged Nitro Circus stuntmen
Saturday 2 Feb 2013 4:37 p.m.
Police are being accused of brutality after an incident in central Auckland.
One witness alleges two members of the Nitro Circus stunt group bottled a member of the public and hit him in the head with a push scooter.
He says police arriving on the scene pepper sprayed the bleeding victim, handcuffed him and then shoved him face first into the road.
The police actions were captured on video.
The Nitro Circus is in New Zealand on tour.
Early Friday morning, witnesses claim they were involved in a vicious altercation on Fort St in central Auckland.
One witness, who does not want to be identified, recorded what happened.
“I whipped out my camera just as one of the Nitro Circus guys threw a bottle at this guy, at the Kiwi man, and then a guy on a scooter just came up and did a cheap shot and whacked him on the head with the scooter,” he says.
But it was what happened afterwards that shocked onlookers even more. Police arriving on the scene immediately pepper sprayed the bleeding victim.
The man was put on the ground and handcuffed and then, as he was led away, pushed face first into the road.
In the aftermath the witnesses were told to move away by police. Though they were keen to tell police what they had seen, they were ordered away.
“The police didn't once come and take a statement from us,” says the witness. “It was like the Nitro PR team had the cops pretty sewn up and were only getting statements from them.”
Witnesses brought the video to 3 News because of their concerns for the handcuffed man.
3 News contacted Auckland police and they say they were "called to attend a fight/disturbance".
“On arrival they encountered a bloodied man in possession of a broken bottle who was abusing and threatening people,” says Inspector Andrew Coster. “When asked several times to put it down, he refused. Consequently he was restrained by officers and arrested for obstruction. He was later released.”
Kiwi Nitro Circus member Luke Smith had his jaw broken in a violent incident in central Auckland earlier the same night. He's riding at North Harbour Stadium tonight with that injury and a broken heel he suffered on this tour.
Representatives of the Nitro Circus say they are currently unaware of the incident.