Police tasered, kicked 13-year-old in head during Napier arrest

Police say they accept the findings.
Police say they accept the findings. Photo credit: NZ Police.

A 13-year-old boy was tasered and kicked in the head with "unjustified force" during his arrest in Napier, an investigation has found. 

In January 2019 police chased a stolen car through Napier for almost half an hour before road spikes stopped the car. The boy, a passenger in the vehicle, jumped out and ran away.

He then turned to face police, holding a hammer in his hand and acting aggressively. 

Police attempted to taser him but when it didn't work they tackled him.

Police say the boy was "yanked" onto the ground by three officers and arrested. Two officers held him down, one pinning his head to the ground by kneeling on it while a third stood beside him. 

Witnesses said they saw one of the officers kicking him in the head while he was restrained on the ground.

There was confusion over which officer kicked him. 

A medical examination of the boy's injuries showed he had "extensive damage" to his face from it being "whacked against concrete".

The boy told the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) he felt an officer "kicking my head into the ground... like stomping on my head, kicking my head, stomping on my back". 

All three officers involved in the arrest vehemently deny kicking or punching the teenager.

"However it is clear to the Authority that an officer did kick him," reads the IPCA report.

"While there are differences in the exact sequence of events and attribution of the kicker the Authority prefers the evidence of [the boy] and [the witness] that [the boy] was kicked."

Police say they accept the findings of the investigation.

"Police come to work every day to keep the community safe, and are often required to make decisions to ensure that safety for the public and for our people," said Inspector Jeanette Park the Hawke's Bay Area Commander.

"Following this incident, our staff were debriefed, and lessons learned have been implemented."