Coronavirus: Police blasted for 'disgusting' arrests during the lockdown

Video of an arrest in Auckland at the weekend has caused anger online, with some people accusing police of "disgusting" behaviour and being on a "power trip"

The footage shows several officers restraining two people on the balcony of an Auckland home.

A woman who lives next door to the house took the video and subsequently shared it to social media.

"This is truly disappointing to see our nz police force act so carelessly," she wrote on Facebook.

She told Newshub eight officers showed up to the property after someone broke a window during an argument.

"Because of the yelling and stuff they were pepper-sprayed," she said.

"No-one was swinging at them [the police] or trying to assault them.

"It is shocking."

But police give a different account of what unfolded. Auckland East City Area Commander Inspector Aaron Pascoe said when they arrived, they found a group of around 10 people who were "highly intoxicated and immediately became abusive and violent" towards officers.

Several people then began to assault the police, including a woman who punched one of the officers, Insp Pascoe said.

An officer then pushed her backward and, after warning her, pepper-sprayed her, he said.

"Another male at the address became very aggressive to police and due to the fact there were items such as hammers and beer bottles laying around, a number of police officers were needed to get handcuffs on him."

But the neighbour said this was an overreaction.

"That amount of cops for one little situation - considering what's happening now - it wasn't called for," she told Newshub.

"I thought it was disgusting, hence why I pulled out the camera to video it because I thought it was so unfair. I don't think that was necessary at all.

"Everyone's stressed out at this point because no-one wants to be at home - yeah they're having a few drinks but what else can they do? I guess they [the police] could have just talked to them a bit better before escalating the situation."

Facebook commenters also labelled the arrests an overreaction.

"Cop power tripping at its finest," one said.

"This is disgusting bro," another wrote.

Insp Pascoe said warnings were given to two people for obstructing and resisting police.

"Police staff were simply called to this incident to assist [an] ambulance. The treatment that they received was totally unacceptable.

"We would also note that some of those present in both incidents did not all live at the address and they were there in breach of the Alert Level 4 restrictions.

"This was explained to them and they were asked to return to their home addresses."

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