The AM Show's hosts have branded a graffiti artist who was hospitalised after a skirmish with Auckland police "cowardly" and an "idiot" for claiming he was racially profiled.
Twenty-six-year-old Nikau Andrews was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning after he was caught tagging a wall on Auckland City's Hopetoun St.
In the process of being arrested, police claim Andrews violently resisted and caused minor injuries to an officer. But Andrews told Newshub he didn't run, and was himself a victim of violence that saw him hospitalised with injuries to his face and sternum.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) is carrying out an investigation into the incident, but Andrews, who is Māori, told NZME he was "profiled just because of the way I look".
"I just think they wouldn't have used that particular kind of force on anyone else," he said.
Speaking about the incident on Tuesday morning, AM Show hosts Duncan Garner and Mark Richardson said it was unfair for Andrews to claim racial profiling as the reason for his arrest.
"He got roughed up because he was resisting arrest," Richardson said.
"He's cowardly tried to use the current climate to hide behind, when he and his mates are simply diddles. I support and applaud the police for standing up to this and saying 'no, we needed to use force'.
"Our officers have done what they needed to do. This is what worries me at the moment, that our police will be frightened to act decisively when required."
Garner agreed, calling Andrews an "idiot".
"He ran away, the cops got him and arrested him. He claims he was racially profiled because he was Māori," he said.
"He was damaging and vandalising a building - that's what he was arrested for... Vandalising a building is really costly. Property owners hate this sort of thing.
"It's not 'cause you're Maori, mate - it's because you had a spray can."
Andrews was taken to the police station following his arrest, and after complaining of chest pains he was transported to Auckland City Hospital by ambulance.
Police say they acted in an "appropriate and professional manner", prioritising the 26-year-old's health over keeping him in custody - but Andrews says that isn't true.