Tagger in hospital after police arrest in Auckland

A tagger has required emergency hospital treatment after police held him to the ground and allegedly kicked him in the head during an arrest on Sunday.

Nikau Andrews, 26, was restrained by four police officers just after midnight on Sunday after he was caught tagging on Hopetoun Street, Auckland central.

A video of his arrest has been viewed more than 45,000 times after it was posted to Twitter by his cousin.

A crowd of bystanders is seen begging for the officers to get off Andrews, saying they kneed him in the head, and he was bleeding.

"Stop hurting him, why are you hurting him? He was just tagging on a wall man," one person says.

"You guys are going way overboard man, please, he's like bleeding. He's bleeding everywhere man. What are you doing this for?"

At one point in the video an officer appears to hold Andrews in a headlock while the other three hold him down. Three more officers can be seen standing by, keeping the small crowd away.

Andrews was brought to Auckland City Hospital's emergency department by an ambulance after his arrest.

He says he sustained several injuries including bruises to his back, elbows and eyes, cuts to his lip and damage to his oesophagus.

"I got spear tackled into the wall and they just used excessive force. No one said I was under arrest or anything like that. They just smashed me over," Andrews told RNZ's Morning Report.

He claims the officers punched him and says he didn't resist arrest.

"I have no idea why they responded in that way. That's my question. Why did you have to use excessive force." 

Andrews told Stuff he believed the police's excessive force was because he was Māori.

"I wasn't resisting arrest, they had me on my back in handcuffs and I was asking them why they were kneeling on me," Andrews said.

"They profiled me, I was definitely labelled when they pulled up. They looked at the colour of my skin, laughed at me and caused grievous bodily harm on me. It was quite shocking."

But Auckland District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said the methods of restraint used in the arrest were justified.

"In the course of trying to make an arrest, the man violently resisted and it took several officers to restrain him, one of whom sustained minor injuries," she said.

"The arresting officers struggled to apply handcuffs to the resisting man, and additional officers created a protective arc in order to allow them to complete the handcuffing action."

She said another man from the crowd was also arrested for obstruction but was later released with a warning.

"Based on the information I have to hand, I am confident Police acted in an appropriate and professional manner in a volatile and dynamic situation, and upon becoming aware, prioritised the man’s medical treatment over keeping him in custody.

"It is important to note that this video starts part-way through the interaction between police and the alleged offender.

"We would encourage care to be taken when viewing images or video in isolation as there is often a lack of context to the situation."

Andrews was released on a summons to appear at Auckland District Court in July on charges of wilful damage and resisting arrest.