The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has found that a Police officer was justified in shooting a man twice in Whanganui last year.
The Authority says its investigation into the shooting of Wattie Kahu who survived the incident occurred because the officer believed Mr Kahu posed an immediate threat of grievous bodily harm or death.
Kahu was left with injuries to his leg and head as a result of the incident.
According to the IPCA, Police were searching several residential blocks after reports of suspicious activity on the morning of 24 March 2016. Armed Police saw a man climbing over backyard fences and pointing what appeared to be a black pistol at them.
The man was identified as Kahu and Police had been advised he had access to a firearm and was prepared to use it against Police.
Police say they were chasing Kahu down a driveway when he turned and pointed his pistol. One officer attempted to taser him but missed and another officer arrived and used his Glock pistol to fire two shots.
After apprehending Mr Kahu, police discovered he had been using an imitation firearm.
The Authority determined that the shooting was justified, because the officer who fired the shots believed Mr Kahu posed an immediate threat of grievous bodily harm or death.
“The officer considered that Mr Kahu had the capability and opportunity to shoot the other officer who was carrying the Taser, and that it was necessary to act immediately to prevent that from happening. It was reasonable for the officer to use his firearm in the circumstances”, said Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers.
Police have acknowledged the IPCA’s findings and Central District Commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger says, “While thankfully rare, such incidents are traumatic both for our staff and the communities they occur in.”
She goes on to say, “Our staff must act to keep themselves and our communities safe, and that is exactly what they did in this instance.
I would like to acknowledge the actions of those staff involved in this response.
I also want to thank the community in Whanganui for their ongoing support which is so important to us as we work together to make Whanganui a great place to live.”