Assault on Kawhia Police officer, release two
Assault on Kawhia Police officer, release two
Describing the latest attack on a Waikato Police officer as both vicious and cowardly, the District's acting commander said the Kawhia community holds the key in identifying who was responsible.
Inspector Rob Lindsay said sadly, that last night's attack at Kawhia's wharf was the fifth against members of Waikato Police over the holiday period and such incidents can not and will not be tolerated.
"Exactly what has occurred is still being worked through with the priority for the enquiry team being the welfare and safety of our colleague and his family while we seek to identify his attackers.
"Initial indications are that at about 6pm the sole-charge Kawhia officer saw a 19-year-old man who was wanted on warrants to arrest at the town's wharf."
This person is known to, and was actively being sought by, Waikato Police.
Mr Lindsay said the officer radioed the Police Northern Communications Centre that he had seen the wanted man, that he was going to arrest him and that he requested back up.
"Cambridge staff at that time were at Ngahinapouri and were dispatched to go to the officer's assistance, unfortunately even with the best driver's skills it is still some distance to travel.
"Our staff member has spoken to the 19-year-old and gone to arrest him however a standoff has developed.
Mr Lindsay said a family member was called to the scene but instead of helping de-escalate the situation his arrival has made matters worse.
The officer has then deployed further tactical options
The offender has been sprayed with O/C spray (pepper spray) which has had limited effect.
The staff member has presented his taser, which was grabbed by the family member, he has been able to break free and deploy the taser on the main offender who had rushed at him.
As he has attempted to handcuff the person the officer has been struck from behind and knocked to the ground.
"From there the officer has been kicked on the ground by a group of what we estimate to be five people and he has crawled into a ball and activated his Officer Safety Alarm (OSA)."
With reinforcements still some distance away both the officer and Mr Lindsay said the OSA device really came into its own, helping prevent potentially more serious injuries.
"Aware of his isolation North Comms have called out the local Kawhia Volunteer Fire Brigade who arrived at the wharf to see the officer still on the ground being attacked. These firefighters and yet to be identified members of the public have then gone to the officer's aid,
Mr Lindsay said that such was the ferocity of the attack that at one stage the officer's taser was taken and thrown into the water while his sidearm was dislodged and his radio taken.
"Fortunately for all concerned a member of the public recovered the officer's pistol and took it to the firefighters who secured the weapon.
"A short time later Police reinforcements arrived from across the District and the 19-year-old man, his 49-year-old father and a 21-year-old male associate were arrested without further incident."
The trio appeared in the Hamilton District Court today on aggravated assault and assault with intent to injure charges.
The injured officer was examined at the scene by ambulance staff and a local doctor and will undergo further medical examinations and Police interviews today.
"He has suffered serious bruising and grazing to his face, arms and body and is currently recovering with his family.
"The officers has asked me to acknowledge on his behalf the bravery shown by the firefighters and members of the public who's direct action prevented what could have been a far more serious outcome. It is these people who are the true spirit of the Kawhia community."
Mr Lindsay said he had been in contact with the Police National Executive who expressed their concerns in relation to the attack and best wishes for the officer's speedy recovery.
"Here we have a uniformed member of a small community trying to protect that same community. With this being the fifth attack on officers as they try and assist people in need the message needs to be clear that such attacks on our staff will not be tolerated."
Mr Lindsay said it was up to the wider Kawhia community to work with Police to identify the remaining unidentified attackers and anyone with information on their identity or, who may have captured still video images on the attack, to contact Police on 07 858 6200.
Alternatively information can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.