Wallace On The Rampage Say Police
Waitara police say Steven Wallace had repeatedly threatened to kill the police officer who fatally shot him.
At a police briefing held in the town today, a spokesman said Mr Wallace, 23, had thrown a golf club at a police officer and was threatening an officer with a baseball bat when he was shot.
The spokesperson said Mr Wallace also approached a police patrol vehicle, smashing the car’s windows before the police returned armed.
The police account differs from that of a witness to the shooting.
The witness said Mr Wallace, who was shot five times by a police officer, was effectively "murdered" by police.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said after the shooting Mr Wallace lay unattended and bleeding for 20 minutes until ambulance crews arrived.
Mr Wallace was fatally shot last the weekend by a policeman after an early morning incident where he went on the rampage, smashing shop-front windows on the town’s main street.
The incident has put police gun procedure under the spotlight, with many commentators questioning whether Wallace’s shooting constituted a “minimum reasonable use” of force.
It has also caused an national outcry amongst Maori who have criticised the police attitude towards them as racist.
In Waitara tensions remained high yesterday as residents gathered to farewell Mr Wallace, a popular member of the community.
Five Maori MPs also attended the tangi.
Echoing the calls of local iwi the MPs have called for a public inquiry into Mr Wallace’s shooting, saying a police inquiry would take long to make results public.
They have also questioned whether internal police inquiries deliver justice to shooting victims.
Police inquiries regarding the shooting of criminals rarely lead to prosecutions of police officers.
Meanwhile the policeman responsible for the incident has gone into hiding with his family.
His lawyers have successfully prevented media from revealing his name with an interim name suppression granted yesterday.
The Herald newspaper’s court case challenging the name suppression has been postponed until tomorrow.