Cleared policeman returns to duties
The Manawatu police officer acquitted of assaulting an aggressive drink-driver is back on the beat.
An internal investigation is over and the officer, who has permanent name suppression, has returned to normal duties.
It took a Palmerston North District Court jury 90 minutes last year to find the police officer not guilty on two charges of common assault stemming from a December 2010 incident. He was accused of striking a drink-driver in the face while in the back of a patrol car and pushing the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, into a cell face-first. The complainant's name is also suppressed.
The defence successfully argued the policeman acted in self-defence and used reasonable force.
Last year Central District area commander Superintendent Russell Gibson said the officer remained on restricted duties after the court case.
"He's been deployed in an office function."
Mr Gibson said the internal investigation looked "at events that occurred in relation to police procedure and whether or not we believe the man acted in good faith".
A police spokeswoman said this week the investigation was over and the policeman was back on "full-time duties".
"We are not prepared to comment any further on this matter for privacy reasons."
The man who alleged he was assaulted told the Manawatu Standard: "I feel very let down by the way I was treated and the way the whole investigation panned out from the moment I tried to lay my complaint."
The trial jury heard the arrested man directed foul language at the police officer and a female officer working with him, and criticised police and the justice system.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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