Police 'overkill' irks dog bite man

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 31/01/2014

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A Palmerston North man is vowing to take legal action following a police complaints authority report supporting the actions of police in an armed raid on his home that resulted in him being severely bitten by a police dog.

Russell Moore, 49, calls the police response to an allegation he was brandishing a "firearm" - which he believes was actually his walking stick - "overkill".

It resulted in wounds to his face and shoulder requiring five operations and 37 stitches to his face.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) yesterday released its report into the incident at Moore's home on November 14, 2012.

The report, which refers to Moore as "Mr W", says at 10.35pm the day before Moore was bitten, police were called and told he was threatening his neighbours with a firearm and had "lost the plot".

Moore, a gang associate, was said to be drunk, on prescription medication and acting in response to rival gang members visiting his neighbours' house.

The call was the latest in a series to police involving threatening behaviour and weapons at Moore's house.

Attending officers ended up calling in the armed offenders squad, who were concerned Moore, holed up inside his house, was in possession of a firearm and posed a serious threat to himself and others.

They went in about 1.45am after attempts to coax him out failed.

The report says Moore was seen by officers standing at the end of the hall, and when told to show his hands and walk toward the officers, instead tried to shut himself in the toilet.

Unsure if he was holding a weapon, he was stopped and police pushed him to the floor in the hallway.

While the house was checked for weapons and other occupants, two officers unsuccessfully attempted to pull Moore's hands out from where they were tucked under his body out of concern he may have been hiding a weapon.

A police dog grabbed him by the shoulder, dragging him toward the front door in an effort to get him out of the hall, where he was released by the animal and handcuffed by police.

He was not hiding a weapon.

Moore suffered puncture wounds to his shoulder and arm as a result of the dog bite, and a deep cut to his cheek from an "unknown" source, according to the report.

He was treated by an AOS medic before being taken by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital.

A subsequent search of the property located weapons but no firearms.

Moore was charged with possession of offensive weapons and disorderly behaviour, but the charges did not result in a conviction.

Yesterday, Moore called the response "a vicious attack by overzealous police", said he was seeking legal advice with a view to filing a law suit.

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He admitted to being addicted to diazepam and taking a variety of medication and alcohol on the day of the raid, saying he had passed out several times that day. The last time he had been carried inside by another man to his bed, but had then got himself up and moved to sit in a chair in the hall, he said.

He was in "no state" to be struggling with two police offers while face down on the floor, and given the nature of his wounds, could clearly not defend himself against a dog.

Independent Police Conduct Authority chairman Judge Sir David Carruthers said the actions of police were "justified" and "reasonable", given that Moore had been involved in four callouts in the preceding 12 hours.

- Manawatu Standard

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