Men allegedly beaten could take action against police
Two men allegedly assaulted by police have plans to take the matter further after receiving video footage of the incident.
Erin Mason shot cellphone footage that shows police in an altercation with a group in the street, and what she describes as "police brutality" in central Palmerston North.
The video was posted on Facebook and she said the men in it got in touch with her and asked for it, saying they wanted to take the matter further.
The video, recorded on Main St at 1.45am on Sunday, appears to show one man being hit in the face by a police officer repeatedly, ending up with a bloodied nose, while another was seen knocked out on the ground.
* Allegations of police brutality being investigated: top cop
* Complaints against police include brutality, dog bites, Tasers and sexual misconduct
* Police 'justified' in force used to arrest drunk Hamilton man
"The footage speaks for itself, pretty much," Mason said.
"It shows police brutality."
In a statement, Manawatu area commander Inspector Sarah Stewart said officers patrolling came across "a disorder event" on Main St.
A fight broke out in the group, and officers radioed for backup "due to the size of the group and the difficulties dealing with everyone at the scene".
"As staff attempted to take several offenders into custody, they were quickly out-numbered by a group of onlookers who were being obstructive and abusive," she said.
"Within a few minutes, order was restored by responding staff who worked quickly and efficiently to gain control of an escalating situation."
Five people were arrested at the incident, two were released without charge and three were given pre-charge warnings for disorder and obstruction offences, she said.
"Any use of force is in response to a person's behaviour and other circumstances confronting our officers at the time, including threatening and violent behaviour," Stewart said in the statement.
"Use of any tactical option by police is based on a careful threat assessment made by attending officers based on the information available to them and the particular circumstances at the time."
She said police had not received a formal complaint, but an internal review was under way.
Mason said she drove past the fight breaking out and had just pulled over when she heard the first arrest being made.
"That's when I got out and started filming straight away."
Normally, she would not film something like this, but Mason said something inside her told her to get her phone out.
"I was actually quite shocked, to be honest.
"My main purpose was if anyone needed footage [it was there]."
She thought police were in the community to help and protect and in this instance she felt they had fallen short.
"That guy in the white shirt, [his] face didn't look like he was protected."
The altercation happened near the Shooters bar.
Shooters owner Ricky Quirk said from what he understood the fight started at a takeaways shop.
He said since the start of the year crowds had been well behaved.
"It's been pretty calm."