Police shooting was justified

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 12:49 05/06/2014
David Taite
JOHN COWPLAND
DAVID TAITE: Yelled at officers saying: 'I've got a gun, and I'm gonna kill you'.

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A police officer who shot a man, leaving him a paraplegic, was justified in doing so, the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) said.

The officer professionally managed a dangerous situation, IPCA chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said in the report released today.

David Andrew Taite, 49, of Opotiki, was shot in the early hours of October 20 2011 after he threatened to shoot police, the report said.

"I've got a gun, and I'm gonna kill you," he yelled at two Hastings police officers.

Taite, who was known to police, was wanted on burglary charges.

He had a previous conviction for attempting to murder a police officer by threatening him with a shotgun more than 20 years ago in Wairoa.

In the weeks before the shooting, Taite had threatened to burn down his landlord's property in Dannevirke and spoke about killing people.

He threatened to kill his partner and told her to watch the news as "he would be on it", the report said.

Police were aware of the threats and were told to carry firearms when searching for Taite because he could be armed.

The Palmerston North armed offenders squad was also advised of Taite's activities.

Two officers pulled over a car in Otane, in central Hawke's Bay, just after midnight on October 20 following sightings of Taite in the area, the report said.

Taite became agitated at their questions, got out of the car and with his right hand inside his sweatshirt said he had a gun.

The officers could see a cylindrical object pointed at them from under his shirt.

Taite ignored instructions to get on the ground and kept advancing towards police. One officer fired a single shot which hit Taite in the torso, the report said.

Taite fell to the ground and threw the whisky bottle he had concealed under his shirt at police.

He then claimed to have a grenade, the IPCA said.

The officer kicked him in the face so the pair could restrain him. They then gave Taite medical assistance while waiting for an ambulance.

Taite suffered injury to his spine as a result of the gunshot and is permanently paralysed from his waist down.

The IPCA report said the officer was justified in shooting the agitated Taite. The officer was also justified in kicking him as he appeared to be trying to explode a grenade. Police never found a grenade.

A criminal investigation also cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

Taite was subsequently sentenced to eight months' home detention on two charges of threatening to kill, unlawfully taking a vehicle, dangerous driving, and two burglary charges after a district court trial.

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Judge Brooke Gibson told the court that, if it was not for his disability, Taite would have gone to prison.

- The Dominion Post

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