Police cleared in Taranaki seige shooting

Last updated 12:02 07/08/2014
tdn ratahi stand
CAMERON BURNELL
An AOS member during the hostage siege where Antony Ratahi was shot dead by police.

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The police officer who shot and killed hostage-taker Antony Ratahi in Taranaki in 2011 has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority found the officer was justified in shooting Ratahi to protect himself and others.

Ratahi, 46 at the time, took his former partner Marcelle Beer hostage in Opunake's Headlands Hotel in July 2011 and was shot after a 13-hour standoff with armed police.

In the report IPCA chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said police were faced with a dangerous situation and courageously put their own lives at risk to ensure the safety of Beer.

''The officer who shot Mr Ratahi was justified in doing so. He believed that Mr Ratahi posed an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm to his hostage, the officers nearby and the officer himself,'' Carruthers said.

''Although the incident ended in the death of Mr Ratahi, police can be praised for their actions and approach in ensuring the successful removal of his hostage without injury to anyone else involved.''

The report also states 14 of the 32 Armed Offenders Squad members who attended the incident had been drinking alcohol 10 hours prior.

The Special Tactics Group officer who shot Ratahi had not been drinking.

At 10:19am on Saturday 16 July, after being holed up threatening to shoot everyone for nearly 13-hours, police managed to draw Ratahi out of the hotel.

At the same time as Ratahi left the building an AOS dog handler released his dog.

Ratahi saw the dog and began retreating but the dog took hold of Ratahi's leg.

A team of AOS and STG officers followed the dog calling on Ratahi to surrender.

Ratahi did not and instead dragged the dog, which still had his leg, back inside the hotel.

Police entered the hotel and an STG officer saw Ratahi reach into his jacket. Thinking he was reaching for a gun, the officer shot Ratahi in the head.

The officers attempted to provide medical assistance and a short time later paramedics examined Ratahi and confirmed he was dead.

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