Alleged cop basher arrested
The man wanted for a vicious attack on a police officer in south Auckland has handed himself in.
Walter George Tauatevalu, 36, from Otara, was wanted after the attack last night in which a policeman was kicked and beaten unconscious.
Tauatevalu handed himself in to the Counties Manukau Police at 9pm tonight. He will appear in the Manukau District Court tomorrow ''on charges relating to this incident'', police say.
Colleagues of the police officer were said to be traumatised by the attack on a 42-year-old police officer with 15 years experience. The attack happened in Otara about 11.20pm last night after he pulled over a car with a man and woman inside.
He was taken to Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries to his face and throat, but has since been transferred to Auckland City Hospital for specialist treatment.
At a press conference this afternoon, Detective Inspector Jim Gallagher said the officer had been told there was a disturbance at the Manukau Sports Bowl and was driving in the area when he was waved down and told that a woman was in trouble in a car.
He found and followed the car before stopping it on Sandrine Ave and talking to the driver and then to the female passenger.
However as he was speaking to the passenger he was "struck from behind with a powerful blow from a fist''.
''He was dropped to the ground and punched and kicked profusely for what seems to be a lengthy period of time," Gallagher said.
Gallagher said if it were not for two women who came to the officer's aid, the result could have been much worse.
The two women, who were friends of the female passenger, got in between the attacker and the officer. He however continued to "rain blows to his head while on the ground".
The officer was left in a "very severe state of unconsciousness with laboured breathing" and was bleeding from the head.
He would require "extensive surgery over several months to come".
Gallagher said the women "put themselves in the line of fire of a very violent individual" and had the attack continued unabated the consequences could have been fatal.
He said for colleagues of the officer attacked it was equivalent to having a family member severely harmed.
"It's traumatic for the officers ... there is a reasonable expectation we should be able to stop a vehicle and speak to the occupants without fear of your life."
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