Police searching for fugitive James Brown arrested a Christchurch musician and detained another man wearing a dinosaur costume and "bandit mask" on Saturday.
Julian Marchant, of electro band Superfood, was returning to a gig at Dux Live and had just picked up bandmate Roberto Carvalho on Saturday night when their car was pulled over by police.
"I'd just picked up Roberto on Port Hills Rd about 11pm when a police car appeared behind us with its lights going. I pulled over and three or four other police cars arrived to surround our car from all sides," Marchant said.
"The policeman didn't ask to see my driver's licence, he yelled at me to get out of the car. Then he pulled me out of the car by my arm, slammed my head into the ground, put me in a pressure hold, handcuffed me, put me into the back of the police car and arrested me for obstruction."
Marchant said he was wearing "a suit jacket", and had glitter on his face. "I hadn't been drinking and I was doing the speed limit. Criminals don't really wear glitter. He said I was obstructing him but I had been compliant. The police were all armed with M4 assault rifles and Tasers, it was terrifying."
Carvalho was dressed in his stage costume - a silver dinosaur onesie and a long black cape. He had a black bandit mask painted on his face. "I perform as the Lizardman. A cop asked why I was dressed like that and I told him we were on our way to a gig," Carvalho said yesterday.
"I stood on the grass while a police officer stood over me with a gun. He said they were looking for James Brown, a dangerous armed man in the area. It must have become clear they had the wrong guy, neither of us look anything like the James Brown they were looking for."
After being held for about 15 minutes, Marchant said he was told he was being "unarrested".
Superfood still performed but the show started later than intended.
"I was pretty shaken up," Marchant said. He planned to make a complaint to the police complaints authority.
"I appreciate they were in the middle of a manhunt but my treatment was unnecessarily aggressive and it should have been obvious that neither of us is James Brown. Funky name though."
Senior Sergeant Ash Tabb said police appreciated that members of the public might have been inconvenienced during the search for Brown in the Hillsborough area on Saturday.
"However, we were dealing with an offender who is known to be potentially dangerous and may have access to firearms. It was appropriate for police involved in the search to be armed."
Tabb said an area in Hillsborough was cordoned off for about two hours on Saturday after a positive sighting of Brown. He was reported to be in disguise - including wearing a wig - and believed to have taken steps to alter his appearance and clothing.
Officers stopped all vehicles in the area of the cordons, Tabb said. "We try to cause as little inconvenience as possible but some disruption is unavoidable."
- The Press
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