Christchurch police are being accused of "animalistic behaviour" when shutting down a Woolston nightclub during a weekend of drunken disorder.
At least five people were arrested outside Club 604 at the Woolston Tavern on Ferry Rd early yesterday, while police were also forced to close part of State Highway 1 at Islington for the second time in a month after drunken young people spilled on to the road.
Club 604 co-owner Raajew Singh said he was disgusted at the treatment of his patrons by police. Singh said one woman was trying to reach her friend, but got dragged on her knees by a police officer with such force her dress came off, exposing her breasts.
The male police officer made no attempt to cover her up and stood between her legs to restrain her, Mr Singh said.
He said the woman then punched the police officer.
"Would you stand for that? I thought that was absolutely animalistic behaviour from the police. You do not treat people like animals," he said.
Mr Singh tried to go to the woman's aid and was arrested. He was later released with a warning.
"I was trying to save a poor girl's dignity here. She was scantily dressed, but you don't go out in your onesies to a night club. I'm absolutely amazed New Zealand police could be so brutal."
Mr Singh said police shut the club down about 1am yesterday because of a fight on the premises. He said there had been no fight and had footage from 12 cameras to prove it.
After closing Ferry Rd, police formed a line across the road pushing people toward Ferrymead, Mr Singh said.
Southern area commander Inspector Malcolm Johnston said he had not been able to talk to any officers who were at the nightclub, but he had faith in his staff.
He said he would look into both incidents this week.
"We don't like to use force, but when we do use it, we want it to be reasonable. We are very careful."
In these types of situations people often did not have the whole picture and were not privy to what happened leading up to the incident, he said.
"All people see is some person that they have not seen do anything wrong getting on the ground and being handcuffed."
Mr Johnston said he was not sure how many people were arrested.
John Saundercock, 26, said he was one of at least five people arrested. He was put in a police van with four others and taken to the central police station, where he was released three hours later with a warning for disorderly assembly.
In another incident on Saturday, police closed part of the state highway at Islington for the second time in a month as a result of drunken behaviour.
Rod Dunn, who lives nearby, said he was worried someone would get seriously hurt or killed after seeing a boy, probably aged 14 or 15, carrying a box of alcohol and running toward cars on the highway.
"He bent forward, like he was going into a rugby scrum and he just ran at the car like a game of chicken. The driver had to brake pretty hard. If he had not braked when he did, he would have hit him."
Mr Dunn said police closed part of the road, formed a line and marched the young people toward Hornby.
Mr Johnston said he would be disappointed if the party was at the same address where police had to shut down a party early last month.
"We have been in discussions with the people at this address." Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
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