New footage shows the arrest of a man who brutally punched a female police officer in the face on Monday afternoon. Video / supplied
Warning: Video contains violence that some readers may find upsetting.
An Auckland business owner has described the moment he ran to help a female police officer who had been knocked unconscious by a man in the middle of the road.
The incident, which happened on the corner of Great South and Station Rds in Manurewa at lunchtime on Monday, brought traffic to a halt and prompted some fearful shop workers to lock their doors.
“The (officer) was sort of moaning and touching her face,” the witness said.
“Blood was everywhere … (her) face was covered in blood.”
The man, who the Herald has agreed not to name, was standing on the street when he saw another man running up the road in between cars. A female police officer was trailing about 30-50m behind him, he said.
“I stood there, like everybody was, and was watching. As the guy approached the intersection, it just happened that the lights had switched at that time and the cars just stopped, even the ones who had the green (light) and the guy entered into the open space (of the intersection).
“I could see as he was approaching the intersection, his eyes were darting in all directions, deciding where to go. I remember, too, thinking, ‘oh poor soul, what is he thinking running away from the cops.'”
The business owner watched in shock as the man said words to the effect of “bring it on, right here, right now”.
“Within a few seconds, the female cop, the one who got injured had caught up, and she approached him and everything else just happened in a flash.”
Video footage of the incident shows the police officer being punched in the face before other officers run to the intersection and taser the man before arresting him.
The witness was one of the first few people to run to the officer’s side and says the man was saying: ‘I’m 501 from Australia’. After officers tasered the man, he began singing the Australian national anthem, he said.
The witness praised a woman who was the first to reach the officer, calling her the “real hero”. Video footage shows the woman crouching down next to the officer and holding her arm before others quickly gather around to help.
Another local business operator, who has worked in Manurewa for 20 years, also witnessed the incident.
“That’s very sad. He just stopped, in the middle of the (traffic) lights, and he was saying ‘come on, get me’. It’s not nice, it’s very sad.”
Workers in nearby shops spoken to by the Herald said the incident left them feeling sad and fearful. A staff member at a local business said she felt too scared to leave her shop and locked the front doors with customers inside.
Police Association President Chris Cahill said the officer suffered severe bruising and swelling.
He said the video footage of the incident revealed the “atrocious and unacceptable level of violence” police officers faced on a daily basis and described the incident as a “callous unprovoked attack”.
“The violence is raw to witness and unfortunately assaults of this gravity are not rare, with more than two thousand assaults on officers last year alone.
“Being assaulted is not ‘just part of the job’ of keeping communities safe, and the courts need to send a clear message to that effect. If police officers are not protected how are they supposed to protect New Zealanders?”
The business owner who rushed to the aid of the officer said the incident raised “big questions” about police resources. The incident could’ve been much worse and even fatal for the injured officer if the man had kicked her while she was on the ground, he said.
“After seeing that, officers should have more adequate protection, whatever that means,” he said.
“We felt like that could’ve been our sister, or daughter or something like that. Just coming out to work and not going home but going to hospital. It could’ve been worse.”
Police have charged a 27-year-old man with intent to injure.
A police spokesperson said the injured officer was off work and recovering.