Police are now able to name the man who died in custody three days after being tasered multiple times by police.
He was Alo Ngata, a 29-year-old man from Tonga and his death came after he was arrested on Sunday for violently assaulting an elderly man in Freemans Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.
The investigation into his death and the circumstances surrounding the assault of the 76-year-old man are continuing after two police officers were forced to discharge their tasers during the incident.
“Our officers face challenging situations every day and must make extremely quick decisions while considering the safety of themselves and members of the public.
“These incidents are always extremely testing for Police.
They are fast-moving, unpredictable and high pressure situations that require quick judgements. No officer comes to work wanting to get into these situations,” said Superintendent Karyn Malthus.
“I have no doubt that if our officers had not intervened with the necessary tactical options they would have incurred serious injury themselves,” she said.
“Any death is a tragedy and we are working with, and supporting Mr Ngata’s family, including his parents and wider family who are grieving their loss,” she continued.
The elderly victim is still recovering in hospital and is reported to be doing well.
Police said on Wednesday, Ngata had smashed a car window of a nearby parked car and was observed kicking the victim in the head several times as he lay unconscious.
The police Eagle helicopter had observations of the incident and two police officers arrived at the scene. The officers were unable to reach the unconscious victim as Ngata was blocking them from attending to him.
The officers instructed him to move out of the way which he refused to do and moved aggressively towards them.
Their repeated commands were ignored and the offender lunged towards them before he was tasered multiple times. During the arrest process the offender violently struggled which required two more back-up officers to assist to apply necessary restraints and a spit hood.
Once Ngata was restrained, police staff attended to the elderly victim until paramedics arrived and he was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition but is recovering from the violent assault.
Ngata was transported to the Auckland Police Custody Unit in an agitated state and continued resisting police efforts to remove restraints.
His condition began to deteriorate while in custody and police were required to perform CPR until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to hospital where he passed away on Wednesday morning.
Based on the information we have at this time, we do not believe the elderly victim and alleged offender were known to each other, Superintendent Malthus said.
Police are engaged with the deceased’s family and are supporting them as we work to establish the circumstances surrounding what happened that day.
There are several investigations underway to establish the circumstances of the assault and Ngata’s death which includes a Police investigation which will be referred to the Coroner and an Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation.
Worksafe NZ has also been notified.