Po­lice shoot­ing of Paeroa man ‘jus­ti­fied’

Hauraki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - PHILLIPA YALDEN

‘‘I com­mend our staff for the pro­fes­sion­al­ism they have demon­strated through­out.’’

The shoot­ing of a Paeroa man who wielded a ma­chete and sickle at re­spond­ing po­lice of­fi­cers was jus­ti­fied, an in­de­pen­dent re­port has found.

Michael Tay­lor, 57, was shot dead by of­fi­cers re­spond­ing to a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent near Paeroa on 10 June, 2016.

That morn­ing Tay­lor and his part­ner Natalie Avery had ar­gued.

She di­alled 111 to re­port Tay­lor had thrown a cof­fee mug at her neck dur­ing the ex­change, the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Con­duct Author­ity re­port states.

En-route from Paeroa po­lice sta­tion, re­spond­ing of­fi­cers got word that Tay­lor was car­ry­ing a ma­chete.

One armed him­self with a Taser, and the other donned a glock pis­tol. "These two of­fi­cers were in the first po­lice car to ar­rive at the prop­erty at about 8.30am. They saw Mr Tay­lor stand­ing in a pad­dock about 10-15 me­tres away, hold­ing a ma­chete in one hand and a sickle in the other."

Tay­lor be­gan strid­ing towards the pa­trol car. He hurled one weapon at the front pas­sen­ger door.

While shout­ing for Tay­lor to drop his weapons, the of­fi­cer in the front pas­sen­ger seat drew his pis­tol and aimed it through the win­dow.

"Tay­lor con­tin­ued ad­vanc­ing and then swung his right arm back, pre­par­ing to strike the front pas­sen­ger win­dow with the weapon he was still hold­ing.’’

Fear­ing for his life, the of­fi­cer fired four shots at Tay­lor - three of which struck him. Tay­lor died at the scene from gun­shot wounds to his chest and ab­domen. The whole in­ci­dent un­folded in about 15-20 sec­onds.

"The of­fi­cer was jus­ti­fied in fir­ing the shots at Mr Tay­lor from in­side the po­lice car in de­fence of him­self, be­cause he be­lieved on rea­son­able grounds that Mr Tay­lor was about to kill or se­ri­ously in­jure him," author­ity Judge Colin Do­herty said.

"The threat from Mr Tay­lor was im­mi­nent, the of­fi­cer could not es­cape and it was not practi- cal or re­al­is­tic for him to use a lower level of force."

Waikato dis­trict com­man­der, Su­per­in­ten­dent Bruce Bird, said the shoot­ing had been "tough, trau­matic and chal­leng­ing" for all of those in­volved. "I ac­knowl­edge Mr Tay­lor’s fam­ily and ex­tend our deep­est sym­pa­thies to them. The in­ci­dent was also chal­leng­ing for our staff – not only those that were in­volved on the day but also our in­ves­ti­ga­tors and the staff in the wider Paeroa com­mu­nity. I com­mend our staff for the pro­fes­sion­al­ism they have demon­strated through­out."

The author­ity also found the ini­tial po­lice re­sponse was ap­pro­pri­ate, as was the med­i­cal as­sis­tance given to Tay­lor.

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