Investigations underway after man dies in police custody

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Three investigations are underway into the death of a 20-year-old man while in police custody. The intoxicated man was arrested after behaving aggressively at a party in Manurewa, but questions are still being asked as to why he died.

Police were called to a house in Manurewa, where a 20-year-old man was arrested for breach of the peace and was taken to the Manukau police station to sober up.

Counties Manukau Police Superintendent, John Tims says, “a doctor was called to view him , but because of his violent and aggressive nature the doctor could not see him.”

Police say after the doctors failed attempt at checking the young man at 1 am, they left him in the cell. They returned to check him four hours later where they found him with laboured breathing. They attempted CPR and called an ambulance.

Supeintendent Tims, says : Some time later this young man was found deseased in the cell.

Peter Williams QC has had a lot of experience with deaths in prison cells and he says NZ has too many flaws in its corrections system.

“Those in the prisons who offend commit suicide, and you get those in the police station, so those are the two situation where people offend died.”

Tims says, “we have very highly trained staff down at the custody area they have a 3 week induction package, they are trained in first aid, their whole career is about keeping people safe in the custody.”

Out of respect for the family, the police aren't releasing the name of the man who died, however until the coroner's report, nothing can really be settled.