A young Wellington man whose neck was broken when police
raided a party he was at, can still see the intense "angry"
eyes of the officer he says caused the injury.
An internal investigation of police behaviour at the
Khandallah party three years ago has cleared officers of any
wrongdoing, despite 11 complaints of police using excessive
force on the occupants and being overly aggressive.
Jakob Christie, who was left in a neck brace and on
painkillers for three months, wants somebody to be
accountable for his injury.
The 23-year-old, who was 19 at the time, said police were
called when gatecrashers would not leave.
By the time officers arrived, the uninvited guests had left
but police armed with batons forced the others out of the
Mr Christie said he was struck with a baton by one of the
officers as he was trying to leave the flat, resulting in the
C7 vertebra snapping away from his spinal cord.
"I still remember the look on his face - he had his cap on
that was kind of covering his forehead a bit, but he just had
this real intense look of anger in his eyes and his teeth
were gritted and he just looked real, real aggressive," Mr
In a letter to Mr Christie about the internal investigation's
findings, Wellington District Commander Mike Rusbatch said
expert medical opinions found there could be "other
mechanisms" as to how the injury was caused "as opposed to a
Mr Rusbatch acknowledged some force was used to clear the
occupants out of the house.
"The force used was in the nature of pushing people out of
the house and some of these pushes occurred while holding a
baton in one hand accompanied by forceful verbal commands."
Officers concluded the method was the most appropriate to
clear the occupants from the house "given the threat of
assault they considered at the time", Mr Rusbatch said.
He also said bottles had been thrown at officers and their
vehicles. Affidavits from some of the partygoers said no
bottles were thrown.
One of the people at the party, who did not want to be named,
said there was no fighting when police arrived.
"In fact, the people I saw were scared and were co-operating.
I was sober and have a very clear recollection of the
A teacher who lived across the road but was not at the party
backed up the account, and said there were no bottles or
smashed glass around the following morning.
Acting Wellington District Commander, Inspector Peter Cowan,
said police had received written statements from numerous
witnesses, including neighbours, who had to clean up broken
bottles and broken glass on the road next day.
"Quite clearly, bottles were thrown."
Mr Cowan accepted that some people at the party did not see
An Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation into
the incident has yet to be released.
Some complaints made about police behaviour at the party in
* Assault with either batons or hands
* Screaming at people
* Humiliating one person by pulling pants down to his
* Threatening to arrest people
* Manhandling and traumatising females