Police are hunting a 36-year-old South Auckland man following
a violent late-night attack on an officer.
The officer, a 42-year-old sergeant, received serious facial
injuries, including fractured eye sockets, from the 11.30pm
assault on Sandrine Avenue, Otara last night.
Police have described his injuries as being so severe that he
was lucky to still be alive.
In a statement released this morning, Detective Inspector Jim
Gallagher said a manhunt had been launched for Walter George
Tauatevalu of Otara in relation to the assault.
The officer, who is now in a stable condition at Middle
Hospital, was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and
repeatedly kicked in the head while down, Mr Gallagher said.
As well as fractured eye sockets, he has fractured cheek
bones and received significant damage to his throat.
Mr Gallagher said he would likely need several months of
medical attention as a result of the unprovoked attack.
"The officer had followed a car from outside a function at
the velodrome and it stopped in Sandrine Ave which is where
the driver was spoken to. The victim then went to speak with
the passenger and it was then that he was attacked by the
driver who had got out of the vehicle," he said.
"Thankfully, two women who had followed the officer's patrol
car from the function stopped and intervened during the
attack and could well have saved his life," Mr Gallagher
"Our officers are trained to police in a civilised society
yet we are increasingly encountering nothing short of
barbaric behaviour which is a significant concern to us all.
These attacks should not be accepted by the wider community
as 'occupational hazards'."
Mr Gallagher said anyone with information on Tauatevalu
should call 111, or contact Counties/Manukau CIB on 09 295
0200. Information can also be reported anonymously through
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
He should not be approached, Mr Gallagher warned.