Police were justified in shooting a Hawkes Bay man left
paralysed as a result, an independent report has found.
The police officer who shot David Taite in 2011 in Central
Hawkes Bay was lawfully justified given the dangerous
circumstances he faced, an Independent Police Conduct
Authority has found.
According to the report released today Taite was well known
to police, had a "significant and serious criminal history"
which included a conviction for the attempted murder of a
police officer and multiple family violence offences.
In the six weeks prior to the incident in the early hours of
Thursday October 20, 2011, Taite had made a number of threats
that had been reported to police. These included threatening
to burn down the Dannevirke property owned by his landlord
and threatening to kill his former partner and to shoot other
people. He also spoke of killing himself and causing damage
to other people's property. Police had also been advised that
Taite had access to weapons.
Police had been searching for Taite since September 10 and
since that time the Dannevirke and Central Hawkes Bay police
had been authorised to carry firearms in response to his
previous threats and confrontations with police.
On October 19, an Otane resident phoned police to report a
sighting of Taite. Two police officers who were travelling
from Hastings were advised of the call and as they turned off
State Highway 2 into Higginson Street in Otane they passed a
Nissan station wagon. Suspecting that Taite was in the car
the officers followed the vehicle onto SH2 before signalling
the Nissan to stop about 100 metres south of Higginson
One of the officers spoke to the driver and the passenger of
the car and asked for their details. Taite, who was the
passenger, gave a false name and became agitated.
Both officers then returned to the patrol car. They decided
that one of the officers would stand behind the patrol car
with a rifle and watch the passenger while the other radioed
to check the car occupants' details and confirm Taite's
Taite got out of the Nissan and with his right hand inside
his sweatshirt holding what looked like a cylindrical object,
walked towards the car. Taite called out that he had a gun
and was going to kill the officer. At this point the officer,
who was on the radio, got out of the patrol car and drew his
glock pistol, telling Taite he was armed and that Taite
should get on the ground.
Ignoring this instruction Taite moved towards the officer,
who repeated the instruction to lie down. Taite ignored this
and continued to advance towards the officer who then fired a
single shot at Taite's chest. Taite fell to the ground and
continued to yell abuse at the officers. He then started
crawling towards the open driver's side door of the patrol
car where the keys were in the ignition and the car was
Concerned that Taite might attempt to escape using the police
car, one of the officers ordered him to roll over and show
his hands. Taite then put his hand inside his trousers and
replied that he had a grenade and was going to blow everyone
up. Concerned about this new threat and the safety of those
around him, the officer struck Taite in the face, stunning
him. Both officers then handcuffed him. The officers assessed
Taite's injuries as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Taite suffered a spinal injury from the gunshot and is
permanently paralysed from his waist down.
In releasing today's report Independent Police Conduct
Authority chairman Judge Sir David Carruthers said the
officers involved did all they could to manage a difficult
"Both officers were justified in arming themselves and in
stopping the Nissan car. Likewise the officer who shot and
kicked Mr Taite was lawfully justified in doing so given the
circumstances he was faced with."
- Hawke's Bay Today