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Independent Police Conduct Authority finds fatal shooting at Paeroa justified

Posted 21 September 2017 by Gold FM in Emergency Services - Police, Fire, Civil Defence

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer was justified in shooting Michael Taylor at Paeroa on 10 June 2016.

Three officers in two Police cars travelled to the rural property where Mr Taylor lived after his partner called 111 to report that he had thrown a mug of coffee at her neck during an argument.

As the officers were leaving the Paeroa Police Station to attend the incident, they were advised that Mr Taylor was carrying a machete. Consequently, one officer armed himself with a Taser and another officer armed himself with a Glock pistol.

These two officers were in the first Police car to arrive at the property at about 8.30 am. 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.

Mr Taylor immediately began striding towards the Police car, and threw one of the weapons at the front passenger door. The officer in the front passenger seat, who was shouting at Mr Taylor to drop his weapons, drew his pistol and aimed it through the window at Mr Taylor. Mr 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 in the front passenger seat fired four shots at Mr Taylor, three of which struck him. The whole incident took place within a very short period of time, about 15-20 seconds. Mr Taylor died at the scene from gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.

Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, said: “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. The threat from Mr Taylor was imminent, the officer could not escape and it was not practical or realistic for him to use a lower level of force.”

The Authority also found that the initial Police response to this incident was appropriate, and that Police provided Mr Taylor with appropriate and timely medical assistance.

Waikato District Commander, Superintendent Bruce Bird, acknowledged the Independent Police Conduct Authority report.

"This has been tough, traumatic and challenging for all those involved. On behalf of NZ Police, 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."