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Mother apologises after alleged attack in Kawhia

Published: 5:51AM Tuesday January 15, 2013 Source: ONE News / Fairfax

The mother and partner of two men accused of attacking Kawhia's sole police officer last week has apologised for the harm her family has caused.
The apology was made to the hundreds of the Waikato town's residents who gathered at a community meeting to discuss the assault on Constable Perry Grifffen this evening.

"I'm not here to defend, justify, excuse or condone any of the behaviours or actions or events that took place on Friday here in our beautiful town," she said.

"But rather to give a face and a voice to two men, a father and a son, who have been portrayed as gutless, cowardly, lowlife mongrels."

The gathering was called after an emergency meeting of the town's community board earlier this week in response to the alleged "deplorable and cowardly attack".

Earlier today, a relative of a man accused of viciously beating Griffen said the constable used unnecessary force when trying to arrest 19-year-old Jackie Maikuku, who had an outstanding warrant.

The man - who witnessed Friday evening's alleged attack - also claims to have video footage of the incident which contradicts the police version of events.

Inspector Paul Carpenter said both he and the injured officer viewed the images and commentary around them with some concern.

"It is well known that when a matter is before the courts police are limited in what they can say in the public domain.

"What I can say, however, is that having spoken to the officer again today we believe the images, which we must point out are a very selective slice of a prolonged stand-off and attack are consistent with statements from both the officer and witnesses," he said.

Carpenter also stated that the first image showed a large man advancing on the officer with arms widespread with a taser presented, a commonly deployed tactical option with the image appearing to be taken prior to O/C spray being used.

"We have previously stated we understand the officer's police issue Glock pistol was dislodged and returned to the officer when he had retreated to the safety of the local fire crew," he said.

"We believe this image is of the instance when the pistol was handed back to our injured officer while they were retreating from the threat."

Carpenter said it was when people choose to litigate issues before the courts in the public domain as has occurred today. 

"At this point I would like to reiterate our request that anyone with still or video footage contact police so our investigation team can examine it," he said.

Allegations against beaten cop emerge

The witness of the attack also expanded on their own version of events.

The witness said that the 19-year-old accused had been drinking with friends on Kawhia wharf when he was spotted by an off-duty Constable Griffen.

Maikuku was wanted on charges of driving while disqualified, breaching supervision, reckless driving, failing to stop, failure to answer court bail, and breach of community work.

Griffen is understood to have been fishing, and went home to change into his uniform before returning to arrest Maikuku.

He said Griffen informed police communications and the Kawhia Volunteer Fire Brigade, and contacted Maikuku's father to go to the scene to help with the arrest.

The witness said volunteer firefighters were told to keep 50 metres back as Griffe attempted to arrest Maikuku.

But one image also appears to show a fire service officer standing close behind the constable in the moments before the attack, and as Griffen appears to reach for his pistol.

The relative also claimed Griffen, having already told Maikuku he was under arrest, emptied two canisters of pepper spray into his face, unprovoked.

He said the constable's actions left the almost 50 witnesses confused as to why Maikuku had been sprayed for what appeared to be no reason.

The relative said once Maikuku regained his sight he got up and chased Griffe, before allegedly tackling and assaulting him.

It was at that point Maikuku was tasered and Griffen was then attacked from behind.

The officer is reported to have asked nearby fishermen for help to arrest Maikuku, but they did not, indicating that they did not think Maikuku was a threat.

At one stage during the incident Griffen also allegedly drew his pistol and pointed it at Maikuku.

Carpenter yesterday said he understood Griffen was off-duty during the afternoon before the assault, but could not confirm whether he had been fishing.

He also could not say whether the fire service was called as back-up before or after Griffen attempted to arrest Maikuku.

"They arrived while the events were taking place, but that's all I've got at this stage."