The Herald reports:
The family of a man shot dead two decades ago is taking a civil case against the police in the High Court at Wellington.
In 2000, Steven Wallace walked down Waitara’s main street using a golf club to smash shop windows, a taxi and then a patrol car with officers in it.
Wallace was shot dead by senior constable Keith Abbott, who in 2002 was acquitted of murder when the Wallace family took a private prosecution against him.
The 23-year-old’s cause of death, according to the Independent Police Conduct Authority’s subsequent report, was a fatal wound to his liver.
“[Doctors] confirmed that even if first aid had been rendered immediately after Steven was shot, he would not have survived.”
The family believes there were other tactical options available to the police, and has argued Wallace was deprived of the right to life.
The shooting of Wallace has been found to be justified by an internal Police review, by the IPCA and by the High Court.
The internal Police review is worth a read. Wallace:
- smashed 100 window panes with a golf club
- attacked an occupied taxi with a baseball bat
- Tried to run over a cyclist in his car
- attacked an occupied police car with a golf club
- was told to drop his weapons by the Police and specifically told they were armed
- advanced on a retreating police officer
- warned Wallace again they were armed
- ignored calls to talk
- ignored a warning shot in the air from the Police
- kept advancing on the officer who warned he would shoot him if he came any closer
- held the baseball bat above his head and told the officer he was going to harm him with it
- said “You fucking arsehole “I’m going to kill you”
And then the officer shot Wallace dead.
The family of Wallace of course mourn his loss. But they also harassed the family of the constable who shot him, until a court instructed them to stop harassing her.
It is very sad that Wallace died, but he is to blame, not the Police.