Teens allege police brutality at Howick party
By Lloyd Burr and Angela Beswick
Police are investigating allegations a 15-year-old girl was assaulted by officers at an out-of-control party in Howick at the weekend.
Two images of a bloodied and bruised young woman were posted to the 3 News Facebook pages on Sunday, with partygoer Anna Gardiner identifying the woman as her friend, Ella Mere Ekatone.
The images were allegedly taken after the party which attracted around 500 people in Auckland, and took 40 police officers plus a helicopter to shut down. Police allege they were showered in bottles upon arrival, before they were able to close the party down and move partygoers further up the road.
The images have caused an outrage on the social networking site, with more than 26,000 ‘Likes’, 5300 comments and 413 shares.
3 News has been unable to contact the victim or verify her identity, but Ms Gardiner says her friend was cooperating with police instructions to leave the party when she was pushed to the ground three times by officers. Her front teeth were knocked out in the process.
“What gives police the right to do this to an innocent teenage girl?” says Ms Gardiner. “What gives the cops the right to enforce such violent actions upon someone that wasn't doing anything wrong? Someone that was following instructions?”
Counties Manukau police confirmed to 3 News they had spoken to a young woman, believed to be Ms Ekatone, and are investigating the allegations.
However, a spokesperson for the police says it is too early to confirm whether they are true.
Comments underneath the image on Facebook ranged from anti-police sentiment to claims the girl and her friends made the entire ordeal up.
Ms Gardiner claims her friend spent the night in Middlemore Hospital after the incident.
A complaint has been laid with the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
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