A Queenstowner is accusing police of failing in their duty after a man who knocked out his girlfriend went free.
Vincent Pollett, 31, who called police to the incident, alleges two officers were dismissive of his pleas to take witness statements and let the alleged offender depart.
Pollett, a self-employed carpet-layer who now holds little hope of anyone being charged for the attack, has officially complained to Queenstown police station boss senior sergeant John Fookes about the conduct of two of his officers.
Pollett says the fracas started on a bus returning from the Doobie Brothers concert at Gibbston two Saturdays back.
Things got heated after his girlfriend briefly puffed on a cigarette on-board and was attacked by an unknown woman. He tried to break it up and was in turn attacked by two other men.
Pollett, who admits him and his partner had three bottles of wine between them, says the bus driver pulled over at Frankton where the two men dragged him off and started punching and kicking him.
“My girlfriend was still trying to stop the men when the Maori male hit her with a closed fist upon the right-hand side of her head knocking her out.”
At this point, Pollett broke free and called emergency services, with ambulance staff attending to his girlfriend and concluding she’d been concussed.
Meanwhile, Pollett says the two men got back on the bus.
His official complaint to Fookes continues: “I approached the policeman and requested I make a positive identification of the two men. The policemen told me that would not be necessary. When I asked why, I was told to shut up or I would be locked up.
“I then explained that we had witnesses who at this point were trying to tell the officer what had happened.
“I asked if I and all of the witnesses could make statements to confirm the assault as did the witnesses. Again, we were all told that they don’t need statements.
“I then asked if they considered male assaulting a female as a crime – they then stated to me that they had talked to people on the bus and they were not at all concerned.”
Pollett, who suffered a black eye, bruised testicle, swollen cheek and twisted ankle, says the officers waved the bus away and then started to drive off themselves.
“As they drove off I said ‘I’ve lost all faith in you’. He jammed on the brakes, jumped out and said ‘Mate, I’ve told you what’s happening, if you carry on we’ll lock you up’.
Pollett adds: “The police attitude and approach was disgusting. For a guy to hit a woman is unacceptable no matter what the circumstances. I probably would have been better off calling Ronald McDonald.”
Pollett says he remains disappointed despite Fookes meeting him on Monday to discuss his complaint.
“His basic comment to me was ‘When there’s booze involved you’re going to have conflicting stories so a lot of the time we defuse one side and walk away’. I was like ‘Jesus’.”
Fookes says he had a productive meeting with Pollett on Monday – and he understands Pollett and his girlfriend are considering their options.
Pollett’s girlfriend had so far declined to become involved and refused offers on the night to take matters further, Fookes says.
“Since speaking to him on Monday I’ve told him to go back and see her and come back to us. I can’t really go into detail as I’m waiting for him to come back to me.”
Asked about Pollett’s claim that Fookes had said ‘When there’s booze involved and you’re going to have conflicting stories so a lot of the time we defuse one side and walk away’, Fookes said: “No, that’s not exactly the way it went.”