EXCLUSIVE: Kaneohe man's death likely to be ruled homicide - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Kaneohe man's death likely to be ruled homicide

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Kaneohe man who died Tuesday after he was arrested by police suffered a broken bone in his neck and severe injuries to his chest that stopped his breathing.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the Honolulu Medical Examiner's office will likely conclude that Stephen Dinnan's death was a homicide.

"The only conclusion is homicide," said attorney Myles Breiner, who represents Dinnan's girlfriend and two of his children.

"The autopsy report when it's finally prepared will (likely) indicate that Mr. Dinnan died of asphyxiation, applied force when in restraint and the only people responsible were the police officers on site."

Breiner says Dinnan was held down so hard he suffered a broken bone in his neck and that pressure applied to his chest may have caused him to stop breathing.

The arresting officer, a 26-year veteran, was placed on administrative leave shortly before Dinnan died at Castle Medical Center Tuesday night.

Dinnan's death could wind up costing the city millions of dollars if the medical examiner's final autopsy determines that his dead was a homicide. It also exposes the police officer to potential criminal charges.

Earlier today, the medical examiner's office clarifying comments it made on Tuesday that Dinnan did not suffer "assaultive-type injuries."

It now says that Dinnan suffered injuries while being restrained -- but was not beaten by another person nor was he hit by a hard object.

The autopsy will not be completed for another six to eight weeks.

Dinnan, a 35-year-old construction worker and father of four, was arrested Monday night in Waimanalo as part of a car theft investigation.

HPD says Dinnan tried to flee and fought with police when he lost consciousness. Family members say excessive force was used to subdue Dinnan, who they say had nothing to do with the car theft case.

Breiner believes that federal law enforcement should now take over the investigation.

"The Police Department should remove itself from this case. This case should be referred to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office," he said.

"Whatever happened needs to be investigated by an independent body that does not have, as it were, a dog in the fight."

Related Links:

Family of man who died after arrest plans to sue city

Suspected car thief dies after arrest in Waimanalo

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