Arrest following testimony in high-profile HPD case called 'reta - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Arrest following testimony in high-profile HPD case called 'retaliation'

HPD officer Vince Morre was caught on tape kicking and punching another man. File Image. HPD officer Vince Morre was caught on tape kicking and punching another man. File Image.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Jordan Topinio had warrants out for violating probation when he testified in federal court Friday against Vince Morre, the former Honolulu police officer who was caught on tape punching, kicking and throwing a chair at his head.

And within five minutes of Topinio being on the stand, he was the one arrested.

"He felt it was possible retaliation," says attorney Myles Breiner, who says he wished the U.S. Marshals would have allowed Topinio to surrender on his own later.

Even the judge was surprised about the arrest, calling Topinio the "victim" in his courtroom. 

Hawaii News Now law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu says the U.S. Marshals were put in a bad position because the details of Topinio's warrants were brought up in open court.

"The marshals have the duty to effect the arrest of anyone that has an outstanding warrant," said Aiu, adding the judge should have been notified prior to the arrest as a courtesy.

And in a strange twist: While the Topinio -- victim in the high-profile, civil rights case -- was being taken away in shackles after testifying, the former police officer -- Morre, a convicted felon -- was being escorted by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent through the building.

Morre was allowed to bypass a security checkpoint and ride to the "law enforcement only" basement to avoid media attention.     

University of Hawaii Law Professor Ken Lawson says that gives a bad impression.

Lawson said Morre's handling made it look like, "because I'm a former police officer I'm still, still subject to special treatment, and I'm entitled to go out a different route than most citizens, than other citizens who are convicted felons go out of."

Morre will surrender after the holidays, on January 5, to begin serving his 30-month sentence.

Topinio remains in jail for the warrant.

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