EXCLUSIVE: Officer assaulted during traffic stop; suspects could - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Officer assaulted during traffic stop; suspects could have ties to Palolo gang

(From left to right) Jace Viela, Jordi Viela, Romelius Hilango, and Anthony Tran. The four are accused of assaulting an officer during a traffic stop Friday. (From left to right) Jace Viela, Jordi Viela, Romelius Hilango, and Anthony Tran. The four are accused of assaulting an officer during a traffic stop Friday.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Four men are accused of assaulting a Honolulu police officer during a traffic stop near Ala Moana early Friday morning.

The men -- Jace Viela, Jordi Viela, Romelius Hilango, and Anthony Tran -- are all in police custody. The four told police they were affiliated with a Palolo gang.

Sources say Jordi Viela was driving when the group was pulled over on Makaloa Street around 3:30 a.m. Friday.

During the stop, one of the men threatened an assisting officer, sources say. That's when Jordi Viela allegedly jumped out of the vehicle the group was in and put the officer in a chokehold.

More officers arrived on scene to help and tried to restrain Jordi Viela. At that point, Jace Viela got out of the vehicle and allegedly punched the officer in the face.

Sources say Hilango then started challenging responding officers to a fight.

The four were apprehended at the scene, and allegedly told officers they are members of a gang based out of Palolo.

The gang is known to Adult Friends for Youth, an organization that seeks to help youths in gangs get their lives back on track.

"We've heard of that particular group," said vice President Mac Schwenke. "I know HPD is aware of a lot of the gang activity in that area because they respond to a lot of incidents in that area, so they're aware of gang activity."

Several residents in Palolo, too afraid to go on camera, said the gang is dangerous and word of Friday's incident quickly spread in the area.

Schwenke said many people are reluctant to admit it, but there is a gang problem in Hawaii.

"There is a misconception in Hawaii as a place where you can come and enjoy paradise," he said. "But at the same time, there are some issues that we deal with on a day-to-day basis that certainly if people knew about it, I think that might create some hesitancy for people to come to Hawaii."

Police did not release the condition of the officer who made the traffic stop. The four suspects are facing a long list of charges, including felony assault of an officer and harassment of an officer.

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