Police, city sued over violent arrest caught on camera - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Police, city sued over violent arrest caught on camera

A man who appeared to be harassing a monk seal was later involved in an altercation with police that was caught on camera. A man who appeared to be harassing a monk seal was later involved in an altercation with police that was caught on camera.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A man whose violent arrest was caught on camera has sued police, the city and the arresting officer.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, said Jamie Kalani Rice posed no threat to the officer.

The incident happened Sept. 10, 2014, after volunteers at a Nanakuli Beach called police, saying Rice was harassing an endangered monk seal.

Volunteers shot a video of Rice on the beach interacting with the seal, and kept the camera rolling when officer Ming Wang arrived. Wang can be seen approaching Rice, escorting him to another part of the beach, then pepper spraying him and hitting him multiple times with a baton. During the beating, Rice appears to be standing virtually still before falling to the ground.

The officer, a 10-year veteran of the force, has said Rice refused his orders.

Authorities declined to bring charges against Wang shortly after the incident, but reopened the case earlier this month, after the video of the arrest was made public.

A spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department said Wang was placed on desk duty shortly after the incident, and then returned to full-duty status.

She said he is currently on full duty in District 1.

She also said HPD hasn't received official notice of the lawsuit and so could not comment on it.

The lawsuit says Rice never posed a threat or struck Wang, and that Wang subsequently “took steps to write reports that altered the events as they actually took place to justify Wang’s use of force.”

Attorney Michael Green is representing Rice and his family, and has said Rice broke three fingers in the arrest. Rice’s family also said he suffers from bipolar disorder and has been homeless. He is now living in a halfway house in Pearl City, family members said.

In the suit, Rice is seeking an unnamed amount of general, special and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees.

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