EXCLUSIVE: Football player arrested for abuse accused of violence before

EXCLUSIVE: Star football player arrested for domestic abuse has been accused of violence before

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - UH football players Kennedy Tulimasealii and Kaaumoana Gifford have been suspended from football-related activities indefinitely following their arrests Tuesday, University of Hawaii head football Coach Nick Rolovich announced Thursday.

"They won't be here for the rest of spring ball until the pending investigation and we get more information," Rolovich said after practice.

"There are procedures and policies in place, criminal justice system and University of Hawaii athletic department, that need to take place. We're going to move on as a football team, and further decisions will come some time in the future."

The suspensions come after their arrests on Tuesday at an apartment in McCully.  Tulimasealii was naked when officers arrived at the unit Tuesday morning in response to an abuse of a family member case. The senior lineman began fighting with officers, sources said, and officers used pepper spray to try to subdue him.

Gifford, is accused of yelling at the officers to let his teammate go.

Hawaii News Now has learned, this is not the first time Tulimasealii has been accused of violent behavior toward his girlfriend and others.

Court documents show roommates of his girlfriend have requested Temporary Restraining Orders.

In February of 2015, they write, the couple arrived at the McCully Street apartment in a rage: "fighting, screaming and yelling abusively."
The girlfriend locked him out at one point, and the document says, he started "pounding on the door, eventually breaking it."
Despite that the girlfriend begged the roommates not to call police.   The roommates reported that Tulimasealii is "mentally unstable" and they feel "their safety is threatened".

Two months later, in April of 2015, during another argument, both Tulimasealii and the girlfriend ended up screaming at not only each other, but one of the roommates, calling her obscene names.  That roommate writes, "As he passed my bedroom door he hits it with his hand so hard that it busted open the door and broke the door frame."  She also wrote in the TRO request that she fears retaliation.

"It's gotta be very terrifying for roommates to sit by and watch and listen and hear and not really know if or when something very serious could happen," says Nancy Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center.

The  TROs were granted but later dropped because the roommates didn't show up for court.

There is no indication that Tulimasealii has ever physically assaulted any of the women but Kreidman says she is pleased that the University of Hawaii responded quickly to the most recent allegations, suspending both Tulimasealii and teammate Gifford within days after the arrests.

She says UH is sending a strong message, "We don't tolerate this, this is not acceptable, you're not a hero for this behavior."


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