Family of man killed in violent arrest to get $1M

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has agreed to another big court settlement in a case against the Honolulu Police Department.

The family of Stephen Dinnan, who died more than three years ago during a violent takedown in Waimanalo, will get $1 million under the settlement.

"Somebody gives you a million dollars. This is for the death of your husband, and your children's father. I don't know if that can possibly replace the loss," said Michael Green, an attorney for the Kaneohe man's family.

"It's one of those cases where everyone loses. You don't give a family a check and say this is the value of your father."

Lawyers say the 35-year-old Dinnan died after a police officer and an off-duty firefighter were restraining him. The firefighter, Nolan Hanohano, thought that Dinnan had stolen his truck.

The Medical Examiner said Dinnan choked to death after his chest was pressed to the ground. He also suffered a severe neck injury and his death was ruled a homicide.

Neither Hanohano nor the officer, longtime police veteran Eric Matsumoto, were charged with a crime. Matsumoto was initially placed on leave but has since been reinstated.

Green said they got the wrong man.

"Of course the person who (stole the truck) was never actually discovered and this was all on suspicion and a guy winds up dead," said Green.

State Sen. Will Espero says the Dinnan case underscores the need for the HPD to reexamine its policies on restraining suspects. "In the past few years, I can think of six or seven million dollars worth of lawsuits due to use of force or police brutality, said Espero.

"This is an area where the police commission and next chief of police needs to look into."

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