WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Isaiah McCoy is staunchly defending his longtime friend, 18-year-old Jordan Smith, who is charged with murder, attempted murder and gun crimes for a Waikiki triple shooting Saturday morning.
McCoy, 30, tells Hawaii News Now in an exclusive interview that police targeted Smith and that the case is racially motivated, "The only thing that matters to them is sending another black man up the river, so to speak."
McCoy compares it to his own arrest in 2010 in Delaware. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to die, but the conviction was overturned for prosecutorial misconduct.
He moved to Hawaii after his release and says he is an activist for black men wrongly accused of crimes. He says, Jordan Smith is one of them.
"Purposely pinpointing black people that's what they're doing." When asked if Smith was with him that night, McCoy refused to answer, "No, no, no, no, no, I'm not going to answer any of those type of questions because this case is obviously up for litigation and I may be called to answer those type of questions. But at the end of the day, I can tell you for a fact, that he wasn't involved with that, it took place."
McCoy was also arrested Sunday, but only for a traffic warrant.
He says he brought Smith to the islands earlier this month to help the teen get a fresh start. He says Smith had been getting in trouble in Delaware and needed a change.
Just days after he got here, Smith was arrested by Honolulu Police for an assault on an Uber driver at Lewers Street and Kalakaua Avenue.
"I taught him a better way, and he knows that better way," McCoy says that his punishment for Smith, he did not bail him out, took away his video games, his phone, and made him cut his hair. "He apologized to me, he apologized to my other family members that brought him out here and promised he'd do better because he's a reflection of us."
McCoy says the fight and arrest put Smith on HPD's radar and when the murder happened Saturday with the suspect described as a black man, McCoy says police fixated on Smith.
"He's just a new face, so it's easy for him to be a scapegoat," says McCoy, "I will not allow what happened to me, to happen to him." When asked if Smith was at the scene of the shooting, McCoy would not answer only saying, "Jordan Smith did not commit a murder in Hawaii."
McCoy says law enforcement was too quick to judge, "At the end of the day, these officers need to do their jobs and I'm putting these prosecutors on notice, you will not do this on my watch. You are not doing this to a person I consider my family. If they want to lose their jobs, like the prosecutor in my case, fine, commit acts of misconduct. Or else do your job and do the proper investigation and if they do that, if they do that, Jordan will be cleared of any charges."
Monday, McCoy's Acura was seized. Hawaii News Now cameras were there as the maroon sedan was towed into the HPD main station parking lot. McCoy says it was an illegal search and seizure and says he will fight to get the car back.
McCoy has become a spokesperson for those exonerated. He says he wants to practice law, so he can defend people before they are jailed. In the meantime, he says private investigators are flying in from the mainland to help with Smith's case and he says he has contacted the east coast attorneys who helped him get off of death row, "I deal in evidence," says McCoy, "I deal in facts and I can assure you this, there will be no DNA, there will be no fingerprints, there will be no video of (Smith) doing it."
Multiple Honolulu Police sources say the evidence against Smith is strong, but would not elaborate.