Experts: Man's violent past no excuse for officers' alleged abuse

Experts: Man's violent past no excuse for officers' alleged abuse

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The homeless man who's at the center of a misconduct case involved four Honolulu officers is no stranger to law enforcement.

But experts say his violent past is no defense in the case, if the allegations are true.

The officers allegedly forced the 37-year-old to lick a public urinal after they were called to the area for a trespassing case. The FBI is investigating.

The man has been involved with the criminal justice system for most of his adult life.

But experts say his history, which includes 18 priors, is not an excuse for police to abuse him.

"He's violent. That's very clear. He's prone to violence," said Tommy Aiu, a Honolulu law enforcement expert.

The alleged abuse happened Jan. 28, when police responded to a trespassing complaint near Keeaumoku and Sheridan Street. Inside a public restroom, four officers allegedly forced the man to put his mouth on a urinal. It's unknown exactly what led to the alleged abuse.

"If that's true and they're licking urinals in public bathrooms that seems to be cruel and unusual," legal expert Jonathan Burge said.

Added Aiu: "Even though this particular individual was not the most upstanding citizen, the police have a procedure to follow and we must always the rules and regulations by the department by the law enforcement authority we are working for and make sure everyone's civil rights are met and are respected."

A fifth officer who responded to the call is the one who notified command about the alleged misconduct.

The four officers involved have been stripped of their guns and badges while federal authorities look into the allegations.

"Obviously, there are two sides to every story and it will depend on how many of them verify the facts," Burge said. "If it's just them against the 'homeless guy' then there is no case. But if a few of them verify this is what happened then I do fully expect the feds will indict them."

Meanwhile, the man at the center of the case is back behind bars.

He was put back in OCCC for violating probation. He is part of the HOPE program and was recently referred to a special court for people in drug treatment.

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