HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into whether undercover officers violated department policy when they conducted a stop in Mililani last week that led to the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man.
The undercover officers shot and killed Kyle Thomas after he tried to ram their unmarked cars and drove at one of them.
But family members say Thomas would have surrendered peacefully and would be alive had the stop been conducted by uniformed officers in marked cars.
“I think everything would have turned out different had they just followed him, called the appropriate police officers that were in marked cars," said his sister, Christy Thomas.
His brother spoke to one of the passengers in the car and said he was frightened into flight by the undercover officers.
“He didn’t know what was going on. He panicked," Jason Thomas said. “That’s what I know about it. What he did, anybody would have done if three plains clothes guys came up to (their) window."
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said last week that Thomas was responsible for the shooting because he drove at the officers, who clearly identified themselves.
But she added that department policy usually requires traffic stops to be conducted by uniformed officers in marked cars.
“Per our policy, that we always ask them (undercover officers) if at all possible, they are to call for a marked vehicle to stop the car," the chief said, during a news conference last week.
The chief said the plainclothes officers were in the area on another case and followed Thomas because he fit the description of a shoplifting suspect.
Preliminary tests showed that Thomas, who had minor criminal history, had meth and marijuana in his system when he died.
The investigation is ongoing and the family is considering a civil lawsuit.