HPD report shows police force used most on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

HPD report shows force used most on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are using more force when making arrests, but a study by the department also shows the officers are facing more resistance.

In its report, HPD reviewed use of force cases from the past five years, from 2015-2019.

The new analysis, the first of its kind for the department, breaks down use of force cases by race, gender and geography.

It shows:

  • Most cases requiring force happen in District 1, or the downtown and Chinatown area.
  • The majority happen between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and more men are on the receiving end.

The presentation was made before the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday, and commissioners were particularly interested in the breakdown by race.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were in the group identified as having the most force incidents ― 34.5% in 2019. That group also had the most arrests ― 38.1% in the same year.

Commissioners reinforced the need for body camera videos to determine if the use of force was necessary especially with cries of racial injustice around the country.

”I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much the body worn camera policy is for the department and how disturbing it is when police officers don’t follow the body worn camera policy,” said Police Commissioner Doug Chin.

Officers who turn off their cameras when they’re not supposed to face discipline up to suspension.

“That is a violation of our standards of conduct,” said HPD Assistant Chief Rade Vanic, “Definitely it’s something that we take very seriously as a department.”

The department said more officers now have body cameras, something that has taken years to roll out.

Vanic told the commission they have recently increased the emphasis on de-escalation and crisis intervention training.

The report shows a jump in use of force cases in 2017.

Vanic said that was, in part, due to a new reporting system launched in November 2016 that provided more details and additional documentation when force was used.

The no. 1 tool officers deploy is pepper spray, followed by the Conducted Electrical Weapon, often called a Taser. The baton, firearm and neck restraint were used almost evenly during the time period.

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