HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - While the Honolulu Police Department justified the officers’ firing their weapons in a police shooting in Nuuanu, an attorney representing the family of the man killed said HPD is not telling the whole story.
The shooting happened on Wednesday night, leaving all three responding officers injured, one of which is still hospitalized.
The man killed by police had been identified as Lindani Myeni, 29.
Following the release of police body camera footage from the shooting, acting deputy Chief Allan Nagata vigorously defended the officers and said they did everything right.
But the attorney for Myeni’s family, Luke Korkowski, said he’s not blaming the officers for their actions -- but rather he said the problems lie with the department itself.
“Don’t make him out to be a villain and don’t make the officers out to be villains either,” said Korkowski. “Because my suspicion here is that the officers were poorly trained, that the fault here lies at the feet of HPD.”
Korkowski was disappointed in the way HPD is handling the case.
He said the department released body camera footage showing what they determined to be the only relevant portions of the incident.
“HPD is clearly shaping a narrative and not telling the whole truth,” said Korkowski. “And that’s disturbing.”
The family’s attorney said the officers failed to identify themselves from the beginning and lacked training to de-escalate the situation.
“You don’t control the situation by taking direction from someone who is not rational in that moment,” said Korkowski. “And turning a corner, approaching somebody when you’ve got a gun drawn, failing to announce who you are, none of that makes any sense whatsoever.”
Hawaii News Now’s law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu said officers have no legal duty to identify themselves.
“Because sometimes there’s just not enough time,” Aiu said.
Aiu said he thinks the officers were well-trained and showed tremendous restraint.
“They were generally in fear of their life, and they had to use deadly force, a very tragic situation,” Aiu said. “But that’s what happened by the time they got to that point, they’ve run out of options.”
Nagata said he is proud of the officers’ actions.
“The female was very frantic, I would have been shivering if I responded to that,” he said. “And when the suspect approached the officer and attacked them, they were in a fight for their lives.”
Korkowski said the body cam video only shows half the story, he has requested copies of the 911 tapes.
“From his perspective, he’s being attacked by thugs. And again, I’m not calling these guys thugs. I’m saying for Mr. Myeni’s perspective, he may have seen it that way. And he very likely did,” Korkowski said.