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GRAPHIC: Attorney for family of man fatally shot by police in Nuuanu releases new video

Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 8:34 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 6:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The attorney for the family of a 29-year-old man killed by police in Nuuanu released new video from the night of the shooting in April.

He says it undermines the police account that there was a burglary in progress.

The video released Tuesday by the attorney for Lindani Myeni’s family, James J. Bickerton, includes footage from the Ring doorbell of the home on Coelho Way in Nuuanu as well as unredacted bodycam footage from the city. But it is also highly edited to include captions, and the bodycam footage is time-synced to the doorbell video.

The doorbell video recording from April 14 begins at 8:07 p.m. and shows Myeni’s car driving behind another car in front of the Coelho Way property. It then shows a couple approaching the building, and Myeni following behind.

Bickerton -- who said the city tried unsuccessful block the release of the video -- believes Myeni was trying to go to the ISKCON Temple, which is near the home. He said Myeni was wearing a traditional ceremonial Zulu headband that he would typically wear at places like a church or temple.

A warning to viewers: Portions of the following video may be disturbing to some viewers.

The video shows the woman looking back while the South African native can be seen taking off his shoes before entering the building.

About 40 seconds later, Myeni exits the home and stands in front of the door as the woman is heard making a phone call, which she had since stated was a pretend phone call to 911, Myeni’s lawyer said.

Though the video stops with Myeni standing outside, Bickerton said Myeni had gone back inside and was there for about three minutes.

The woman then actually calls police and can be heard in the background of the 911 call saying, “Please leave.” The woman then tells the dispatcher, “He said he’s Lindon. He said South Africa.”

The dispatcher asks if the man is armed and if he’s confused, but the woman says, “No.”

In the Ring video, which starts up again, Myeni is heard saying, “What’s wrong?”

The woman says, “Who are you?”

Then Myeni apologizes and says, “I know you guys though. Can I see your phone?”

The woman can then be heard telling the police dispatcher Myeni was trying to go outside.

Myeni then exits, puts on his shoes, turns around and says, “sorry.”

The ACLU of Hawaii says the video shows that the shooting could have been avoided had officers tried to de-escalate the tensions, not escalate them.

“It was infuriarating and I think it’s clear why the city of Honolulu was going through such an extent to keep it secret,” said Josh Wisch, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii.

“This just underscores what has been already abundantly clear which is that the killing of Lindani Myeni by Honolulu Police was not justified.”

According to Honolulu police, officers were responding to a 911 burglary call in Nuuanu.

Bodycam video from police shows Myeni attacking officers.

“Get on the ground now! Get on the ground,” an officer can be heard yelling as he nears Myeni.

But Myeni continues to move forward and then starts throwing punches. Three officers were injured and one was hospitalized with facial and head injuries.

Myeni was shot during the struggle.

Tommy Aiu, a former federal agent, said the newly released video from the family’s attorney provides valuable insight into what happened that night.

“The police don’t have the benefit of the Ring camera, they don’t have the benefit of the Ring audio,” he said. “What they get is the information conveyed to them by HPD dispatch, and that is the fear, the tone, the information provided by the caller that’s then transmitted from dispatch to the HPD officer.”

Questions still remain about how officers identified themselves that night. The video appears to show them only saying “police” after shots had been fired. However, Aiu said they are already identifiable in other ways.

“The police, we should also know, that when they arrive on the scene, they are self identified by the fact that they’re in uniform, they have their badge, when they come there, they give the lawful order for the suspect to get down on the ground,” Aiu said.

This story will be updated.

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