In body cam video, witnesses to crash involving officers urge police to ‘investigate’ what happened
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Newly released police body camera footage of a near-fatal crash involving three Honolulu police officers shows other officers in a race to help the victims and figure out what had happened. It also shows the level of distrust witnesses had of police at the scene.
In the body cam footage from the Sept. 12 crash in Makaha, a female officer arrives to find EMTs, firefighters and other officers helping the six victims who were thrown from a white Honda sedan.
The car flew through the air and rolled several times at Farrington Highway near Orange Street.
It is clear from the video that she does not know three policemen were suspected of chasing the car, without lights and sirens, and at least one witness said the car was bumped by an unmarked SUV.
“You seem upset with us,” she is heard saying to a neighbor.
He responded, “Investigate what really happened.”
Another person in the video said an eyewitness, Anthony Charles, was being shooed away by other authorities at the perimeter. “He’s claiming that he’s getting pushed away by the cops and they don’t want to take his statement,” the witness can be heard telling the officer.
Charles spoke to Hawaii News Now days after the crash. He said he was riding his motorcycle the opposite direction and that one of the HPD vehicles almost hit him during the chase.
The body camera footage shows the officer finding Charles after several minutes and he begins to tell her what happened.
“I seen them coming up on Farrington from 7-11,” Charles is heard saying on the recording.
“The cop wen nudge him. The two, three cops chasing ‘em, the cop wen nudge him,” he said.
Michael Stern, attorney for some of the injured victims, said that explains why witnesses were not very open to speaking with the officer.
“They’re afraid of the police,” Stern said.
All six people in the car were injured, several critically. One teen was paralyzed, but after months of physical therapy is slowly walking again. Another man had a broken back. One boy lost an eye.
In the body cam footage, the officer is shown taking down the witness information and statements.
Days later, HPD reported the three officers suspected in the chase and for failing to render aid were placed on restricted duty. The city Prosecutor’s Office has also launched a criminal investigation.
All three officers have hired criminal defense attorneys.
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