Elderly Waikiki man sues city, HPD after being met at his door by officers with guns drawn
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Waikiki man is suing the city and four Honolulu police officers who woke him up from his apartment with guns drawn while investigating a report of a minor crime.
The man’s attorney says race could have been a factor.
Anthony Bellamy was sound asleep in his apartment early on the morning of May 8, 2021, when four officers lined up outside his front door. Body camera videos show the first officer holding a rifle while the rest had their hands on their guns in the hallway.
Bellamy answered the door, obviously confused.
“Can I see your hands please, sir?” the first officer can be heard telling Bellamy.
He raised one hand while trying to open the door with his other.
Once the door was opened, the officers go into his apartment with flashlights to look around.
While this is happening, another neighbor ― a woman ― opens her door and the officer in the hall starts to talk to her.
Daphne Barbee, Bellamy’s attorney, questioned the different responses by HPD.
“My client is elderly and she was also elderly and ... they didn’t pull the rifle on her so why did they point the rifle at my client who is African American?” the attorney said.
Bellamy is suing the city and the four HPD officers, citing negligence, invasion of privacy and the suit also claims they conducted an improper search.
Officers were at the apartment complex along the Ala Wai Canal after a 911 call of a gunshot. The caller, a woman, can be heard on the body camera video saying she is military and knows the sound of a gunshot.
“That’s what I attributed it to, whether or not that actually was what it was, I’m sorry that I had to bring you out here,” she said.
The officers do question if it could have been something else.
“You think it could have been like a backfire from a car?” one officer asked.
When the woman insisted again it was a gunshot, the officer asked if she believed it came from inside the building. “Or did it sound more like on the Ala Wai?” they continued.
The officers decide to check Bellamy’s unit, which is on a different floor. As they walk the hallway, one starts to get a rifle ready.
The other officers seem impressed by it. “Locked and loaded brah,” he replied.
Bellamy’s apartment was apparently the only one they checked.
“Why did they pick his apartment?” Barbee said. “If you want to investigate that’s fine, you can call the manager, you can knock on the door without an assault rifle pointed at someone.”
Barbee said Bellamy has had medical issues in the past and given his age.
“I’m just happy he didn’t have a heart attack,” Barbee said.
HPD said declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The Honolulu Police Commission is expected to decide Wednesday if taxpayers should pay the legal defense for the officers.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.