HPD officer faces termination as newly released bodycam footage shows alleged brutality
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A review board has recommended that the department fire a Honolulu police officer who was caught on his own bodycam apparently beating a helpless burglary suspect.
Officer Corey Morgan has been on restricted duty for more than a year.
The FBI is also looking at possible criminal charges in the case.
Morgan’s body camera videos from the June 2020 incident were released to Hawaii News Now earlier this month, but all the footage from inside the home near Diamond Head Road was blurred by the department. HPD has now released the unblurred video, which clearly shows Morgan using force on the burglary suspect he arrested.
Souriya Xoumanivong had broken bones in his face and needed stitches above his eye after the incident. He can be seen in the video handcuffed as officers walk him out of a room.
One officer said, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.”
Xoumanivong is heard, “Yes, sir. Yes, coming out.”
But as he emerges from the room, Morgan shoves him into a shelf.
“Ah. You don’t have to do that,” Xoumanivong said.
Morgan responded, “Shut up! Don’t f****** say anything to me.”
Later in the video, Morgan is seen sucker punching Xoumanivong as he stood next to Morgan, still handcuffed and not in any way resisting. Xoumanivong falls, with his face brushing against a cardboard box in the home.
Another officer’s body camera shows a fresh smear of blood on that box.
As Xoumanivong is facedown on the floor, still cuffed, Morgan then yells, “Stop resisting!” Xoumanivong is crying out in pain when Morgan then yells, “Shut up! You want to f****** burg a house take it like a man.”
John McCarthy, a 45-year HPD veteran who retired as a deputy chief, called the behavior “uncalled for.”
He said HPD officers are constantly reminded about when force is needed and when it’s excessive. Some officers have told McCarthy they overreacted because the system often doesn’t hold accountable those they arrest.
“There is a frustration when you see the same people over and over again. But then again, using force unjustifiably like this is not the answer.”
Another issue that is highlighted in the video: Xoumonivong can be heard telling another officer and a sergeant that Morgan hit him.
The offficer asked, “What happened to your face?” Xoumanivong replied, “The cop wen hit me.”
Despite that, Morgan wasn’t placed on restricted duty until nine months later.
McCarthy said that should have happened right after the incident.
“You have to treat his accusations seriously,” he said.
Morgan’s police report claimed he didn’t know how the injuries were sustained, blaming it on Xoumanivong hiding in the attic of the home, or losing his balance.
HPD said they notified the FBI but didn’t say when that notification happened.
Xoumanivong is suing the city for assault and negligence.
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