Taxpayers will fund legal defense for officers accused of chasing car that crashed, failing to render aid
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Commission has decided taxpayers will fund the defense of two Honolulu police officers accused of chasing a car that crashed and then failing to render aid.
Officers Jake Bartolome and Erik Smith remain on restricted duty as the city Prosecutor’s Office investigates the allegations that the two did not stop to help the victims ― teens and adults who were seriously injured.
The victims in the in September 2021 crash are now suing the officers and city.
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The commissioners voted Wednesday, with four approving the request for taxpayer-funded attorneys. The other three voted against it.
It’s an issue they’ve discussed for weeks and Commissioner Richard Parry said he struggled with it.
“There’s just lots of evidence. I would say a preponderance of evidence, that suggests this was not done in performance of their duties,” Parry said.
Parry, Commission Chair Shannon Alivado and member Ann Botticelli were the three against it.
Commissioners Doug Chin, Carrie Okinaga, Kenneth Silva, and Jerry Gibson voted in favor.
Some of the evidence Parry described included body camera videos and bus video of the alleged chase.
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