Lawsuit: MPD recruit who nearly died was target of hazing ritual

Her body temperature was 107 when she arrived at the hospital.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 8:22 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 11, 2023 at 12:39 PM HST
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WAILUKU(HawaiiNewsNow) - A Maui police recruit who nearly died during a training exercise last year has filed suit, alleging she was put through a hazing ritual called “Beat Down Friday.”

Alexa Jacobs’ body temperature was 107 degrees when she arrived at the hospital and her organs began failing. She was 27 years old at the time of the incident.

Jacobs was hospitalized for life-threatening heatstroke, according to the suit, fell into a “coma caused by hazing at the hands of the Defendants who were her training officers.”

“The recruit next to her saw her lips turned bright blue. No one cared. The supervisors didn’t care. We’re talking about a lieutenant, a sergeant, and a detective,” said Jacobs’ attorney, Michael Green.

The lawsuit also says the recruit program used to be eight months long before the MPD cut it down to five months and Jacobs’ recruit class was the first to undergo the shortened program.

It states recruits were forced to do an extra cross-country run that was not part of the standard physical fitness assessment “to crank up the pressure on the recruits.”

It also says Jacobs and some of her classmates were ordered to get into a plank position outside of the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens off Kanaloa Avenue until a classmate caught up with the rest of them.

That’s the last thing Alexa remembered before passing out.

In addition to suing government entities, the lawsuit specifically names Clifton Perreira, Jeremy Pallone-De La Torre, Andrew Cabral and Nolan Wada as defendants.

“I normally don’t do that necessarily unless the conduct is so outrageous,” Green said.

The lawsuit claims Jacobs’ senior officers failed to help her.

It says it took around five minutes before Pallone-De La Torre called dispatch for an ambulance. A dispatcher later said the call didn’t seem r to be an emergency based on how it was reported, the suit said. While waiting for the ambulance, one of the recruits asked Wada if he was going to do anything, to which he responded, “I’m not a medic,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also says that the defendants stayed in a cool, shaded area under a tree and left Jacobs “lying unconscious on the dirt pavement under the scorching sun while they and the other nine recruits took refuge in the shade across the street.”

“These are supervisors that are supposed to lead by example. If you treat an animal like this, you get arrested for animal cruelty,” said Green.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims Jacobs arrived at the hospital as a “Jane Doe” and none of the defendants accompanied her in the ambulance or went to the hospital to check on her.

“They didn’t care enough to give her a name, or even getting the ambulance with her. You know what? They don’t deserve to be supervisors.” Green said.

MPD says they are aware that a lawsuit has been filed, but have not been served with the complaint and have no comment.

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