Prosecutors detail evidence ahead of trial against 4 HPD officers in near-fatal crash
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city Prosecutor’s Office has revealed some of the evidence they plan to show the jury in the upcoming trial for four Honolulu police officers.
Officers Joshua Nahulu is charged with collision involving serious bodily injury. Officers Erik Smith, Jake Bartolome and Robert Lewis are charged with hindering prosecution and conspiracy.
In documents recently filed with the court, prosecutors described what the government intends to introduce as evidence in the December trial against the four, including police body camera videos from the 2021 incident that ended with six people hospitalized, some with critical injuries.
The prosecutor’s report revealed that it was Bartolome who is heard on camera saying he’s going to chase the while Honda after the driver honked the horn before leaving Maili Beach Park.
The officers were responding to a noise complaint and broke up the large group of people at the park. Bartolome allegedly turned off his body camera as the chase started. None of the officers activated their cameras, lights or sirens, according to the prosecutor’s filing.
They also didn’t notify a supervisor, the filings say.
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All of those acts violate HPD policy.
Surveillance videos will also be shown to the jury.
Hawaii News Now has obtained surveillance videos from a city bus and businesses along Farrington Highway, which show a white sedan being followed by a Toyota SUV and two marked HPD patrol cars. None of the police vehicles appear to have their blue lights activated.
“The officers had to have been aware of the dangers, especially at that speed,” said retired HPD deputy chief John McCarthy.
McCarthy said the pursuit policy is clear and the officers are routinely provided training.
“They’re supposed to relay to their supervisors and police communications dispatch, so that the supervisors can evaluate whether to continue that pursuit or cut it,” he said.
Attorney Michael Stern, who represented four of the victims in the crash, said the officers failed to follow all of the police guidelines.
“The blue lights, the siren and reporting it to the commander, everything you can think of,” Stern said. “Then they did other things beyond that, clear, criminal acts like failing to render aid.”
After the white Honda crashed, the officers allegedly left the area — only returning to the scene after the 911 calls came in.
The prosecution’s court filing said while at the scene as EMS and HFD worked to treat the patients, each officer acted as “if he had no knowledge of the facts that gave rise to the collision.”
Body camera videos obtained by Hawaii News Now show the officers interacting with witnesses.
Some repeatedly tell the officers that HPD was involved in the crash. But those details appear to have been omitted from the police reports submitted by Lewis, Bartolome and Smith.
The prosecutor’s office said Bartolome and Smith even requested four hours of overtime pay, which could have been used to “collude in preparation of their police reports.”
Stern’s clients settled a civil lawsuit with the city for $4.5 million while two other lawsuits are pending. The four officers involved in the case remain on restricted duty.
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