Suspected car thief dies after arrest in Waimanalo

Suspected car thief dies after arrest in Waimanalo

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update 12:35 p.m. Wednesday]

The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office has conducted an autopsy on a 35-year-old man who died Tuesday, following an altercation with Honolulu police in Waimanalo.   The medical examiner says Stephen Dinnan had no "assaultive-type injuries" however, at this time there is no official cause of death.

[Original story posted below]

A 35-year-old Kaneohe man died Tuesday, following an altercation with Honolulu police Monday in Waimanalo.  Family members say a violent arrest by Honolulu police officers is to blame.

"We have two beautiful children together. One's two and our other daughter just turned six months old," said Shardeah Serhant. "Now they're going to have to live without their daddy."

Sobbing heavily, Serhant says her boyfriend, 35-year-old Stephen Dinnan, died at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday.  According Serhant, Dinnan's mother and father made the decision to take him off of life support after he was pronounced brain dead.  Family members say the massive injuries he suffered were the result of his arrest Monday in Waimanalo for suspected auto theft.

"He was found bloodied, face down on the ground, handcuffs behind him. His face was purple," described the Dinnan family attorney, William Harrison.

Honolulu police say Dinnan ran away from the scene, then fought with officers as they attempted to arrest him.  But the mother of Dinnan's two children says he wasn't involved. She says she had just dropped him off to get food and when she returned he was laying motionless on the ground, foaming at the mouth.

"It was excessive force. He did not deserve this.  He has bruises all over this body. He has bruises all over his neck. He has scratches all over his face," described Serhant.

Harrison says officers put Dinnan in a choke hold and did nothing when he fell unconscious in their custody.

"Someone, a civilian who was there because his truck apparently had been stolen—he gave first aid to Stephen, not the police officers involved in the case," explained Harrison.

According to a spokesperson with the Honolulu Police Department, a 26-year veteran has been placed on administrative leave and a professional standards investigation is underway.

Dinnan's girlfriend says that's not enough.

"I want to have the officer who killed him – I want him to be held responsible for his death," said Serhant.  "He's such a good person and he did not deserve this."

According to Dinnan's family attorney, they are pursuing legal action against the Honolulu Police Department. He also says Dinnan had no prior criminal record that he's aware of.

Honolulu police released this statement about Monday's arrest:

"Around 5 p.m. yesterday, police attempted to locate a stolen vehicle at a Waimanalo residence.  Upon seeing the first officer arrive, two males immediately fled the area.  The officer and a private citizen were able to locate one of the males, who fought off and resisted attempts to detain him.  Shortly after being brought under control, the male became unresponsive and resuscitation efforts were initiated.  He was transported to the hospital where he remains in critical condition.

The Professional Standards Office (formerly Internal Affairs) has opened an investigation into the incident.  The officer involved has 26 years of service and is on administrative leave."

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