Big Island taser death ruled homicide

Published: Apr. 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island Police last week said Randall Hatori died as a result of cardiac arrest not because he was tased.

But an independent autopsy obtained by Hawaii News Now said the 39-year-old Kona man's death was a homicide.

"It looked to me like he was tasered and tasered and tasered and then beaten," said Michael Green attorney for Hatori's family.

"When I get these results, it's just troubling."

Hatori died on Feb. 4 after a chase and violent arrest in which he was tased then pinned down by officers.

In a news release last week, Big Island Police said Hatori's death was also attributable an enlarged heart, his struggle with police and high levels of methamphetamine in his blood.

The word "homicide" was not mentioned.

"I'd like to say that I'm shocked by the spin but I'm not shocked by the spin .unfortunately it's a question of which way to go spin," Green said.

At the time of his arrest near the Kona Coast Shopping Center, police said Hatori was wanted for assault. His criminal record includes convictions for drug possession, family abuse and harassment.

"He wasn't somebody you would see in church three days a week but he certainly didn't deserve to die."

The "homicide" determination does not mean that police murdered Hatori but it is a medical term that means that their actions helped cause his death. That finding makes it easier for Hatori's family to sue the Big Island Police Department, which it plans to do in a matter of weeks.

Police officials declined comment, citing a pending investigation and the potential litigation.

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