Second HPD Officer pleads guilty for game room attack

Published: Jun. 29, 2015 at 5:26 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 29, 2015 at 11:11 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former Honolulu Police Reserve Officer Joe Becera pleaded guilty Monday to two felony charges stemming from a game room attack by fellow officer Vince Morre.

Becera told the Federal Judge that he should have reported the crime he witnessed.

"I didn't do anything," Becera said, "I'm sorry, I should have told my Sergeant right away."

The 77-year old Becera was a volunteer Reserve Police Officer when he accompanied Officers Vince Morre and Nelson Tamayori to a Honolulu game room on September 5, 2014.  They were looking for a fugitive. 

Surveillance video, only obtained by Hawaii News Now, shows what happened when Officer Morre realized the fugitive wasn't there. He begins kicking, hitting, and punching Jordan Topinio and Francisco Franson. The unprovoked attack ended when Morre threw a chair that hit Topinio in the head, sending him to the hospital to get stitches.

"I didn't want to make eye contact with him so I kept me head down," Topinio told Hawaii News Now.

Topinio had to go to the hospital and get staples in his head.

Officer Tamayori and Reserve Officer Becera did not take part on the attack, but other surveillance cameras show them standing at the door, watching. They all leave together.

"They're at least supposed to try to stop their partner from doing illegal things to the people that they're supposed to be protecting," says Topinio.

Becera is charged for trying to conceal the crime and then lying about it to an FBI agent. 

"I wasn't honest," Becera said in court, "I'm truly sorry."

"As a 37-year volunteer for the police department, he understands what right and wrong is." says his attorney, Andrew Park, "He was volunteering for so long because he does care about justice and he thought about it and he really, really understands that he made a mistake and he didn't do the right thing."

His attorney says that Officer Morre once saved Becera's life and that he felt a special loyalty to him because of that.

Officer Morre already pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of the two men and is expected to serve time in federal prison when he is sentenced in August.  He is expected to resign from HPD too.

Officer Tamayori is also expected to plead guilty for trying to cover up the crime when he goes to court on Wednesday. 

The department says he is on desk duty.

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