HPD officers who arrested fugitive face suspension over high-profile chase

HPD officers who arrested fugitive face suspension over high-profile chase
Published: Sep. 19, 2016 at 7:19 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 19, 2016 at 10:26 PM HST
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(Image: mug shot)
(Image: mug shot)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Several Honolulu police officers are facing disciplinary action after a police chase of a "most wanted" suspect last month ended in a multiple-vehicle crash on the H-1 Freeway.

The Honolulu Police Department is investigating whether the officers followed proper procedure before and during a chase that began in Waianae, and weaved through Kaneohe, Honolulu and Kalihi before suspect Bryson Bagio got stuck in westbound traffic in the H-1 Freeway in Aiea.

Bagio, who was wanted for two, $100,000 warrants, was allegedly driving a stolen pick-up truck when officers tried to pull him over on Aug. 23.

Police say that he refused to stop, which triggered the pursuit.

Before his arrest, Bagio was accused of leading police on numerous chases, only to get away.

The Aug. 23 chase lasted more than an hour, and ended on the H-1 Freeway. After Bagio reportedly hit multiple cars, he got out of the pick-up and started running. He was arrested after jumping over a wall and hurting his legs.

The Honolulu Police Department says every car chase is reviewed to make sure procedures are followed. And law enforcement experts say it's common for officers to face tough questions about why a suspect was pursued.

"When a high-visibility pursuit occurs then the department has to look at it to see if the situation was handled properly," former police officer and federal agent Tommy Aiu said.

He added that another reason police departments look into chases is because they pose a danger to police and the public.

In the Bagio case, sources say, officers didn't properly announce or declare that they were pursuing Bagio.

HPD policy requires that those involved notify dispatch, and provide information about their location, weather and traffic conditions and the reason for the chase. Sources say with the intense situation and the large number officers involved, there was confusion about whether the proper announcement was made.

The investigation could lead to disciplinary action, including suspension, for officers involved, sources say.

Former Honolulu Mayor and city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle says the officers in the Bagio chase should be commended, not second-guessed.

"They're making split second decisions," he said. "Monday morning quarterbacking, we can look at this and analyze it, but we're not doing it in real time we're not doing it, essentially, with the circumstances."

While the internal investigation continues, the officers involved are still on regular duty.

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