Family: 4 officers at center of FBI probe also held victim underwater
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Family members of a man who says four officers forced him to lick a urinal allege the extent of the abuse is worse than first reported.
Mary and Melody Ingall flew to Oahu from the Big Island on Sunday after learning their brother, Sam, is at the center of a federal police brutality probe. During a visit to OCCC, Ingall told them what he says happened during the run-in with four Honolulu police officers last month.
They said the 37-year-old recalled being forced to sit in urine before officers shoved his head in a toilet and held him under the water.
"We know our brother. We know when he lies. We know when he's being dishonest," Mary Ingall said. "And he was very sincere and very detailed and it never changed, what he said."
Melody Ingall added, "If he did something wrong, arrest him. Take him to jail. Don't abuse the power that is given.That's not right."
The alleged abuse — which the FBI is now investigating — happened in a public restroom near Keeaumoku and Sheridan Streets. Officers responded to the area after a trespassing complaint.
Sam Ingall, who is homeless, says he often uses the bathroom where the abuse happened because an employee will unlock it for him.
"He said the cops must have been following him because they all came where he was," Mary Ingall said.
Sam Ingall is well known to police; he's bounced in and out of jail most of his adult life.
He told his sisters he didn't recognize any of the officers that day and wasn't sure why they surrounded him.
"He says he wasn't resisting arrest," Mary Ingall said. "They hit him with a stick on his left arm. He has a big bruise. Made him lick the urinal. They also made him sit in pee."
Sam Ingall told his sisters that once a female officer left the restroom and the door was closed, the officers picked up and forced his head in a toilet.
"He just said that they put him in the water and that he couldn't breathe and that he was choking when they brought him up," Mary Ingall said.
Melody Ingall says her brother never reported what happened to police and was taken aback when he found out another officer spoke up about the alleged abuse. Now, the family wants the FBI get to the bottom of what happened.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for one of the officers, Megan Kau, called the incident "a misunderstanding."
She said the chief "jumped the gun" by contacting the FBI to investigate what she calls "unsubstantiated allegations."
All four officers under investigation have been stripped of their guns and badges, but so far have not been charged.
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