Honolulu police have filed charges against four officers for allegedly covering up a high-speed chase which they claim resulted in a car crash and a traumatic brain injury for the driver.
Honolulu Prosecuting attorney Steve Alm stated that the charges were the result of an extensive investigation and review.
Alm stated in a statement that “these charges demonstrate the importance of seeking justice even though those suspected to have committed crimes happen to be the people we expect to uphold law.”
Officer Joshua Nahulu was charged with a felonious offense. He was accused of driving a vehicle in a collision that resulted in serious bodily injuries and failing to stop at the scene. If convicted, he could spend up to 10 years prison.
Officers Erik Smith and Jake Bartolome were each charged by the prosecutor with one count of hindering prosecution and another count of conspiracy. The first offense can land you up to five years imprisonment, while the second could land you up to one year.
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Nahulu’s attorney Rick Sing declined to comment. Court records do not include attorneys for other defendants.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.
According to court documents, the events took place in the early hours on Sept. 12, 2021. They were responding to a noise complaint at Waianae beach when they noticed a white Honda leaving the lot and heading towards Farrington Highway.
Jonaven PerkinsSinapati, his passengers and others filed a civil suit against the city and officers last year. It alleges that Nahulu and Smith chased the Honda separately using two marked Honolulu Police Department cars and one vehicle subsidized.
According to the lawsuit, Perkins-Sinapati claims that officers did not command Perkins-Sinapati or other officers to slow down during pursuit. They also claim they didn’t turn on their sirens and blue lights. According to the lawsuit, the chase ended when the Honda “left roadway and crashed, inflicting serious, life-threatening injuries.”
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Nahulu and Smith drove past the scene of the accident without stopping. Lewis was then at Waianae Intermediate School nearby, according to court documents.
Smith, Bartolome, and Lewis were dispatched from the school to the accident site. According to the charges, when they arrived at the crash site, they claimed that they had no prior knowledge.
Unspecified damages are sought in the lawsuit. Circuit Court in Honolulu is currently hearing the case.