HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City is poised to pay $1 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
The settlement comes after a Honolulu police officer fatally shot a man who was believed to be driving a stolen truck in 2017.
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There is concern that the City will once again be forced to pay more money with the recent police shootings.
Honolulu officers were called to Malaekahana Beach after reports of a stolen truck, which then turned into an officer-involved shooting. Police say the officer, named in the lawsuit as Scott Valdez, fired in self-defense.
“Upon arrival, an officer located the vehicle and ordered the driver to stop. In an attempt to flee, the vehicle driver struck the officer,” said HPD assistant chief Janet Crotteau.
The driver was 29-year-old Cameron Johnson, who died at the hospital. His mother sued the City and the officer. Attorney Michael Green says witnesses claim there was never any attempt to hit the officer with the truck.
“Shot five times and basically downward into his back and like I said, no weapon found, no key in the vehicle found, and the witnesses say the truck was rolling slowly. As the vehicle rolled backwards, he walked parallel and put five bullets into the driver, my client,” said Green.
He says his client has agreed to settle the lawsuit with City attorneys, which has to be approved by the City Council. He would not confirm the amount of the settlement but sources say the City has agreed to pay a million dollars.
There is concern about more payouts, however. The widow of Lindani Myeni, who was killed in Nuunau while fighting with officers, has a pending lawsuit. Questions were also raised about the shooting death of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap.
Green says these incidents raise the question of whether officers are getting enough training.
“People are concerned that those officers are well trained enough to make sure that a particular situation is not exacerbated and something that might be able to be handled with decorum and reasonableness doesn’t turn into a shootout,” said Green.
The City Council will vote on the settlement on Tuesday, May 18.