HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has released bodycam footage of the fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred around 8:10 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14.
Officers responded to calls of a burglary in progress in the Nuuanu area where they shot 29-year-old Lindani Myeni after an altercation at a home on Coelho Way.
The bodycam footage shows the first officer responding, seeing the distraught resident who called 911 and pointing out the suspect who had been inside her home.
During a news conference on Thursday, HPD Chief Susan Ballard said that an officer used his Taser, but it was ineffective on the suspect. The bodycam footage confirms this.
Police say the footage shows that Myeni attacked the officers and they had no choice but to take action.
“They did very well,” HPD acting deputy chief Allan Nagata said. “They were brave and fought for their lives. I was impressed with what they did. They did not shoot or discharge the firearm right away. This was not a case of overreaction.”
The attorney for Myeni’s family says the video does not show any evidence to justify the fatal shooting.
“What Mr. Myeni sees is a flashlight in his face, no identification of who’s yelling at him and a command to get on the ground,” said attorney Luke Korkowski. “He’s from South Africa, there’s a lot of crime there, it’s not uncommon to be accosted.”
Korkowski says officers should have identified themselves well before approaching Myeni.
“If you want to know who’s yelling at you, the first thing that you would expect is that they would announce who they are, which they did not do,” Korkowski said.
Defense attorney Megan Kau says the footage does show the attack, but questions why officers did not identify themselves.
“How is someone supposed to know to stop if the person doesn’t identify themselves as a police officer? So that is a very big deal,” Kau said.
Kau also pointed out that Myeni should have known that he was surrounded by uniformed officers by the time he was near them.
The family also wants to hear the 911 calls and other related evidence. The attorney for Myeni’s family said the story police are telling does not align with the type of man he was.
All three officers involved were taken to the hospital. Two have been released and the third is still being treated for multiple facial fractures as of Friday, April 16.
Myeni suffered apparent gunshot wounds and was taken to a medical center in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries and died.
Honolulu police have opened an attempted murder investigation.