Violence against officers a troubling trend

Local News

Charges are pending for a suspect accused of attacking a police officer last night near Manoa. 

In last night’s case, a witness jumped in to help police — but increasing violence against police officers has officials concerned about life in Hawaii changing — and not for the better.

Forty-seven year-old Maurice Arrisgado is in custody facing charges after allegedy attacking a police officer tuesday night in the University area.

HPD says officers were trying to arrest him for a 500-thousand dollar warrant when the assault began.

KHON2 interviewed an eye-witness, who jumped into the fray to help. 

Travis Kaka says, “he had two knives. The one was the one that actually hit the cop with. And when we had him down I was trying to grab his arm to bring in the back so the female officer could cuff that arm as well…he was trying to reach for his pocket and the female officer noticed it.”

Encounters like these are happening more, lately. 

Malcom Lutu, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, joined the force in 1989, and says Hawaii didn’t used to have so much anti-police sentiment.

What’s happening?

“You know, our job is changing. A bunch of us get around and start asking the same questions, as officers — just, kind of saying that maybe there’s a bad bunch of drugs out there, we don’t know, it’s just, the attitude toward our officers is different. The climate is changing. This job is changing.”

Just last week there were two incidents: 

After being ordered to surrender, a suspect in Waikele raised a gun toward officers before being shot.

After ignoring officers’ commands, a suspect in Mililani rammed a police car, sped toward officers and tried to escape before being fatally shot.

Lutu says, “we never had this many officer-involved shootings, my whole career, I’ve never seen this, which started in 2018 and it’s continuing into 2019, I’ve never seen such a — we had a couple here and there but not as often as we do now.”

“I think our chiefs, Chief Ballard and the other three county chiefs are doing a heck of a job of running their departments. And I know Chief Ballard is changing the training too, teaching more of this like, verbal judo or de-escalating, yeah, but it’s just, the reaction of these certain individuals, we can’t answer that.” 

Lutu says it is clear, some people won’t hesitate to be aggressive toward police. “If they only listened to the officers at these incidents, everything would be fine.”

Officers are trained to bring calm to a high-tension situation, using words. 

“We try, the officers are trained to do that, to de-escalate, but you know, there’s only, you cannot de-escalate when the guy’s coming at you with a knife, yeah? or a shotgun or another handgun.”

Lutu says officers have to make a split-second decision, whether or not to use deadly force — and he says if they don’t use deadly force they could very well be injured or killed.

Lutu says, “it’s not like we’re going out there looking for getting into a situation like this, it’s the worst, it’s the last thing we want to do. And you know, our officers are doing their jobs out there and we just thank the public for their support.”

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